The Magnificent Scoundrels - Wikipedia
Release Date: 10 October (Hong Kong) See Amazon Affiliates. Amazon Video Watch Movies & TV Online · Prime Video Unlimited Streaming of Movies & . Release date. 10 October (). Running time. 96 min. Country, Hong Kong. Language, Cantonese. Box office, HK$16,, The Magnificent Scoundrels (情聖) is a Hong Kong comedy film directed by Lee Lik-chi. The Magnificent Scoundrels (Hong Kong Movie); 情聖; Stephen Chow plays a Country: Hong Kong; Type: Movie; Release Date: Oct 10, ; Duration: 1 hr.
But then, we never saw Mafka either. He lives in a regular castle that must have been built centuries ago, possibly by the Portuguese, though it may have antedated their excursion into Abyssinia.
Van Eyk thought it may have been built during the Crusades, though what the Crusaders were doing in this neck of the woods he couldn't explain. At any rate, the Kaji never built it; though they had done considerable toward restoring and preserving it.
For the stone itself they show no particular reverence. They handle it and allow others to handle it as though it were quite an ordinary stone. It is for the queen that they reserve their reverence. I do not hesitate to say that she is the most beautiful woman in the world; but a creature of such radical contradictions as to cast a doubt upon her sanity. One moment she is all womanly compassion and sweetness, the next she is a she- devil.
They call her Gonfala, and the diamond Gonfal. Only she knew that I had gone; so she must have told him. When Gonfala helped me to escape, I planned to come back with a force of whites large enough to rescue them," Wood explained. The Kaji are all women. Originally they were blacks who wished to turn white; so they married only white men. It became a part of their religion. That is why they lure white men to Kaji—and frighten away the blacks. They range in color all the way from brown to white.
Gonfala is a blond. Apparently there is not a trace of Negro blood in her veins. They believe that the color of the skin is inherited from the father. I have never seen them fight; but from what I heard I imagine they are mighty ferocious.
You see, we walked right into their country like long-lost friends, for we didn't want to fight 'em. All two of us wanted was their diamond, Bob van Eyk wanted adventure, and I wanted material for another book.
If we could make friends, so much the better. Bob has had adventure and I have material for a book, though much good it will ever do me. Spike and Troll haven't the diamond, but they each have seven Kaji wives—all properly married, too, by Gonfala in the presence of the great diamond.
The women make offerings to Gonfala, and the ones who make the most valuable offerings get the husbands. She seemed to take a liking to Bob and me, and I sure took a liking to her. In fact, I fell in love with her, and even after I guessed the truth I didn't care. You know how people are. Seeing so much of her and being near her broke down my revulsion for her cruelties; so that I was always mentally making excuses for her. And all the time I kept on loving her more and more, until finally I told her.
I didn't know whether she was sore or not. If you knew what a big shot the queen of the Kaji is, you'd realize how presumptuous I was in declaring my love. She's more than a queen; she's a sort of deity that they worship—all mixed up with their worship of the diamond. So that is what it is! I should have you killed; that is the penalty for daring to aspire to the love of Gonfala.
She may not love; she may never marry. Do you not understand that I am a goddess as well as a queen? There was a new expression in her eyes; it was not anger; it was fear. I had voiced a suspicion that I had had for some time, and I had hit the nail on the head—Gonfala was in love with me.
She hadn't realized it herself until that very moment—she hadn't known what was the matter with her. But, now she did, and she was afraid. And what she was afraid of was that Mafka would know because of his uncanny powers of magic.
To her it seemed the only way to insure our safety; to me it presented an opportunity to effect the rescue of my friends with the possibility of persuading Gonfala to come away with me if I were successful.
The rest you know.
Warren William : magnificent scoundrel of pre-code Hollywood / John Stangeland - Details - Trove
How much he could believe of it, he did not know; for he did not know the man, and he had learned to suspect that every civilized man was a liar and a cheat until he had proved himself otherwise. Yet he was favorably impressed by the man's personality, and he had something of the wild beast's instinctive knowledge of basic character—if it may be called that.
Perhaps it is more an intuitive feeling of trust for some and distrust of others. That it is not infallible, Tarzan well knew; so he was cautious, always. And in that again the beast showed in him. Wood scratched his head in perplexity. I am confident that Mafka found out that I had escaped and that it was his magic that followed and brought me down. Perhaps Gonfala told him. She is a Jekyll and Hyde sort of person. In one personality she is all sweetness and tenderness, in another she is a fiend.
