The title says it all: in a northern town, circa 1930, Peking Opera actor Guan Yulou (Ti) is murdered by a cabal of local power brokers and his dour younger brother Xiaolou (Chiang) arrives to pick off the baddies one by one. But the lack of narrative twists matters less than the noir scheme of things: pretty much everyone is seriously flawed, the brooding Xiaolou is not a conventionally pure hero (even when he dons a white suit for the climactic bloodbath), and two big action set pieces take place at night. The crude melodramatics are partly offset by the smart idea (24 years before Farewell My Concubine) of cross-cutting between an acted death on stage and a real assassination. It was the first of Chang's paeans to macho values to co-star Chiang and Ti (together only in brief flashbacks); the cast includes many soon-to-be-famous faces and torsos.
Cast and crew
Ni Kuang, Chang Cheh