Anatole France's The Man Who Married a Dumb Wife has been adapted into three different Hong Kong films in the 1950s alone. These two adaptations stray from the source material considerably in genre, characterisation and plot, turning a farce about married life into localised romantic comedies that emphasise family values.
The Beauty and the Dumb follows the couple from their meet-cute to the misunderstandings they encounter before the inevitable happy ending. The heir of a bank (Huang He) falls in love at first sight with one of the employees' daughter (Li Lihua), but their burgeoning relationship is nearly derailed when the girl's father intervenes to help his dumb daughter land a rich husband.
Meanwhile, Precious Daughter follows the couple's story even after their marriage. With the help of her caring mother, rich girl who is mute manages to marry the man of her dreams. However, their marriage soon runs into difficulties because of her inability to please her demanding sister-in-law.
While the heroine regaining her voice leads to catastrophe for the hero in the original play, the two films celebrate the return of their heroines' voices with song and dance – thanks to the popularity of musicals at the time.
|8/9/2019 (Sun)||5:30pm||Cinema, Hong Kong Film Archive|
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