Written by: Michael Den Boer on December 21st, 2008
Theatrical Release Date: Hong Kong, 1993
Director: Ronny Yu
Writers: Kei To Lam, David Wu, Ronny Yu writer
Cast: Brigitte Lin, Leslie Cheung, Francis Ng, Elaine Lui, Kit Ying Lam, King-Kei Cheng, Eddy Ko, Lok Lam Law, Le Lin Lo, Fong Pao
DVD released: July 22nd, 1998
Approximate running time: 89 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Letterboxed Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo Mandarin, Dolby Digital Stereo Cantonese, Dolby Digital Stereo English
DVD Release: Tai Seng
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.95
The Bride with the White Hair was directed by Ronny Yu whose other notable films include The Postman Fights Back, Legacy of Rage and The Phantom Lover. In 1997 Ronny Yu like many of his contemporaries would make the transition from Hong Kong to Hollywood cinema directing films like Bride of Chucky and Freddy vs. Jason.
One of the most striking aspects of The Bride with White Hair is its visual style. The films breathtaking visual look flawlessly mixes dreamlike and nightmarish imagery. The story is a tale about two enemies who eventually become lovers. Their love is a doomed affair that is constantly faced with obstacles. The story moves at a brisk pace with just enough time devoted to character development. The story beginning is actually its end and the rest of the story is told via flashback. The film’s opening also serves as the starting point of The Bride with White Hair 2.
The most memorable moment in the film is a scene when Cho Yi Hang spies on Lien Ni Chang who is bathing. Another standout moment is the scene that shows the evolution of their love before they are each confronted by their clans about their forbidden love. The performances from the films two leads Brigitte Lin and Leslie Cheung are nothing short of amazing. Brigitte Lin’s character Lien Ni Chang has the film’s most unusual weapon as she use her hair to kill and sometimes cut people in half. Ultimately The Bride with the White Hair is a haunting story about a doomed love affair that perfectly mixes drama and action.
The Bride with White Hair is presented in a letterboxed widescreen that preserves the film’s original 2.35:1 aspect ratio. This is a film that features many scenes with bold colors and there are some instances where they don’t look as robust as they should on this transfer. The image looks reasonably sharp with only a few moments where it looks just a tad too soft. There is some print damage which is minimal and never obtrusive. Despite some of the transfers flaws one of its greatest assets is that it has been flagged for progressive playback.
This release comes with three audio options Mandarin, Cantonese and English. All three audio options are presented in a Dolby Digital stereo. All three audio mixes sound clear and evenly balanced. The Cantonese audio mix is the standout mix of the three. Removable English subtitles have been included.
Extras for this release include trailers for The Bride with White Hair, The Bride with White Hair 2, The Untold Story, Tai Chi 2 and Organized Crime and Triad Bureau. Other extras include bios/filmographies for Brigitte Lin, Leslie Cheung, Francis Ng and Ronny Yu (all the text is in English). The main extra included with this release is an audio commentary with director Ronny Yu. The audio commentary is informative as Ronny Yu discusses the novel that the films is based on, the visual style of the film and the films action sequences. Rounding out the extras is a twelve minute making of the film promo that features comments from the cast producer Raymond Wong and director Ronny Yu, executive producer Ko Chi Sum, cinematographer Peter Pau, art director Eddie Ma, stunt coordinator Kwok Chun Fung and stars Leslie Cheung and Brigitte Lin. All the comments are in Cantonese and burnt in English subtitles have been provided. Overall The Bride with White Hair gets a good release that is most lacking in its non anamorphic transfer. Despite this flaw this release is more than satisfactory until a more definitive release comes along.