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Inside Forbidden City (1965)

Song gong mi shi (original title)
The tale of two imperial concubines vying for the emperor's favor.


Li Kao


Cheh Chang, Li Kao




Cast overview, first billed only:
Ivy Ling Po ... Kou Chu
Feng Chin ... Emperors Sung Chen-Chung and Sung Jen-Chung
Miao Ching ... Judge Pao Cheng-Tien
Sha-Fei Ouyang ... Concubine Li Chen-Fei
Ching Lee ... Concubine Li's Attendant / Ghost of Kou Chu (Guest star)
Pao-Shu Kao ... Concubine Liu / Empress
Yu-Hsin Chen ... Kuo Huai
Wen-Chung Ku ... Chen Lin
Kuang Chao Chiang ... Fan Chung-Hua
Feng Tien ... Minister Tai
Fan Ho ... Prince Ti
Tan Fan ... Pao Hsing
Yi Feng ... Wang Chao
Yunhua Chen ... Empress Ti (Guest star)
Chih-Ching Yang ... Emperor's Brother (Guest star)


The tale of two imperial concubines vying for the emperor's favor.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Musical




Hong Kong



Release Date:

16 October 1965 (Hong Kong) See more »

Also Known As:

Inside Forbidden City See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Shaw Brothers See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Referenced in Goldbuster (2017) See more »

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User Reviews

All Involved Provide Superior Artistic Entertainment.
3 October 2004 | by rsoonsaSee all my reviews

Although achieving fame in the United States for martial arts spectacles, the Shaw Brothers of Hong Kong produced many other, and indeed superior films, such as this Huangmei (traditional folk) opera bedded upon a tale from the Sung Dynasty during the rule of Emperor Jen Tsung (1023/64), showcasing graceful Ivy Ling Po, eloquent in voice and gesture and in full possession of her panoply of performance skills. Shot in splendrous Eastman Color, the work profits from the customary superior production values of the Shaws that intensify an interesting plot and sterling acting, relating a story that has not lost its appeal over centuries, replete with beautiful music, conspiracy and betrayal, along with the vagaries of fate, expertly directed by Kao Li. An intricate plot depicts the feral talents of concubine Madame Liu that are utilized in enabling her to become Empress at drastic expense to rival court favourite (Madame) Li Zhenfei who is dishonoured and exiled while her infant son, claimed by Liu and reared to become future Emperor, is unknowing of his actual mother's existence. Costuming and production design is each startling in beauty and imaginative quality, at the same time largely correct, the songs revealing internal conflicts of the principals, while the cinematography, editing, sound mixing, and makeup and hair styling are in league, supporting the capable direction and nuanced playing that bring forth a fascinating film; the Mandarin original is the one to experience - the subtitles in English are enormously odd.

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