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Commercializing ideologies [Elektronische Ressource] : intellectuals and cultural production at the Mingxing (Star) Motion Picture Company 1922 - 1938 / vorgelegt von Huang, Xuelei

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310 pages
Commercializing Ideologies Intellectuals and Cultural Production at the Mingxing (Star) Motion Picture Company 1922 - 1938 Inaugural-Dissertation zur Erlangung der Doktorwürde an der Philosophischen Fakultät der Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg Institut für Sinologie vorgelegt von UANG Xuelei H July 2009 Gutachter: Prof. Dr. Barbara Mittler Dr. Anne Kerlan-Stephens For my parents, sister and 3-year-old niece CONTENTS Figures and Charts ii Conventions and Abbreviations ii Acknowledgements iv Introduction 1 Part I The Institution Chapter 1 The Institutional History 21 1.1 1922: A panorama 22 1.2 Chronicling the History of Mingxing 29 Part II The Producers Chapter 2 Yuanhu 鴛蝴/Zuoyi 左翼/GMD 國民黨: The Standard Story 56 2.1 "Yuanyang hudie pai 鴛鴦蝴蝶派" 56 2.2 "Zuoyi 左翼" 602.3 "GMD hack writers 國民黨御用文人" 69 Chapter 3 Cultural Professionals at Mingxing (I): Founding Members and Creative Staff in the 1920s 73 3.1 The Five "Tiger Generals" Hujiang 虎將 73 3.2 Bao Tianxiao and Hong Shen 88 3.3 Popular writers and journalists at Mingxing: A portrait 96 Chapter 4 Cultural Professionals at Mingxing (II): Creative Staff in the 1930s 103 4.1 A Changing Ecology of the Film World in the Early 1930s 4.
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Commercializing Ideologies

Intellectuals and Cultural Production
at the Mingxing (Star) Motion Picture Company
1922 - 1938




Inaugural-Dissertation
zur Erlangung der Doktorwürde
an der Philosophischen Fakultät
der Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg
Institut für Sinologie



vorgelegt von
UANG Xuelei H


July 2009

Gutachter: Prof. Dr. Barbara Mittler
Dr. Anne Kerlan-Stephens












For my parents, sister and 3-year-old niece

CONTENTS


Figures and Charts ii
Conventions and Abbreviations ii
Acknowledgements iv

Introduction 1

Part I The Institution

Chapter 1 The Institutional History 21
1.1 1922: A panorama 22
1.2 Chronicling the History of Mingxing 29

Part II The Producers

Chapter 2 Yuanhu 鴛蝴/Zuoyi 左翼/GMD 國民黨: The Standard Story 56
2.1 "Yuanyang hudie pai 鴛鴦蝴蝶派" 56
2.2 "Zuoyi 左翼" 60
2.3 "GMD hack writers 國民黨御用文人" 69

Chapter 3 Cultural Professionals at Mingxing (I): Founding Members and Creative
Staff in the 1920s 73
3.1 The Five "Tiger Generals" Hujiang 虎將 73
3.2 Bao Tianxiao and Hong Shen 88
3.3 Popular writers and journalists at Mingxing: A portrait 96

Chapter 4 Cultural Professionals at Mingxing (II): Creative Staff in the 1930s 103
4.1 A Changing Ecology of the Film World in the Early 1930s
4.2 The recruitment of Xia Yan, A Ying, and Zheng Boqi 112
4.3 Members of the Zuolian and Julian at Mingxing: A portrait 118
4.4 Yao Sufeng and Liu Na'ou 126

Part III The Products

Chapter 5 Melodrama plus Isms 138
5.1 Why "Melodrams": Zhang Xinsheng 张欣生 and Gu'er jiuzu ji
孤儿救祖记 (Orphan) 138
5.2 Test Case I: Yuli hun 玉梨魂 (Jade) 153
5.3 Test Case II: Kuangliu 狂流 (Torrent) 163
5.4 Test Case III: Yongyuan de weixiao 永遠的微笑 (Smiling) 168

Chapter 6 Addressing Current Issues: Isms (zhuyi) and Ideologies (yishi) 174
6.1 Family, Marriage, and Women 178
6.2 Labourer, Class, and the Ills of the Society 186
6.3 Martial Spirit, Revolution, and National Salvation 192

Chapter 7 Addressing the Modern Tension: Motifs 197
i
7.1 Dichotomizing Country and City 197
7.2 Juxtaposing Love and Revolution 208

Conclusion 217

Appendix I: Filmography 228
Appendix II: Tables 256
Bibliography 264
Lists of Primary Source Materials 282


