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Hong Kong Film Directors' Guild - Directors - Kang CHENG
程剛 | CHENG Kang

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Cheng Kang was born in 1924 in Anhui Province. He quit school after Primary 3, was separated from his family at the age of 13, and spent part of his childhood in an orphanage. In 1938, he joined the Hsin An Travelling Troupe, which travelled all over the country performing patriotic plays that incited resistance to Japanese occupation. He joined the Chung Yi Theatre Group in Chongqing in 1942. After the war, he studied art and design at the Shanghai Art School. He completed his first play, Rain on the Deserted Courtyard, in 1948, and subsequently devoted himself to playwriting. Upon arrival in Hong Kong in 1949, he made a living as a screen writer, and started writing for Cantonese films. He wrote a number of screenplays for Union Film Company including A Home of a Million Gold (1953), Father and Son (1954), Big Thunderstorm (1954), An Orphan’s Tragedy (1955), The Wall (1955), Bloody Sucker (1962) and Sea (1963), among others. He also wrote more than 30 screenplays for the director Ng Wui. From 1952 onwards he also wrote many screenplays for Mandarin films, including Little Angel on the Streets (1957), directed by Li Han-hsiang, A Mellow Spring (1957) and Back Door (1960), etc. In addition, he also wrote scripts for films in the Amoy-dialect. Some say that over the years, he had written over 300 scripts for Cantonese, Mandarin and Amoy-dialect films. He directed the Cantonese feature Mother and Son in Grief in 1951, and thereafter made several Cantonese and Amoy-dialect films.

Cheng joined Shaw Brothers in 1963 as a scriptwriter, penning such features as The Coin (1964), directed by Li Han-hsiang, Sons of Good Earth (1965), directed by King Hu, and The Monkey Goes West series (1966-1968) , directed by Ho Meng-hua. He became a second-unit director in 1967, and later directed The Sword of Swords (1968) on his own. His 1970 film, The Twelve Gold Medallions, received the Excellent Film Award at the 9th Golden Horse Awards. He became one of the hottest directors at Shaw Brothers, and the studio allowed him to use some of its top female stars on The 14 Amazons (1972), which took two years to film and cost $4 million to make. The film received the Excellent Film Award and the Best Director Award at the 11th Golden Horse Awards, and represented a high point of his career. However, his true masterpiece was Kidnap (1974), based on a true story of a kidnapping case. Not only was the plot full of suspense and tension, but the depiction of characters and the actual crime was extremely realistic. Subsequently, he directed two other social realist films, The Call Girls (1977) and Invincible Enforcer (1979). The former portrays the prostitution of actresses in the 1970s, while the latter reveals the ugly conditions of prisons and the discrimination that former prison inmates face. Both films are powerful in their own way.

Cheng’s 1976 work King Gambler was the first gambler film in Hong Kong history, and was banned in Taiwan. The ban was only lifted in August, 1980, upon which the film performed well at the box office. He followed up with The King Of Gambler (1981), which became the box office number one in Taiwan, and initiated the trend in gambling films in Hong Kong and Taiwan.

He left Shaw Brothers in 1980 for Taiwan, where he directed films for a variety of companies. He also formed his own company, which produced 15 Female Warriors Of The Sha Family. He was known for being meticulous and uncompromising, and often took his time with his productions. This resulted in frequent overspending and delays, and as time went on, fewer and fewer studios and investors were willing to hire him. In the 1980s, he made a few more films in Taiwan before leaving film. He briefly returned to film in the early 1990s before retiring for good.

Year Chinese name English name Directors
1992 《賭鬼》
Gambling Soul
1983 《噱頭大王臭皮匠》
The Wizard of Tricks
1982 《酒色財氣》
Four Encounters
1982 《黑獄大逃亡》
Escape to Freedom
1982 《糊塗妙諜立大功》
Funny Spies
1981 《賭王群英會》
The King Of Gambler
1981 《流氓千王》
Gambler's Delight
1981 《沙家十五女英豪》
15 Female Warriors of the Sha Family
1981 《教兄》
Big Brother
1981 《大賭場》
The Casino
1979 《八萬罪人》
Invincible Enforcer
1978 《百戰保山河》
Immortal Warriors CHANG Tseng Chai LO Wei WONG Sing Loy KUO Joseph
1977 《應召名冊》
The Call Girls
1977 《清宮大刺殺》
Flying Guillotine Part II HUA Shan
1976 《香港奇案》
(Segment: Hidden Torsos )
The Criminals HUA Shan HO Meng Hwa
1976 《賭王大騙局》
King Gambler
1975 《嬉笑怒罵》
Temperament of Life
1974 《天網》
1974 《愛》
Two Faces Of Love
1973 《秀才遇見兵》
The Scholar and the Soldier
1972 《群英會》
(Segment: The Tigress )
Trilogy of Swordsmanship CHANG Cheh
1972 《林沖夜奔》
1972 《十四女英豪》
The 14 Amazons
1970 《十二金牌》
The Twelve Gold Medallions
1970 《鐵羅漢》
Iron Buddha
1969 《豪俠傳》
Killers Five
1968 《千面大盜》
Gun Brothers
1968 《怪俠》
The Magnificent Swordsman
1968 《神刀》
The Sword of Swords
1967 《黑鷹》
The Black Falcon
1967 《風流鐵漢》
Kiss and Kill
1967 《飛天女郎》
The Trapeze Girl
1967 《盜劍》
Rape Of The Sword
1959 《世代冤仇兒女情》
Feud and Love
1959 《心心相印》
Heart to Heart
1953 《火樹銀花相映紅》
Bright Night NG Wui
1952 《兒女情長》
Sweet Love Lingers One NG Wui
1951 《斷腸母子心》
Mother and Son in Grief
1951 《春到人間》
Advent of Spring