“You are the first man I ever loved… and the world has only just begun…”
American William Holden, as former architect turned struggling artist, Robert Lomax, a cynic who’s “pushing forty,” arrives in 1960 Hong Kong to make a valiant effort for his art. He’s never been there and has no idea what to expect. On the ferry boat to Kowloon, he has a sort of altercation with the very young & attractive Nancy Kwan, who claims to be named “Mei Li,” a very proper young lady about to enter into an arranged marriage set up by her wealthy father. Shortly before reluctantly introducing herself, she also almost manages to have Robert arrested by claiming he’s a purse snatcher, which, judging from her mirthful expression, she does for the sheer entertainment value of the situation.
Robert, completely lost and not particularly wealthy, soon makes his way to the Wan Chai district, and, in his naivete as American abroad, fails to realize he’s entered the main prostitution district in the city. His journey to the seedy hotel where he sets up shop as artist would be one of the highlights of the film: Robert’s amazement and confusion at the bustling, vibrant city that has become his new home come across nicely. In many ways, the brilliant cinematography and camera work turn the city of Hong Kong itself into the unacknowledged third star of the film. However, it’s a very different Hong Kong than now: very much a British colonial post, and, in segments of the neighborhoods, almost a Third World city.
6.37GB | 2h 06m | 1278×720 | mkv