Figures and Charts

Fig. 1 Advertisement for Konggu lan 91
Fig. 2 Advertisements for Chuangshang renying and Tiexue qingnian 100
Fig. 3 Cartoon "Daoyan xiansheng guo wuguan" 135
Fig. 4 Huang Junfu (Fang Dayuan) and Yang Naimei (Cui Yunqian) 161
Fig. 5 Theatre Advertisements in XWB 175
Fig. 6 Distribution and sale agents of the Mingxing banyuekan 177
Fig. 7 Mingxing's distribution networks 225
Chart 1 Cinema Administrative Infrastructure of the Nanjing Government 42
Chart 2 Enterprise Architecture 50


Conventions and Abbreviations

1. Chinese characters are provided for all Chinese names, terms, and titles in the main text
when they first appear. Afterwards, characters are given only when I deem necessary for
ease of reference or other reasons.

2. Film titles are given in pinyin, Chinese characters and English translations, together with
dates of production in parentheses, when they first appear. Afterwards, only pinyin and
dates of production are given. A filmography which contains all the films Mingxing
produced is provided in Appendix I.

3. For secondary source materials I cite in this study, only author, title and page numbers
are given in notes (if in Chinese, only pinyin is given). For primary source materials –
mainly journal articles in Chinese, I give full citations (both in pinyin and Chinese
characters), because sources and dates of publication provide significant information for
this historical study. English translations for Chinese sources are only given in
"Bibliography" and "Lists of Primary Source Materials" appended.

4. The following abbreviations are used in the notes:
DS Diansheng 電聲
MB Mingxing banyuekan 明星半月刊
MT Mingxing tekan 明星特刊
MY Mingxing yuebao 明星月報
MXNB Fan Yanqiao. "Mingxing yingpian gongsi nianbiao 明星影片公司年表"
SB Shenbao 申報
SMA Shanghai Municipal Archive (Shanghai dang'an guan 上海檔案館)
ii
XWB Xinwenbao 新聞報
YHWZ Rui Heshi, et al., eds. Yuanyang hudie pai wenxue ziliao 鴛鴦蝴蝶派文學
資料
YHYZ Wei Shaochang, ed. Yuanyang hudie pai yanjiu ziliao 鴛鴦蝴蝶派研究資

ZDFZS Cheng Jihua, et al., eds. Zhongguo dianying fazhanshi 中國電影發展史
ZHWSJ Tian Han, et al., eds. Zhongguo huaju yundong wushinian shiliaoji 中國話
劇運動五十年史料集
ZWD Zhongguo dianying ziliaoguan, ed. Zhongguo wusheng dianying 中國無聲
電影
ZWDJB Zheng Peiwei, et al. ed. Zhongguo wusheng dianying juben 中國無聲電影
劇本
ZZDY Chen Bo, et al., eds. Zhongguo zuoyi dianying yundong 中国左翼电影运动
iii
Acknowledgements