These are the manifestations of Mafka. We are in his power. Where he wills us to go, we'll go; and you can lay to that. I have identified them all either through my ears or my nose. There is nothing to fear. There was no bravado in his tone, but absolute assurance. It impressed the American.
The other shot a quick glance at him, appraising. He saw that the man spoke without knowledge of his identity, and he was satisfied. His mission required that he remain unknown, if possible. Otherwise, he might never gain the information he sought. He had felt safe from recognition, for he was unknown in this district. I have seen so many unbelievable things since I came into this country that not even the sight of an evidently highly civilized man wandering almost naked and alone in a wilderness surprised me as much as it otherwise might have.
Of course, I don't want to pry into your affairs, but naturally my curiosity is aroused. I wonder who you are and what you are doing here. His eyes registered suspicion and a shadow of fear. Are you one of his—his creatures? You will have to find out for yourself, and in the meantime you will have to trust me or distrust me as seems wisest to you. At least you don't know any more about me than I do about you.
I may have been giving you a cock-and-bull story. I admit it must sound fishy. But at least I told you my name. You haven't told me that much about yourself yet.
Review: Warren William Magnificent Scoundrel of Pre-Code Hollywood by John Stangeland
I don't know what to call you. You'll get a story there—a story that you must never write. You'll have to give me your word as to that.
My only alternative is to leave you here. You will have to decide. Don't you hear it? Can't you feel it? You must be deaf. Tomorrow you will not hear things. I almost see it.
There, among those trees—just a shadow of something that has no substance. The presence of this quiet stranger gave him a feeling of security despite his conviction that something weird and horrible hovered there in the darkness—watching, always watching. With the dismal keening still ringing in his ears, he fell asleep. For a long time Tarzan sat in thought. He heard nothing other than the usual night noises of the wilderness, yet he was sufficiently conversant with the mystery and the magic of black Africa to realize that Wood had heard something that he could not hear.
The American was intelligent, sane, experienced. He did not seem the type to be carried away by imaginings or hysteria. It was just possible that he was under the spell of hypnotic suggestion—that Mafka could project his powers to great distances. This was rather borne out by the evidence that Tarzan had had presented to him within the past few hours: Mafka's was indeed a sinister power, but it was a power that the ape-man did not fear.
All too often had he been the object of the malign necromancy of potent witch-doctors to fear their magic. Like the beasts of the jungle, he was immune.
For what reason he did not know. Perhaps it was because he was without fear; perhaps his psychology was more that of the beast than of man. Dismissing the matter from his mind, he stretched and fell asleep. The sun was half a hand-breadth above the horizon when Wood awoke. The strange white man had disappeared. Wood was not greatly surprised.
There was no reason why this stranger should wait and be burdened by a man he did not know, but he felt that he might at least have waited until he was awake before deserting him and leaving him prey for the first lion or leopard that might chance to pick up his scent. And then there was Mafka. The thought aroused questions in the mind of the American. Might not this fellow who called himself Clayton be a tool of the magician of the Kaji?
The very fact that he denied that he had heard any strange sounds or sensed any unusual presence lent color to this suspicion. He must have heard; he must have sensed. Then why did he deny it? But perhaps he was not Mafka's spy.
Perhaps he had fallen a victim to the sorcery of the old Devil. How easy it would have been for Mafka to lure him away. Everything seemed easy for Mafka.
He could have lured him away to captivity or destruction, leaving Wood to die as Mafka intended—alone by starvation. Wood had never seen Mafka. To him he should have been no more than a name; yet he was very real.
The man even conjured an image of him that was as real and tangible as flesh and blood. He saw him as a very old and hideous black man, bent and wrinkled. He had filed, yellow teeth, and his eyes were close-set and blood- shot.
A noise in the trees! The thing was coming again! Wood was a brave man, but things like these can get on the nerves of the bravest. It is one thing to face a known danger, another to be constantly haunted by an unseen thing—a horrible, invisible menace that one can't grapple with. The American leaped to his feet, facing the direction of the rustling among the foliage.
Across one shoulder he carried the carcass of a small buck. He looked quickly about. That would take an ordinary man hours—stalk an antelope and get close enough to kill it with an arrow. Say, that bird Tarzan has nothing on you. How did you ever come to live this way, Clayton? How did you learn to do these things? I never heard them called that before, and I am a little bit familiar with a number of native dialects.
There was something mysterious about him, and that in his mien and his manner of speech that discouraged inquisitiveness. Wood wondered if the man were not a little mad. He had heard of white men going primitive, living solitary lives like wild animals; and they were always a little bit demented.
