Ngai Hoi-fung worked as camera assistant, grip and still photographer when he started in the Cantonese film industry in the 1940s. He had worked under longtime cinematographers Ho Look-ying and Chow Sze-ching for years. In his first turn as cinematographer—for the film Lion-Hearted Warrior—Ngai shared the role with Chow. Since director Ng Wui’s The Purplemisted Cup (1949), Ngai had shot close to 300 features in 25 years, working closely with directors the likes of Ng, Lee Tit, Lee Sun-fung, Chu Kea, Wu Pang and Wong Toi. Some of the most memorable films he shot as cinematographer includes Family (1953), Sworn Sisters (1954), The Lone Swan (1955), A Cold Winter Night (1955), The Bloody Sucker (1962) and A Hong Kong Woman (1964). The Obsessed (1975) was the last film he worked on as cinematographer.
Since 1966, Ngai had focused his career on writing and directing. His first script, The Warrant (1966), which he financed with leading man Woo Fung. Ngai’s directorial debut, Every Step of Alarm (1967), again stars Woo and financed by the actor.
Ngai has the distinction of directing Jackie Chan in the future superstar’s his first leading role in The Cub Tiger from Kwangtung (1973). That was followed by The Four Shaolin Challengers (1977), starring the kung-fu star Bruce Leung Siu-lung, and Ten Tigers of Shaolin (1978), again starring Leung and which Ngai also wrote. He also directed The Story of Drunken Master (1979), starring the renowned choreographer Simon Yuen Siutin and which Ngai also wrote. Ngai returned to the helm after a five-year break, directing The Young Hero of Shaolin (1984) and The Young Hero of Shaolin II (1986) in China. The last film he directed before retirement was Snake Fist (1994).
|Year||Chinese name||English name||Directors|
||The Young Hero of Shaolin II|
||The Young Hero of Shaolin|
||The Story of Drunken Master||WU Pang|
||Ten Tigers of Shaolin|
||The Four Shaolin Challengers|
||The Cub Tiger from Kwangtung||CHIN Hsin|
||Only the Brave Stands|
||Every Step of Alarm|