Words are inadequate to express my gratitude to many individuals who have contributed to
the making of this thesis over the past three years and ten months. My deepest appreciation
goes to my advisor Barbara Mittler, an exceptionally committed mentor, for her never
failing support and her instruction with unflagging zeal. She read every line of each
chapter of my three drafts with admirable patience. I have benefitted tremendously from
her insightful comments, inspirational thoughts, as well as numerous helpful suggestions
about the skills and technical details of writing an academic thesis. I also owe a great debt
to my co-supervisor Anne Kerlan. With her specialist expertise in early Chinese film
history, she raised many thought-provoking questions and offered valuable advice, both of
which have been crucial to this study. The chair of my examining committee Joachim
Kurtz read through my thesis and provided constructive feedback, which I have highly
appreciated.
My heartfelt thanks also go to Nanny Kim and Xiao Zhiwei. I have always enjoyed the
conversations with Nanny who shared with empathy my joys of unearthing intriguing
materials as well as my confusions and anxieties in the course of writing. It is extremely
kind of her to have carefully read my drafts and provided invaluable help with language
correction and many comments. As a historian of Chinese early cinema, Zhiwei generously
gave me special permission to his "private library" built up through his arduous archival
research over two decades. Besides, for his warm support and sympathetic understanding, I
owe profound gratitude to him.
As this historical study has relied largely upon primary source materials scattered in a
wide range of newspapers, periodicals and archival documents at various libraries and
archives, I am deeply indebted to the following teachers and friends who drew my
attention to particular materials, shared with me their own collections or researches, or
helped me locate certain missing pieces: Li Daoxin, Rudolf Wagner, Xu Qinzhen, Chen
Jianhua, Sun Liying, Shi Yun and Xu Meimei. In addition, I would like to especially thank
the library of the Institute of Chinese Studies at Heidelberg University as well as its
ivlibrarian Anne Labitzky-Wagner who is very accommodating and patient. The library is
such a home-like place which not only houses a wealth of "treasure," offers free use of
many facilities (e.g. the extremely useful microfilm scanner), but also opens 24 hours to
bookworms. My thesis owns an intellectual debt to this wonderful place.
My work on this project at the last stage was supported by a Completion Scholarship
(Abschlussstipendium) awarded by the Graduate Academy of Heidelberg University and a
Research Scholarship by the Heidelberg Cluster of Excellence. I am indebted to the two
institutions' generous support which allowed me to concentrate on my work at this crucial
stage. I am also grateful to the Graduate Academy for a Travel Grant which enabled me to
take a research trip to Shanghai and attend a conference in the summer of 2008.
Last but not least, I would like to thank the members (and visiting members) of the
Popular Culture Research Group: Jennifer Altehenger, Cheng Chun-chieh, Joscha Chung,
Nora Frisch, Sebastian Gehrig, Lena Henningsen, Annika Jöst, Cora Jungbluth, Jennifer
May, Sun Liying, Petra Thiel, Wu I-wai, Xiong Jingjing, and others. Stimulating
discussions and other forms of interactions with them frequently drew me to useful
theories, approaches and materials and made the process of writing this thesis more
interesting. Finally, many thanks to my friends Huang Yunfeng, Jin Tao, Wang Jialin, Wang
Yan, Xu Ke, Zhang Zhi'an, Zhu Yanhua, as well as my parents, sister and niece, for their
company, support, and love in different ways.


vINTRODUCTION

Introduction


The conclusion of Edison's film forced the
recognition of the motion picture […] as the
greatest educational agency since the
discovery of the printing machine.
Moving Picture World 10, 18 Nov. 1911

Can shadowplay(film)-making make money?
(攝製影戲 還 能賺錢否 ?)
Hong Shen 洪深, XWB 1 Jan. 1926


In the early spring of 1922, Bao Tianxiao 包天笑 (1876 - 1973) was about to take the
editorship of the Xingqi 星期 (it own English title: The Sunday; literally, Week), a popular
1fiction weekly published in Shanghai by the Dadong Publishing House ( 大東書局).
Fiction lovers of the day were able to read his works on quite many occasions. For
example, a comic short story by him ran in the February 1922 issue of a fiction journal by
2the same publisher. In the summer of the same year, Zheng Boqi 鄭伯奇 (1895 - 1979),
who was studying literature in Japan, spent his summer holidays in Shanghai. During the
few months, he co-edited two journals by the Creation Society (Chuangzao she 創造社), a
literary group founded by his friends Guo Moruo 郭沫若, Yu Dafu 郁達夫, and others in
31921 in Tokyo with their stated objective to "create a new Chinese literature." In 1922,
Liu Na'ou 劉吶鷗 (1905 - 1940), a prominent writer of the Japanese-inspired literary
school "new sensationism" (xin ganjue pai 新感覺派) in 1930s Shanghai, was a student of
the Japanese Christian school Aoyama Gakuin. In the following year, he graduated from