Yet his companion seemed sane enough. No, it was not that; yet undeniably the man was different from other men. He reminded Wood of a lion. Yes, that was it—he was the personification of the strength and majesty and the ferocity of the lion. It was controlled ferocity; but it was there—Wood felt it. And that, perhaps, was why he was a little afraid of him. He followed in silence behind the bronzed white savage back up the valley of the Neubari, and as they drew closer to the country of the Kaji he felt the power of Mafka increasing, drawing him back into the coils of intrigue and sorcery that made life hideous in the land of the women who would be white.
He wondered if Clayton felt it too. They came at length to the junction of the Mafa and the Neubari. It was here, where the smaller stream emptied into the larger, that the trail to the Kaji country followed up the gorge of the Mafa. It was here that they would have to turn up the Mafa. Tarzan was a few yards in advance of Wood.
The latter watched him intently as he came to the well-marked forking of the trail to the right leading to the crossing of the Neubari and up the Mafa. Here, regardless of his previous intentions, he would have to turn toward Kaji. The power of Mafka would bend his will to that of the malign magician; but Tarzan did not turn—he continued upon his way, unperturbed, up the Neubari.
Could it be that Mafka was ignorant of their coming? Wood felt a sudden sense of elation. If one of them could pass, they could both pass. There was an excellent chance that they might elude Mafka entirely. If he could only get by—if he could get away somewhere and organize a large expedition, he might return and rescue Van Eyk, Spike, and Troll. But could he get by? He thought of the invisible presence that seemed to have him under constant surveillance.
Had that been only the fruit of an overwrought imagination, as Clayton had suggested? He came then to the forking of the trails. He focused all his power of will upon his determination to follow Clayton up the Neubari—and his feet turned to the right toward the crossing that led up the Mafa. He called to Clayton, a note of hopelessness in his voice.
You go on—if you can. I tried to pass this damnable trail, but I couldn't. My feet just followed it. They're afraid someone will kill him, and so is he. He's pretty well guarded all the time. If one of us could have killed him, most of the Kaji's power would be gone. We'd all have had a chance to escape. There are about fifty white prisoners there. Some of them have been there a long time.
We could have fought our way out, if it hadn't been for Mafka; and some of us would have come through alive. He moved on toward the North with an easy grace that belied the weight of the burden across his shoulder.
He went in silence, his mind occupied by the strange story that the American had told him. How much of it he might believe, he did not know; but he was inclined to credit the American with believing it, thus admitting his own belief in the mysterious force that enslaved the other mentally as well as physically; for the man seemed straightforward and honest, impressing Tarzan with his dependability. There was one phase of the story that seemed to lack any confirmation—the vaunted fighting ability of the Amazonian Kaji.
Wood admitted that he had never seen them fight and that they captured their prisoners by the wiles of Mafka's malign power. How, then, did he know that they were such redoubtable warriors? He put the question to the American. Whom did they fight? They are called Zuli. Once the Kaji and the Zuli were one tribe with two medicine-men, or witch-doctors, or whatever you might call them. One was Mafka, the other was a chap called Woora. Members of the tribe took sides, and there was a battle.
During the fracas, Woora swiped one of the holy fetishes and beat it, telling some of his followers where he was going and to join him when the fight was over. You see, like the people who cause civilized wars, he was not taking part in it personally. United, their power is supreme; but separated, that of each is greatly reduced. So the Kaji and the Zuli are often battling, each seeking to obtain possession of the fetish of the other. Some of the yarns I've heard were sure tall; but the scars of old wounds on most of them sort of bear them out, as do the grisly trophies that hang from the outer walls of Gonfala's palace—the shriveled heads of women, suspended by their long hair.
It glistens like an emerald; but, holy cats! Think of an emerald weighing six thousand carats! That would be something worth battling for, and they don't know the value of it.
The Kaji probably know little of luxuries; but, from what you have told me, power is everything to them; and they believe that this other fetish would give them unlimited power, just as you think that twenty million dollars would give you happiness. This was the longest speech that his strange companion had vouchsafed. It suggested a philosophy of life that might make an uninhabited wilderness preferable to contacts of civilization in the eyes of this man.
For an hour Tarzan carried the American; then he lowered him to his feet. In his eyes and the strained expression of his face was reflected the stupendous effort of his will.
With a groan of anguish he turned and started briskly toward the South. The ape-man wheeled and hastened after him. Wood glanced back and broke into a run. For an instant Tarzan hesitated. The fellow meant nothing to him; he was a burden. Why not let him go and be relieved of him? Then he recalled the terror in the man's face and realized, also, the challenge that Mafka was hurling at the Lord of the Jungle.
