The Land of the Many Perfumes (1968)
Director: Ho Meng-Hua
Tagline: Ladies! Here comes Pigsy!
It’s with some sadness that we come to the end of the Shaw Brothers Journey to the West series, as although there are many other adaptations of the story, I was really enjoying this one, particularly with Peng Peng playing the role of Pigsy who lets it all hang out.
The story is a bit complicated, but it involves some nasty women demons setting up the priest and pilgrims so they will be trapped in the Land of Many Perfumes where only women are born.
I really enjoyed the first scenes where the pilgrims arrived and the Benny Hill-like chase scene where Pigsy plays a trick on Monkey and Sandy, only to have to run away himself as there were too many women for even him to deal with.
There is a lot of to-ing and fro-ing in the story with Monkey having to defend his own kingdom from a fairy (the tough Chinese type, not the sissy version!), palace plots and multiple copies of the priest running around.
Lots of good fight scenes abound when Monkey fights the demons with some weird back-projection of a giant kitten fighting with a ferret in one scene.
Most of the scenes are shot on sets this time around, but there is plenty to look at and the palace sets are interesting as well as the demon’s cave.
Pigsy does get to sing in one scene, which was funny and also the Chinese opera influence can be heard from the cymbals used in the fight scenes. Monkey also has some tricks up his sleeve in this movie, but it’s more fun if you find out yourself what they are.
This is my favourite in the series apart from The Monkey Goes West and I would recommend the series to people who have seen the Monkey TV series. You will have to do the voices yourself this time though.