1 See advertisement in SB 28 Feb. 1922: 17.
2 The story was entitled Xin Xiyouji 新西 遊記 (A New Version of Journey to the West) and was published in
Youxi shijie 遊 戲世界 (The World of Games). See advertisement in SB 22 Feb. 1922: 20.
3 Cf. Xu Youchun, ed, Minguo renwu da cidian, p. 1481.
The Creation Society was formed in June 1921 in Tokyo by a group of Chinese students. Prominent
members were Guo Moruo 郭沫 若, Yu Dafu 郁達夫 and Cheng Fangwu 成仿吾. It was one of the two major
literary societies of the May Fourth period, which exerted a profound impact on Chinese modern literature.
The other leading society was the Literary Association (Wenxue yanjiuhui 文學研究 會) formed in November
1920 in Beijing and Shanghai by Mao Dun 茅盾, Zhou Zuoren 周作人, Zheng Zhenduo 鄭振鐸, and others.
See Hsia, A history of modern Chinese fiction, pp. 55-56; p. 93.
1 INTRODUCTION
the high school and began to take undergraduate courses in English literature at the
4Aoyama College.
In the years to come, Bao Tianxiao, Zheng Boqi and Liu Na'ou – labelled in the official
history of Chinese cinema Zhongguo dianying fazhan shi 中國電影發展史 (A History of
the Development of Chinese Cinema) as the popular fiction author from the "Yuanyang
hudie pai 鴛鴦蝴蝶派" (Mandarin Ducks and Butterflies School), the "Zuoyi wenyi
gongzuo zhe 左翼文藝工作者" (left-wing cultural worker) and the "Guomindang yuyong
5wenren 國民黨御用文人" (hack writer of the GMD), respectively – would cross paths by
joining a commercial film company in Shanghai, the Mingxing (Star) Motion Picture
Company ( 明星影片股份有限公司, hereafter Mingxing), which was founded in the spring
of 1922. This study presents a historical investigation of cultural production within this
film company's studios, focusing on the dynamic relationship between commercial
imperatives, intellectual forces – embodied by Bao, Zheng, Liu and their colleagues, as
well as the end result of this production, films.
One of my purposes is to make clear that what has been conceived as rigid divides
between the so-called Yuanyang hudie pai, Zuoyi and GMD groups are often blurred in the
actual history. The received paradigms through which the history of China's early film has
been viewed are not conducive to a more nuanced understanding of film culture in
Republican China. Once shifting the received frame, I will argue, the commercial film
company Mingxing acted as an intermediary which popularized and disseminated a variety
of intellectual ideas to a wide public through the combination of commercial drives and
joint efforts of these allegedly radically different groups of filmmakers. By looking at (1)
how the film company was operated economically (Chapter 1); (2) why certain writers and
dramatists joined the company at different times (Chapters 2, 3, 4); and (3) what the
company's film products say about (Chapters 5, 6, 7), this study is intended to present the
dynamic process of commercializing ideologies via the popular medium cinema. This new
form of mass media, in this regard, functioned comparably to its predecessors, the printing
press in particular. In the following I set out to discuss how mass media, commerce and
enlightenment interacted in both Western and Chinese historical contexts, and then provide
an overview over scholarship on Chinese film studies. Finally I will introduce the structure
of this book, as well as the methodology and source materials I employ.


4 Xu Qinzhen, "Liu Na'ou nianbiao." in Xu Qinzhen, Modeng, Shanghai, Xin ganjue, pp. 159-60.
5 Cf. ZDFZS, pp. 56, 201, 396.
2 INTRODUCTION
Mass media, Commerce, and Enlightenment
The printing press has acquired a great deal of attention in the scholarship on Europe's
modern transition. By virtue of its capacity to reproduce and disseminate human
knowledge on an unprecedented scale, this earliest form of a mass medium is
predominantly believed to have acted as a significant agent of change in institutional,
6political as well as cultural spheres. Existing scholarship has explored print's social
functions, for example, in forging the "public sphere" – a domain of our social life, as
7Jürgen Habermas has defined it, in which public opinion can be formed; or, in creating
what Benedict Anderson has termed "imagined communities" which facilitate the growth
8of nationalism. Historians have outlined the far-reaching effects of printing through
9empirical studies, for example, of the business of selling the Encyclopaedia, though at the
10same time serious doubts have also arisen.
Seen in the historical context, the power of the print medium was intertwined with or
propelled by the agent of commerce in complex ways. The early press products in Europe
which emerged during the second half of the fifteenth century were, for the most part,
commercial enterprises organized along capitalist lines. Their development, as John
Thompson has suggested, was "part and parcel of the growth of a capitalist economy in
11late medieval and early modern Europe." But the effects of the emerging new medium
went well beyond the concerns of the industry. It became an effective tool to make new
values and new knowledge available to a broader reading public and thus played a
12significant part in the social changes of Europe from the Medieval Age to its modern era.
During the eighteenth-century Enlightenment Movement, the power of print gained further
momentum as an increasing number of intellectual leaders sought to employ the medium to
enlighten the masses. It was often joined by other cultural and commercial institutions,
such as theatres and museums. For example, Michael Lynn examines one type of club
called musée emerging in late-eighteenth-century Paris and demonstrates how this

6 Cf. Eisenstein, The Printing Press as an Agent of Change.
7 Habermas, "The Public Sphere," p. 398.
8 Anderson, Imagined Communities.
9 Darnton, The business of enlightenment.
10 For example, Schudson's The Power of News has two chapters discussing "myths of media power"
(chapters 5, 6); Mittler concludes her book on the Chinese newspaper Shenbao with the sentence: "Foreign-
style Chinese-language newspapers were powerful not by nature but by default." (Mittler, A newspaper for
China? p. 421)
11 Thompson, The media and modernity, p. 53.
12 Ibid, pp. 57-59.
3