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Tang Xiaodan

Other names : Tong Hiu Daan
Nationality : China
Workplace : China, Hong Kong
Activities : Director (19), Writer (5), Actor (2)


Tang Xiaodan was a Chinese filmmaker who worked for a time in Hong Kong in the 30s/early 40s, notably for the Shaw brothers.

Born in 1910 in the southern province of Fu-kien, Tang Xiaodan is initially both a caricaturist and a graphic arts teacher. He develops excellent contacts in both the newspaper media and the film industry, which leads him in 1931 to join as an art designer the Shanghai based Unique studio the first studio establish by the Shaw brothers. In 1932 he works on the first Cantonese talkie ever Platinum Dragon, at first as set designer. Initially Unique's own studio boss, Runje Shaw, planned to direct the film himself, but as he suddenly fell sick, he assigns the job to the 22 years old Tang Xiaodan instead. As the movie turns out to be a huge box-office hit, Tang's unexpected directorial debut launches him into a filmmaking career that would span over five decades.

Afterwards, Tang directs two other films for Unique in Shanghai. In 1934, Runje moves his base of operations to Hong Kong and invites the young director to join him. For Tang this is the beginning of a 6-year-long stay in the British colony during which he directs many films not only for Unique (which becomes the Nanyang Film ltd in 1937), but also for Shanghai Yihua company as well as the Grandview. The Sino-Japanese war starts in 1937 and Tang begins making a string of anti-Japanese propaganda films for the Nanyue company including Heroes of the Time, Shanghai Under fire, Little Guangdong and Roar of the People.

On Christmas 1941, Hong-Kong is invaded and conquered by the Japanese army. The new occupiers pressure Tang to make a propaganda film for them but he chooses to promply flee under an assumed name. Thus ends Tang's Hong-Kong period. Eventually Tang gets to Chongqin, the Chinese gouverment war-time capital. He goes back to Shanghai after the war and resumes his directing activities in 1947. Unlike many of his film colleagues, he doesn't go into exile when the Communists win the civil war and seize power in 1949. He continues his career in Shanghai where between 1949 and 1964 he directs ten films. After a decade long hiatus, brought about by the Cultural Revolution, he start his filmmaking career again. Following his retirement, he writes his memoirs: Libian Shi Ling (« Tidbits from the roadside; The memoirs of Tang Xiaodan »).

Written by Yves Gendron (April 2007).
Source : The Shaw Screen, a Preliminary Study

 [ 1990 - 1950 - 1940 - 1930 ] 
 Alternate lists by alpha / genre / year
Title    ( HK -  All )  Year Activity
 Snowy Wilderness 1994 Director
 Fighting North And South 1952 Director
 Sheung Ngo Dashing To The Moon 1947 Director
 Spring Dream Of Heaven 1947 Director
 Boudoir Blues 1941 Director
 Love In Another Life 1941 Director
 Roar Of The People 1941 Director
 Little Guangdong 1940 Director, Writer
 Destroy The Corpses ! 1939 Director, Writer
 Root Of All Evil, The 1938 Director
 Shanghai Under Fire 1938 Writer
 Stage Lights 1938 Director
 Twelve Wives (Part Two), The 1938 Director
 Hero Of The Times 1937 Director
 Twelve Wives, The 1937 Director
 Loverboy (part 2) 1936 Director, Writer, Actor
 Perfect Match, The 1936 Director
 Bumbling Father-In-Law, The 1935 Director
 Loverboy (Part 1) 1935 Director, Writer, Actor
 Unworthy Of Love 1935 Director

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