Song at Midnight

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Song at Midnight
The Cinema Epoch edition DVD of Song at Midnight
Directed by Ma-Xu Weibang
Produced by Zhang Shankun
Written by Ma-Xu Weibang
Starring Jin Shan
Gu Menghe
Zhou Wenzhu
Hu Ping
Cinematography Yu Xingsan
Xue Boqing
Release date
  • 1937 (1937)
Running time
113 minutes
Country China
Language Mandarin

Song at Midnight (simplified Chinese: 夜半歌声; traditional Chinese: 夜半歌聲; pinyin: Yè bàn gē shēng) (also known as Midnight Song, Singing at Midnight or literally Voice of Midnight) is a 1937 film directed by Ma-Xu Weibang. Often referred to as the first Chinese horror film, Song at Midnight is a remake/adaptation of Gaston Leroux's Phantom of the Opera, though the film injects a significant political subplot involving the leftist revolutionary movement to the original story.

The film stars Gu Menghe, Zhou Wenzhu, and Jin Shan as the disfigured anti-hero Song Danping. Ma-Xu made one sequel to Song at Midnight in 1941 during the war. Both films resurfaced in the West at the Udine Far East Film Festival in 1998.[1] Since then, the film has been shown at various film festivals around the world, notably at the 62nd Venice International Film Festival's "Secret History of Chinese Cinema" retrospective.


Today the film is well regarded, and was named as one of the best 100 Chinese films by both the Hong Kong Film Awards in 2005, and by Asia Weekly in 1999.[2]

Song at Midnight has also been remade four times. The first remake, translated as The Mid-Nightmare is a two-parter by Hong Kong director, Yuan Qiuxia, released in 1962 (part I) and 1963 (part II). It stars Betty Loh Ti and Lao Zhei. The second remake, also called Song of Midnight, was made in 1985.[3] A third remake directed by Ronny Yu was released in 1995, under of the title of The Phantom Lover. Pop singer Leslie Cheung played the lead role of Song Danping. The film was remade for the fourth and final time in 2005 as a television series.[4]


  • Gu Menghe
  • Hu Ping
  • Jin Shan
  • Yee Chau-shui
  • Zhou Wenzhu

DVD release[edit]

As part of their Chinese film retrospective, Cinema Epoch released Song at Midnight on Region 0 DVD on May 8, 2007. The DVD includes subtitles in English.

An earlier DVD edition by the Guangzhou Beauty Culture Communication Co. Ltd was released on December 1, 2006 in the United States.


  1. ^ Robinson, David (Winter 1999–2000), "Return of the Phantom", Film Quarterly, 53 (2): 43, doi:10.2307/1213720
  2. ^ "100 Greatest Chinese Films of the 20th Century". Asia Weekly Magazine. 1999-12-19. Retrieved 2007-05-10.
  3. ^ Page 133 of Remaking Chinese Cinema: Through the Prism of Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Hollywood (2013) By Yiman Wang
  4. ^ Page 133 of Remaking Chinese Cinema: Through the Prism of Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Hollywood (2013) By Yiman Wang

External links[edit]