Perhaps it was the latter that motivated him more strongly than aught else when he started in pursuit of the fleeing American. Mafka's power might be unquestionably great, but it could not lend sufficient speed to the feet of Stanley Wood to permit him to outdistance the ape-man. In a few moments Tarzan overhauled and seized him. Wood struggled weakly to escape at the same time that he was thanking Tarzan for saving him.
The ape-man conceded admiration to the cunning and the power that had stolen the man from him, for he had taken particular pains to circumvent just such a possibility.
Review: Warren William Magnificent Scoundrel of Pre-Code Hollywood by John Stangeland
When they had lain down to sleep, Tarzan had fastened one end of his grass rope securely to an ankle of the man he had taken under his protection and the other end to one of his own wrists; but that upon which he had depended most was his own preternatural keenness of sense which ordinarily functioned only a little less actively when he slept than when he was awake.
That Wood had been able to free himself and escape could have been due to no powers of his own; but must have been attributable solely to the supernatural machinations of Mafka, constituting in the eyes of the ape-man a direct challenge to his own prowess.
Perhaps this motivated him in part, but it was also a desire to save the young American from an unknown fate that prompted him to turn back in pursuit. He did not follow the back trail to the Mafa River, but struck out in a south-easterly direction into the mountainous country that forms an almost impregnable protection for the stronghold of the Kaji.
Deep gorges and precipitous cliffs retarded the progress of the ape-man; so that it was over three days before he reached his objective: He had foreseen that Mafka might expect him to follow Wood, which would offer the magician an opportunity to have Tarzan waylaid and destroyed at some point upon the trail where he would be helpless against the onslaught of a well-placed detachment of Kaji warrior-women; and so he had elected to come upon Kaji from an unexpected direction and depend upon his animal cunning and his great strength and agility to carry him into the very presence of the malign power the destruction of which appeared to be the only means whereby Wood and his companions might be set at liberty permanently.
But above all, his success depended upon the verity of his conviction that he was immune to the supernatural powers of Mafka; though upon this point there was one thing that troubled him; it seemed to him that Mafka must have known of his befriending of Wood. The very fact that he had taken Wood from him suggested that. Yet this might have been accomplished by means of spies, which the American had specifically stated were employed by the Kaji. There was also the possibility that Mafka's power over his victims was so great that he could read their minds even at great distances and thus see through their eyes the things that they saw; so that while Tarzan had been in the company of the American, Mafka had been as well aware of him and his activities as though he had been present in person; but when Wood was no longer with him, the magician could not exercise his telepathic surveillance over him.
This was the premise upon which the ape-man based his strategy. It was late in the afternoon of the third day after Wood's disappearance that Tarzan paused upon a lofty mountain ridge and surveyed the country about him. In a canyon below and to the south of him raced a turbulent mountain stream. With his eyes he followed its meanderings toward the west where, in the dim and hazy distance, he saw a cleft in the serried range that he knew must be the gorge of the Mafa leading down to its confluence with the Neubari.
He stood, then, near the headwaters of the former stream between the countries of the Kaji and the Zuli. A west wind blew gently from the lower country toward the summit of the range, carrying to the nostrils of the ape-man evidence of things unseen—of Tongani the baboon, Sheeta the leopard, of the red wolf, and the buffalo; but of the east he had no knowledge except that which his eyes and his ears furnished; and so, facing the west, he was unaware of the eyes that watched him from behind the summit of the ridge above him, eyes that disappeared when the ape-man turned in their direction.
There were a dozen pairs of them, and their owners formed a motley crew of unkempt, savage warriors. Of them, seven were bearded white men and five were blacks. All were similarly garbed in well worn loin-cloths of the skins of wild beasts. They carried bows and arrows and short, heavy spears; and all the blacks and some of the whites wore barbaric ornaments—necklaces of the teeth of animals and armlets and anklets.
Upon their backs were small shields of the hide of the buffalo. They watched Tarzan as he descended into the gorge of the Mafa and slaked his thirst. They saw him take a piece of meat from his quiver and eat, and every move that he made they watched. Sometimes they spoke together in low whispers that could not carry against the wind to the ears of the ape-man.
One, who seemed to be the leader, spoke most often. He was a white man whose brown hair had grayed at the temples and whose beard was streaked with grey. He was well built, with the hard leanness of the athlete. His forehead and his eyes denoted intelligence.
His companions called him Lord. For three days he had scaled cliffs and crags, descended into abysses, and clambered to lofty summits; and the previous night his rest had been broken by hunting leopards that had caught his scent and stalked him. He had killed one that had attacked him; but others had kept him constantly on the alert, precluding the possibility of continued rest.
