Morning Matinee—Nancy and Michael
Launched in 2010, morning screenings curated by the Hong Kong Film Archive have entered its eleventh year. The ‘Morning Matinee' series would for the very first time bring to the audience two household names, Michael Lai Siu-tin and Nancy Sit Kar-yin.
Lai and Sit both started as child stars and went on to develop long and meaningful careers. Their stardom spanned a wide range of genres. Lai joined the Great Wall Movie Enterprise Ltd. at the tender age of five, often playing the nice kid in Mandarin films. Later he switched over to the Cantonese side of the industry, often starring child prodigies of wit and courage, such as in Cantonese ‘Talented Child' or ‘Child Genius' films like To Catch a Thief (1958) and Talented Children Getting Robbers (1960), which became some of his signature titles. Many of his roles are grassroots characters. One of the most memorable is from The Great Devotion (1960). Lai appeared in over 30 films before withdrawing from the film industry at the age of 17. He eventually returned to show business and became one of the maestros of Hong Kong popular music.
Nancy Sit, like Lai, was discovered at a tender age. She appeared as a child actor in The Grand Re-union (1960), which lifted the curtain of her glorious and lasting show business career. She has acted in over a hundred films, encompassing different genres and a wide range of characters. In the 1960s, at the peak of the development of Cantonese youth musicals, she was crowned one of the ‘Seven Princesses' along with superstars Connie Chan Po-chu and Josephine Siao Fong-fong. Sit appeared with both in Colourful Youth (1966) and with Fong in Teddy Girls (1969). Both films became big hits.
Sit and Lai did not work with each other until they entered the second phase of their career—when they co-hosted the RTV variety show Nancy and Michael in 1975. Its popularity earned them the title ‘Best Partners' of the small screen. Three years later, Sit and Lai co-directed and performed together in the comedy Dog Bites Dog Bone (1978), their only on-screen collaboration in cinema. The late 1970s work also bore witness to the decline of traditional Cantonese films and the rapid-growing television culture.
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