Inside the Forbidden City

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Inside The Forbidden City
Inside Forbidden City movie poster.jpg
Hong Kong movie poster
Traditional 宋宮秘史
Simplified 宋宫秘史
Mandarin Sòng Gōng Mì Shǐ
Cantonese Sung3 Gung1 Bei3 Si2
Directed by Kao Li
Produced by Run Run Shaw
Written by Kao Li
Chang Cheh
Starring Ivy Ling
Cheng Miu
Go Bo-shu
Ouyang Sha-fei
Chin Feng
Music by Joseph Koo
Cinematography Tung Shao-Yung
Edited by Chiang Hsing-Lung
Distributed by Shaw Brothers Studio
Release dates
  • 1965 (1965)
Running time
98 minutes
Country Hong Kong
Language Mandarin

Inside The Forbidden City is a 1965 Hong Kong Huangmei opera musical film. Depicted is the famous tale known as "Civet for Crown Prince" which allegedly took place in China's Song Dynasty.


While passing through the town of Caoqiao, the famous Song Dynasty official Bao Zheng is stopped by a villager on behalf of his blind mother. Bao discovers that the blind woman was Consort Li, a concubine of the late Emperor Zhenzong.

Twenty years ago, right after Li gave birth to a son, a jealous rival Consort Liu conspired with eunuch Guo Huai to have the infant swapped with a dead civet. She then ordered her maid Kou Zhu to throw the baby into the river. At the Jinshui Bridge, a hesitant Kou was approached by eunuch Chen Lin. Chen was able to carry the infant to Eighth Imperial Prince, one of Zhenzong's brothers, who raised the baby as one of his own. Eventually the baby became crown prince as Zhenzong had no other sons.

As a result of giving birth to a monster, Li was banished to Yu Chen Palace, while Liu was elevated to the status of Empress. One day, the 10-year-old crown prince wandered to the forbidden palace and met Li. Liu came upon them and became suspicious. She convinced Zhenzong that Li was cursed and needed to be burned to death along with her palace. Kou ran off to warn Li and was interrogated harshly when she returned. After Kou killed herself by slamming into a pillar, Guo and the soldiers went to Yu Chen Palace to carry out the burning order, when they saw a hanged body with Li's clothing. Unbeknownst to them, eunuch Yu Zhong had sacrificed himself, allowing Li to escape.

The crown prince had become Emperor Renzong, and Bao uses the Lantern Festival for an opportunity to tell him the story. Then, Bao tricks Guo to the Kaifeng court but Guo stubbornly refuses to confess. Playing on Guo's fear of the supernatural, Bao invokes the "Ghost of Kou Zhu" to finally get a confession. Liu is ordered to commit suicide while Renzong welcomes his mother back to the palace.


Huangmei opera dubbing[edit]


External links[edit]