The sun was still an hour high when he lay down to sleep behind a bush on the slope above the Mafa. That he was dog-tired must account for that which followed, for ordinarily nothing could have approached without arousing him. When he did awaken, it was still daylight; and a dozen warriors formed a close circle about him, the points of their spears directed at his unprotected body. He looked up into the savage, unfriendly eyes of a black man; then he glanced quickly around the circle and noted the composition of the group.
He did not speak. He saw that he was outnumbered and a captive. Under the circumstances there was nothing that he could say that would serve him any purpose. His silence and his composure set his captors aback. They had expected him to show fear and excitement.
He just lay there and appraised them through steady, grey eyes. He was interested less in what the man said than in the language in which he said it.The Magnificent Scoundrels 情聖 (1991)
The fellow appeared definitely Anglo-Saxon, yet he spoke a bastard tongue the base of which was Galla but so intermixed with other tongues that it would have been unintelligible to one less versed in African dialect and European languages than Tarzan.
In his brief speech, that could be translated into six English words, he had used as many tongues. Lord shifted his weight from one foot to the other. Tarzan arose and stretched with the easy indifference of a lion in its own lair. Here was an Englishman. There might be some reason to speak now—to ask questions. He knew that they followed a well worn trail that often dropped precipitously down the side of a rocky gorge until it reached a gentler descent and wound tortuously as though following the meanderings of the stream that splashed or purled or gurgled at their right.
It was very dark in the gorge; but at length they came out into open, level country; and there it was lighter; though still no landmarks were visible to give the ape-man a suggestion of the terrain of this unfamiliar land. Warren with his wife, the former Helen Barbara Nelson, in a photo.
Stangeland sketches out these early days so well that he has basically written the last word on them. Warren William is currently in the process of having his career interpreted, narrowed and defined largely by those four years. He is being boxed and packaged as the quintessential mountebank and cad. Although that is his indisputable metier, the reality is that he was a well-schooled, versatile performer who tackled almost any genre with charm and elan.
During his twenty years in Hollywood he breezed through comedies, prowled detective stories and rode through westerns with equal conviction to his iconic shysters and businessmen swine.
And, contrary to his modern image as the alpha male without a conscience, he just as often appeared as the second lead in productions built around strong women. His writing flows like this throughout, Stangeland is never lazy with his text and excels at breaking off into conversations about relevant history such as quick lessons on the life of Ivar Kreuger or a note about Thomas Armat. These years, post-war until marriage, may be some of the most fascinating years in the life of the man we know as Warren William, as he comes into his own in both his professional and private lives.
Not coincidentally they are also some of the toughest years to dig up information about and Stangeland tells the story in a way that makes you feel you missed nothing. Then we reach what we remember Warren William for—the films. Here … is a man of deformed principles; a man who knows the right thing and chooses to do the wrong thing, in a sense punishing himself for the mistake of caring He is snappy, funny, wry and energetic, and he cements his uncanny ability to make even the basest liar and cheat likeable Of the finale of Skyscraper Souls: It is so deliciously cynical that even the acrid taste of an arbitrary and pyretic happy ending is scarcely enough to erase invigorating enjoyment of the sinfully rich meal just consumed He begins as a seedy, insignificant little man, not much more than a cheap hustler, and plays it with a subtle body language that testifies to the tawdriness of his character.
And I could go on. The success of these films notwithstanding and the prestige which they paint over his career, both then and now, in the end these hits on loan-out led to him being bamboozled by his home studio, Warner Brothers, into some career damaging roles, most notably his two appearances in support of Kay Francis in Dr.
Monica and Living on Velvet, where he plays a distant second fiddle to Miss Francis and even George Brent in the latter. Warner Brothers had a much more obstinate William to deal with after this blow, one who the indignities of films such as Smarty, Times Square Playboy and Satan Met a Lady, led to William and his agent buying out of their contract a year early just to escape any further torture.
Hopes of A-list stardom were gone, plus his paycheck had shrunk at the most prestigious studio. A life and career colored by a vast amount of good fortune and lucky breaks took a bad roll of the dice here and while the real Warren William seems to have had a happy enough existence going forward, from this point of his life it feels like all he gets are bad breaks. A final word on Captain Blood from a personal perspective. I can never picture the two together though. I think far from launching William to A-list superstardom what would have more likely occurred is that Captain Blood would be a largely forgotten picture.
In other words I think Captain Blood would be as well remembered as Captain Fury, a good actioner but remembered only by hardcore classic film fans. Not an all-time classic like the Errol Flynn picture.