Although this successful production is not particularly noteworthy either for its plot or its moralistic message (that a husband and wife should believe in and be tolerant of each other), it is notable in its casting, specifically the number of Mingxing studio stars - both current and emerging - who appeared in relatively small roles. These included such marquee names as Wang Hanlun, star of the 1923 smash hit that actually rescued the then struggling studio from fiscal collapse, as well as Li Minghui and Xuan Jinglin, who usually acted the female leads in their films. Although the surviving documentation does not specify what roles these performers played, since several of the film's scenes were set in a dance hall, they may have been dance hall employees or patrons. The practice of casting stars in bit parts or as extras has been done since, in both China (e.g.《The Founding of a Republic》 and in the West (e.g.《Around the World in Eighty Days》), but I find it often distracts from following the story ("Isn't that Vicki Zhao? ... Was that Frank Sinatra? ... What just happened?")]
Xinren de Jiating (1926) 新人的家庭 (Suspicious Couple)
literal English title: The Newlyweds' Family
Mingxing. Silent. 11 reels. Premiered January 4, 1926 at the Carlton Theater in Shanghai. Direction: Ren Jinpin. Consultant: Chen Shouyin. Screenplay: Gu Kenfu. Cinematography: Bu Wancang. Sets: Dong Tianya. Titles: Bao Tianxiao. Art: Maxu Weibang. Cast: Zhang Zhiyun (Du Wenbo), Yang Naimei (Miss Lu), Wang Yuanlong (Liu Chilong), Zheng Xiaoqiu (Minsheng), Xu Sue (Zhao Xilan), Zhang Huichong (chief of detectives), Wang Sutong (Du Wenjing), Wang Xianzhai (Zhang Bohua), Wang Jiting (Qi Yiqing). Also: Zhang Meilie, Wang Hanlun, Fu Wenhao, Li Minghui, Xuan Jinglin, Zhao Jingxia, Wang Suyun, Fu Lühen, Huang Yunzhen, Wang Fuqing, Ren Chaojun, Huang Junfu, Zhao Chen, Tang Jie, Shao Zhuanglin, Wen Shaoru.
[Dance partners now, but illicit lovers soon: Yang Naimei, left, and Wang Yuanlong]
Young bank manager Liu Chilong would appear to have it all: appointed to a responsible position while still relatively young, he is considered a rising star in his city's financial community. In addition, he and his wife Du Wenbo are a loving couple blessed with a small son they name Minsheng. But one day the couple argue over some trifling matter, and Chilong suspects his wife no longer appreciates him. He decides he needs new recreation so takes up dancing. His wife, stuck at home with a child, begins to suspect his new pastime is just a means of getting away from her. On one of his evenings out, he meets Miss Lu, a well-known socialite. Miss Lu is a frequent hostess of dance parties, and when she invites Chilong he readily accepts, hoping to widen his circle of acquaintances. But Miss Lu is actually an ambitious golddigger who has targeted Chilong, seeing the banker as her route to making profitable contacts in financial circles. Her lover Zhang Bohua has another idea, however, and together they hatch a plot to get the young banker's money as well by luring him into an affair with Miss Lu. Chilong quickly succumbs to her charms, but his lack of discretion leads to his wife Wenbo learning of the extramarital relationship. She sues for divorce, and when the plotters realize that Wenbo may now get the bulk of her husband's resources, leaving them with nothing, they go a step further and arrange for some thugs to kidnap Chilong and Wenbo's son. Through excellent detective work, the child is rescued, and the kidnappers implicate the plotters. Miss Lu and Zhang Bohua are arrested. The next day, Chilong goes to see his son, and when he meets with Wenbo, the two talk things over and agree to reconcile.