In a dystopian future, a totalitarian regime maintains peace by subduing the populace with a drug, and displays of emotion are punishable by death. A man in charge of enforcing the law rises to overthrow the system.
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Gangsters abound in this lively, romantic crime drama that is set in Shanghai during WW II. The tale of Taiwanese patriot Hsu Wen-Chiang begins as he is washed up on a beach near Shanghai. He is taken in by Ting Lik, a kindly beggar who is desperately in love with Feng Ching-Ching, the daughter of a prominent gangster. It isn’t long before Ting Lik successfully rises through the underworld ranks to become one of the city’s most powerful gangsters. Hsu is beside him all the way and uses his own power to get revenge against those who tried to have him killed much earlier. The film’s later focus is on the exploits of Feng who long ago had a relationship with Hsu when he was on the lam in northern China. Back in the present, Hsu and Feng meet again by chance and they resume their affair until Hsu learns that Feng’s father is one of his enemies and kills him. Poor Feng goes mad with grief. Ting finds out and swears revenge upon Hsu.
A small Yorkshire mining town is threatened with being shut down and the only hope is for the men to enter their Grimley Colliery Brass Band into a national competition. They believe they have no hope until Gloria appears carrying her Flugelhorn. At first mocked for being a woman, she soon becomes the only chance for the band to win.