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Hong Kong Film Directors' Guild - Directors - Chih Hung KUEI
桂治洪 | KUEI Chih Hung

I love Dr. Zhivago. In Killer Constable, I want to create a character like Zhivago. Despite his position in the high court, the protagonist is a righteous man. Yet in the corruption and poverty-stricken era at the end of the Qing Dynasty, there is not much good he can do on his own. Hence he is deluded by society and lives his life foolishly. There are critics who suggested that I was trying to emulate Li Hanhsiang but had failed to evoke his grandiosity. The truth is I was not trying to shoot a grandiose scene. You may have noticed that the background of that scene is completely basked in gold. Then when the film turns to the lives of the regular folks, I only used grayish colors in the backdrop to create a sharp contrast to the earlier scene—the officials in the high court freely abuses the system to fund their lavish lifestyle yet common folks struggle in poverty, having nothing but tree roots to eat.

Excerpt from Film Biweekly (City Entertainment Magazine) (Issue 38, 3 July, 1980)


Kuei Chih-hung was born in Guangzhou in 1937. After finishing secondary school in Hong Kong in 1960, he studied stage production and filmmaking at The National Taiwan University of Arts. While he was there, Kuei made good use of the limited equipments and resources for his first foray into filmmaking. After graduation, he found work as director, assistant director and animation producer in Taiwan. He directed several films, including The Weird Gentleman (1963), Don’t Fall for Women (1968) and the black-and-white animated short Wu Song Slays the Tiger. When filmmaker Pan Lei shot Lovers’ Rock and Song of Orchid Island in Taiwan for the Shaw Brothers Studio, Kuei served as his assistant director.

His reputation as a director’s right-hand man has preceded him early in his career. In 1965, Shaw Brothers sent him for training at Shochiku’s Ofuna Studio in Japan, where he worked under Japanese filmmakers such as Inoe Umetsugu, Ko Nakahira (aka Yeung Shu-hei) and Koji Shima (aka Shih Ma-shan). In 1966, director Ho Meng-hua invited Kuei to join him for the Shaw Brothers’ production of The Monkey Goes West. During the production of 1970’s Love Song Over the Sea, actor Peter Chen Ho died of cancer and director Koji Shima left the shoot for contractual reasons. Kuei stepped in and took the reins as director of a Hong Kong production for the first time. He then directed A Time For Love (1970) and The Lady Professional (1971), among others, but only got his first major hit when he codirected The Delinquent (1973) with Chang Cheh. In his twentyplus years at Shaw Brothers, Kuei directed over forty films, most notably The Tea House (1974), Big Brother Cheng (1975), The Criminals series (1976 - 77), Hex (1980) and Killer Constable (1980).

Adapted from novels by pulp writer Chiang Chih-nan, with esoteric street slang, The Tea House and Big Brother Cheng are now considered precursors of the Hong Kong triad genre. In The Deaf Mute Killer segment of Homicides – The Criminals, Part II (1977), Kuei’s use of location shooting was the key in authentically recreating the atmosphere of 1950s and 60s villages in New Territories. Killer Constable, Kuei’s only wuxia film, was selected by the Hong Kong Film Critics Society as one of the “Classics 200: The Best 200 Chinese-language Films.” After he left Shaw Brothers, Kuei immigrated to the U.S. and ran a pizzeria. He died of liver cancer on October 1st, 1999. His son, Ming Beaver Kwei, is also in the film industry and has worked as Jet Li’s assistant.

Year Chinese name English name Directors
1984 《走火炮》
1983 《魔》
The Boxer's Omen
1982 《邪完再邪》
Hex after Hex
1982 《邪咒》
Curse of Evil
1982 《搏盡》
Godfather from Canton
1981 《屍妖》
Corpse Mania
1981 《蠱》
1980 《萬人斬》
Killer Constable
1980 《惡爺》
Coward Bastard
1980 《邪》
1980 《邪鬥邪》
Hex Vs Witchcraft
1979 《爛頭蟀》
The Reckless Cricket
1979 《匯豐號黃金大風暴》
The Gold Connection
1978 《扮豬食老虎》
Crazy Imposters
1977 《香港奇案之三老爺車縱火謀殺案》
(Segment: Arson )
Arson–The Criminals, Part III
1977 《香港奇案之四廟街皇后》
(Segment: Maniac )
The Criminals 4: Assault
1977 《香港奇案之五姦魔》
(Segment: The Teenager's Nightmare )
The Criminals V : The Teenager's Nightmare
1976 《索命》
Spirit of the Raped
1976 《香港奇案之二兇殺》
(Segment: "The Deaf Mute Killer" and "The Informer" )
Homicides–The Criminals, Part II
1976 《無法無天飛車黨》
Killers On Wheels
1976 《老夫子》
Mr. Funny Bone
1975 《大哥成》
Big Brother Cheng
1975 《古之色狼》
Fearful Interlude
1974 《蛇殺手》
The Killer Snakes
1974 《洋妓》
Virgins of the Seven Seas
1974 《四王一后》
Supermen Against the Orient
1974 《鬼眼》
Ghost Eyes
1974 《成記茶樓》
The Tea House
1974 《捉鼠記》
The Rat Catcher
1973 《憤怒青年》
The Delinquent CHANG Cheh
1973 《血証》
Blood Witness
1973 《女集中營》
The Bamboo House of Dolls
1972 《葫蘆神仙》
The Gourd Fairy
1972 《香港過客》
Stranger In Hong Kong
1972 《少奶奶的絲襪》
Intrigue In Nylons
1971 《女殺手》
The Lady Professional
1970 《海外情歌》
Love Song Over The Sea
1970 《那個不多情》
A Time For Love
1968 《勿為女人迷》
Don't Fall for Women
1964 《天公疼好人》
The God Loves Good Persons
1963 《怪紳士》
The Weird Gentleman