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Thread: How close/far did TVB's 1979 CHOR LAU HEUNG series come to the novel?

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    Moderator Ken Cheng's Avatar
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    Default How close/far did TVB's 1979 CHOR LAU HEUNG series come to the novel?

    This Monday, I started watching TVB's classic 1979 adaptation of CHOR LAU HEUNG, starring Adam Cheng and the recently deceased Ng Man Tat. I didn't abruptly decide to watch the series because of Ng's passing; it had been on my schedule for more than a month, and Ng's death last week was simply a coincidence.

    I first/last saw this series back in late 1988, and because of stuff I was going through at the time, I don't remember much about it. Moreover, because of aforesaid problems and the fact that TVB did not finish that particular rebroadcast, I never finished the series and had no idea how it ended. I remember the series being decently entertaining, but a bit meandering (not nearly as bad as SPW '84, however).

    What I really want to ask is this: how close or far did this adaptation stick to or stray from the original Gu Long novel? Though I have never read the novel, my impression is that the adaptation probably strayed quite far from the book because the dialogue of the characters in the series doesn't sound like typical Gu Long dialogue lines. Gu Long's character dialogue is very idiosyncratic, and while the 1970s TVB LUK SIU FUNG and ROMANTIC SWORDSMAN (SENTIMENTAL SWORDMAN, RUTHLESS SWORDS) adaptations adhered very closely to the novels, I'm not sure that's true for CHOR LAU HEUNG 1979. The dialogue sounds more TVB standard and not very Gu Long-like, so I'm surmising this was one of those adaptations that took huge liberties with the source material. Tell me if I'm wrong about this.

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    Which books were Chor Lau Heung 1979 TVB based on? For example, the 1984 TVB adaptation was based on The Legend of the Bat, if I understand correctly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by texture View Post
    Which books were Chor Lau Heung 1979 TVB based on? For example, the 1984 TVB adaptation was based on The Legend of the Bat, if I understand correctly.
    The first part of the series focuses on Chor Lau Heung being accused of stealing the First Heavenly Water and assassinating the young Beggar's Union Chief Nam Gung Ling. The main nemesis for this part is the No Flowers Monk. Part 2 is the Great Desert Saga, I believe, as Chor Lau Heung and his compatriots take on the Stone Guanyin. Part 3 has them dealing with Gao Ah Nam's grandmother.

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    Rather interesting subplot going on right now with a wulin arms manufacturer/dealer named Lee Yuk Ham...originally a decent dude driven to desperation by his wife's poisoning to manufacture WMDs for No Flowers Monk and help him to murder Chor Lau Heung.

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    Senior Member mawguy's Avatar
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    tvb took a lot of liberties with the storyline. as they tended to do during that era of wuxia adaptations. already, the novels are way more straight-laced and tempered down in terms of the sex and misogyny, but GL writes weird, so tvb definitely watered that significantly down to be more palatable to mainstream audiences.

    it's been a very long time since i skimmed the series, so i can't give specifics. it can be enjoyed as a wuxia series with a lot of familiar faces and action, but if you're looking for faithfulness to the source material, it's the wrong series to watch.
    nostalgic for wuxiasociety? http://wuxiasociety.freeforums.net/

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    Senior Member CC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Cheng View Post
    This Monday, I started watching TVB's classic 1979 adaptation of CHOR LAU HEUNG, starring Adam Cheng and the recently deceased Ng Man Tat. I didn't abruptly decide to watch the series because of Ng's passing; it had been on my schedule for more than a month, and Ng's death last week was simply a coincidence.

    I first/last saw this series back in late 1988, and because of stuff I was going through at the time, I don't remember much about it. Moreover, because of aforesaid problems and the fact that TVB did not finish that particular rebroadcast, I never finished the series and had no idea how it ended. I remember the series being decently entertaining, but a bit meandering (not nearly as bad as SPW '84, however).

    What I really want to ask is this: how close or far did this adaptation stick to or stray from the original Gu Long novel? Though I have never read the novel, my impression is that the adaptation probably strayed quite far from the book because the dialogue of the characters in the series doesn't sound like typical Gu Long dialogue lines. Gu Long's character dialogue is very idiosyncratic, and while the 1970s TVB LUK SIU FUNG and ROMANTIC SWORDSMAN (SENTIMENTAL SWORDMAN, RUTHLESS SWORDS) adaptations adhered very closely to the novels, I'm not sure that's true for CHOR LAU HEUNG 1979. The dialogue sounds more TVB standard and not very Gu Long-like, so I'm surmising this was one of those adaptations that took huge liberties with the source material. Tell me if I'm wrong about this.
    Its about 46.3% accurate to the novels.
    Its BIxie Jianfa Gawdammit you guys!!!!

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    Water Matriarch and the Divine Water Palace came to a grisly end because the Water Matriarch misplaced her trust in the wrong person. Conspiracy, thou art afoot.

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    This adaptation actually tried to cross universes (Jin Yong and Gu Long) by bringing East Heretic Wong Yerk See and the Ancient Tomb Sect into it. I'm not sure what Masters Jin Yong and Gu Long would have thought of this "crossover," but it *almost* works.

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    One thing that sets this series apart is making Japanese martial arts and martial artists its primary adversaries. No Flowers Monk, his mother Stone Guanyin, and the Iga Ninja all practice Japanese ninja arts, and Chor Lau Heung and his allies frequently find themselves up against opponents who wield katanas and throw ninja stars. That's something you don't see too often in wuxia, but CHOR LAU HEUNG '79 is replete with it, which is both strange and refreshing.

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    Holy crap! The Iga Ninja flat out defeated Chor Lau Heung and Wu Teet Fa in straight-up, fair fights! So much for the superiority of Chinese martial arts, even in Ming Dynasty times!

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    No Flowers Monk has become one of my all-time favorite wuxia villains. Delightfully diabolical.

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    Enjoyable series overall, but I'm not liking the direction they're taking in the final three or four episodes. There were better ways to end the series.

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