Module 8: Long Live the Missus! (1947)
A Chinese take on the screwball comedy, featuring an over-eager-to-please upper class housewife, her unreliable spouse, and a glamorous seductress in Civil War-era Shanghai. Shangguan Yunzhu steals the show as the homewrecker “Mimi,” as does Shi Hui as the hilarious Old Mr. Chen. The tightly-plotted screenplay is by Eileen Chang, one of modern China’s most celebrated writers and author of the story “Lust, Caution.”
Directed by Sang Hu 桑弧
Screenplay by Eileen Chang (Zhang Ailing 張愛玲)
Studio: Wenhua Film Co.
Cast: Shangguan Yunzhu 上官雲珠, Shi Hui 石揮, Wang Yi 汪漪, Zhang Fa 張伐, Lu Shan 路珊, Jiang Tianliu 蔣天流, Han Fei 韓非
English subtitles translated by Christopher Rea
Video lecture 1:
Video lecture 2:
Scenes from Long Live the Missus!
Read a translation of the full film Long Live the Missus! (1947), with images.
Animated opening credits, which use a fan motif:
Chen Sirui and Tang Zhiqin meet in a shop, each seeking to purchase pineapples:
The first appearance of Shi Mimi:
Chen Sizhen visits Mimi’s apartment and calls her bluff:
The last “missus” seen in Long Live the Missus!:
Comparisons with other films
See how the theme of a woman caught in an impossible domestic situation is developed in the first collaboration between director Sang Hu and screenwriter Eileen Chang, which was released earlier the same year, Love Everlasting (1947). This copy of the film is accompanied by a discussion of the film’s cinematic and literary context, featuring Professors Renren Yang and Christopher Rea (see the chat replay on the film’s YouTube page):
Compare the bowl-hiding routine in the opening scene of Long Live the Missus! with the hat-hiding scene in the Hollywood screwball comedy The Awful Truth (1937):
Watch other films featuring Shangguan Yunzhu: