Original film title in Malay: Masharakat Pinchang
Literal English translation of film title: Crippled Society
Directed by Phani Majumdar
Written by B. H. Chua (Chua Boon Hean 蔡文玄) (story)
Starring: Tony Castillo, Rosnani, Neng Yatimah, Junainah
Produced by Malay Film Productions (Shaw Bros.)
Run Run Shaw’s seafront villa (440A, Upper East Coast Road)
As a movie advertisement posted on newspaper Berita Harian (12 May 1958) described, Masharakat Pinchang is in summary a “cherita orang-orang gagah dan ‘Gangster-Gangster’ Singapura” (a story of heroes and Singapore ‘Gangsters’). It was indeed another social-realist drama film directed by Phani Majumdar that was set in then-contemporary Singapore. Based on Chua Boon Hean’s script (presumably his fourth for Shaw Brothers’ Malay films in less than two years), the movie reflected on the prevalence of child delinquency and gangsterism due to social neglect in the partially autonomous city-state of Singapore. It also put a spotlight on the growing chasm in the society between the rich and the poor – pointed out in the film as a cause of social ills. The film starred child actor Tony Castillo (of Anak-ku Sazali fame); he had a dual role in the film, as a destitute orphan adopted by a kind joget dancer, and as a wealthy family’s son who is kidnapped.
1. ‘Mengupaskan keadaan2 masharakat’. Berita Harian. 10 January 1958, p. 7.
2. ‘Kesah kumpulan sulit yg. hebat’. Berita Harian. 24 January 1958, p. 7.
3. ‘Tembelang masharakat di-tunjokkan terang2an’. Berita Harian. 21 March 1958, p. 7.
© 1958 Malay Film Productions
© 2003 Music Valley
© 2014 Toh Hun Ping