From Silent Films to Talkies: Rediscovering Moon Kwan Man-ching

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Moon Kwan Man-ching (pen name Shan-yuet) was a pioneer of modern Chinese cinema as well as a trailblazer of his time. His remarkable life closely reflected the development of the Chinese and foreign film industries. Through his life story, we can catch a glimpse of the changing modes of operation in the film industries in China and overseas. In the 1930s, sound films (talkies) were a trend that took the world by storm. Within a few short years, rapid changes swept through the film industry in China. Moon Kwan kept his finger on the pulse of the times. He brought talkies into the film studios of Hong Kong, heralding the birth of Grandview Film Company Limited and the start of the Cantonese sound film era. The stories of Moon Kwan’s travels across Shanghai, Guangdong, San Francisco and Hollywood are intimately related to the stories of the Taishan people’s overseas diaspora in the early 20th century. His achievements in building up Grandview with Joseph Sunn Jue (aka Chiu Shu-sun) and pioneering Cantonese sound films were built upon his vast and deep overseas Chinese connection networks with Lew (Lau), Quan (Kwan), Jung (Cheung) and Chew (Chiu) clans of San Francisco’s Loong Kong Tian Yee Association. Based on research from old books, journals and newspapers, this essay hopes to re-trace Moon Kwan’s journeys around the world as well as his fascinating life story, thereby re-telling how he witnessed numerous ups, downs, twists and turns of world film history.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationExploring Hong Kong Films of the 1930s and 1940s
Subtitle of host publicationPart 1: Era and Film History
EditorsChing-ling Kwok , May Ng
Place of PublicationHong Kong
PublisherHong Kong Film Archive
Number of pages18
ISBN (Print)9789628050772
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022


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