Malaya Black & White | Paper Tiger




Made during the peak of the 1970s ‘adventure movie’ boom, where motley groupings of ageing Hollywood stars got rugged with machine guns in semi-forgettable films, often shot in exotic locales. Here, the backdrop is Malaysia, fictionalised as ‘Kulagong’, and the stars are David Niven and Toshiro Mifune, in a story about an ex-soldier turned child’s tutor who’s forced by circumstance to prove whether he is the man he claims to be. The director, Ken Annakin, was returning to Malaysia as a setting two decades after he made the Malayan Emergency melodrama, The Planter’s Wife, and the film’s soundtrack is by jazz piano supremo Roy Budd.

This screening is part of the 'Beyond Saint Jack' segment under the NUS Museum's Malaya Black & White film series.

About ‘Beyond Saint Jack’ - The strange cinematic visitors of Singapore and Malaya
Singapore/Malaya’s heyday of foreign production from the mid 1960s to the early 1980s led to a motley filmography of B-movies, commercial disasters, miscellaneous TV episodes, lost films and bizarre curios. While they resist canonisation, these films are a fascinating portal into how the region was perceived by the rest of the world both before and after the end of the colonial era; and the eagerness for Singapore and Malaysia to be represented and acknowledged by the West. A recurring motif of their narratives is the Western visitor in Singapore. This season of 10 films showcases the predecessors and descendants of Saint Jack (1979): old hands, good men, legal aliens, rugged individualists, ex-soldiers, detectives, has-beens and rock stars. Characters who have found themselves ensnared in traps beyond their control, stumbled across exotic, bewildering cultures, or entered zones of erotic possibility.

Beyond Saint Jack is guest-curated by author and critic Ben Slater, who will be present to introduce and discuss each film.

About Ben Slater

Ben Slater is the author of Kinda Hot: The Making of Saint Jack in Singapore (2006), a major contributor to World Film Locations: Singapore(2014) and the editor of 25: Histories and Memories of the Singapore International Film Festival (2014). He’s also the co-screenwriter of the feature film Camera (2014) and a Lecturer at the School of Art, Media and Design, Nanyang Technological University.

To find out more about the Malaya Black & White project, please go to


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