Saucy tales about sex slaves - in the Chinese imperial court and those openly sold - make for a nice bedroom romp in this Li Han-hsiang movie. Stephen Tan reviews.


After so many erotic films at Shaw Bros, the name Chen Ping alone is enough to draw in the crowds. In Take Care, Your Majesty (1983), Chen does enough with her walk-on role for her to either remove her blouse or to have her blouse ripped off to satisfy her audience.

This film is another Li Han-hsiang movie made up of three separate stories. The opening segment, Women In The Sacks, is about sex slavery in China. The governor has a number of abducted women to be sold off. Each of them is covered up in a sack and the men seeking wives pay 40 taels to try their luck in the lucky draw.

Ku Feng, in one of those roles where he isn't playing a villain, is unlucky in love after having been cheated by conwoman Chen Ping and her partner (veteran actress) Cheng Siu Ping. After getting some come-hither looks from Chen, Ku Feng had entered into her room just as she was removing her clothes. The incident resulted in Ku Feng being blackmailed into a scam marriage and loss of money.

Hoping that things will improve, Ku enters the "lucky draw" and gets a young and demure prize. Meanwhile Wang Yu (of Spiritual Boxer fame) ends up with elderly Wang Lai. However, the elderly Wang is kind enough to switch place with the young girl for what is a happily-ever-after ending.

While it may be the longest among the three segments, Women In The Sacks has very little sex or nudity (save the Chen Ping sequence and a very brief shot of a topless girl emerging from a sack). If the audience were disappointed, their patience was rewarded with the next two segments.

The next story, Through The Telescope, has Shaw regular Tin Ching (who is usually kind of fey) as a peeping tom. Perched in a tall building, Tin spies Chan Shen having steamy sex with Tsui Fa in a brothel. In a secluded garden, a group of girls strip one of their members before throwing her into the pond. The girls then remove their clothes and everyone ends up having a gay time in the water. In this instance, who cares about narrative drive when all the action one needs is on screen?

Tin Ching next spies old official Li Pang-fei (old-time Cantonese actor) reading a copy of Sex And Zen. His housekeeper encourages Li, who is recently widowed, to either remarry or take on a female companion and he has just the person in mind - Chen Ping. In an expanded version of the earlier sequence, the elderly Li falls for Chen and forces himself on her. The furthest he got was to tear the blouse off Chen before he is confronted by Chen's guardian. The result is another monetary windfall for Chen and a scam marriage for Li.

The final story, from which the film takes its title, is about the sex education of the emperor. Before he ascends the throne and assumes his kingly duties, the young emperor has to be taught the ways of the world, in this case, how to have sex with women. Carefully-selected young women are taught several surefire sex techniques and four are chosen to initiate the emperor into manhood (so to speak).

Li Pang-fei (left) and Chen Ping.

As the emperor enjoys the sex so much, he wants more of it. But there is a limit to what he can do, especially when his minder keeps shouting, "Take care, your majesty." Tired of the close scrutiny and the lack of the free form sex he would like to have (for instance, the court's sex slaves - one is hard put to come up with a better term - are taught they must never be on top of the emperor), the emperor ventures into the city incognito and, needless to say, catches something unsavoury apart from the eyes of his women.

Every Li Han-hsiang erotic movie has its memorable moment. Here, it's that extraordinary sequence which must have brought the house down where the court sex slaves are instructed to strip and, like sex gymnasts, perform in full nudity, their routine of sex techniques - dragon flip, tiger pace, monkey style, cicada clench, tortoise leap, phoenix wheeling, rabbit sucking, fish scaling and stork "necking." Let's just say the scene would have been that much more enjoyable had they taken the trouble to find more full-bodied girls.

Sex aside, either using leftover shots from Li's Emperor Chien Loong/Empress Dowager movies, this last segment also has a sumptuous look - especially the palace exteriors - and some witty writing - the narrator's rhyming voiceover and how the emperor, being a "supreme being," can never have a woman on top of him. Even the way the crafty Chan Shen gets out of paying for the services of the prostitute is fine comedy. It also looks as if Chan Shen has the best role in the movie - he is only onscreen to have sex with the women, one of whom is a Caucasian.

Take Care, Your Majesty is not usually listed among Li Han-hsiang's better-made films nor is it commonly cited among his erotic oeuvre. But there are enough bare bosoms and buttocks to keep folks occupied for a pleasant afternoon and that the film is not silly comes as a nice bonus.

Note: Take Care, Your Majesty (IVL/Celestial) is only available on VCD and is banned in $ingapore.

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January 2, 2007

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