The Black Rose (1965)

Directed by
Mainly of historical interest
Reviewed by Simon on 2024-05-05

Hong Kong's wealthy elite is being terrorised by a thief called The Black Rose, who leaves a note telling them what they will steal and when, does it, then - the real crime - distributes money to the poor and needy. Who among them would guess that the rich, beautiful Chan sisters are the ones behind it?

THE BLACK ROSE is probably best known outside Hong Kong through its parody homage LEGENDARY LA ROSE NOIRE and sequel(s), but it was evidently popular enough in its time to be worthy of homage 30 years later.

The film is well-mannered, telling a simple story in uncomplicated terms. Beautiful sisters are good, stealing from the rich and giving to the poor is good, being an investigator for an insurance company is good as long as you're handsome and stand on the side of justice when it counts... that sort of thing.

It isn't an action film by any means - there's a tussle with some thugs in the middle and a showdown with some gangsters at the end, but both are short and stagey.

As a Cantonese film shot in black and white it feels like it comes from a different era to films like Come Drink With Me, a testament to how much Shaw Brothers changed the landscape for Hong Kong cinema with their widescreen Mandarin language films.