Mr. Loke Wan Tho
(1915 - 1964)
Loke Wan Tho’s Cathay Organization operated over 60 cinemas in Malaysia in the 1950s. In 1955, Loke took over the heavily indebted Yung Hwa Studio, re-organised it into Motion Picture & General Investment Company (MP & GI) and started film production to supply movies for the Cathay cinemas in Singapore and Malaysia. Loke emulated the management style of Hollywood studios, and became the biggest competitor of Shaw Bros. MP & GI enlisted up-and-coming writers & directors like Eileen Chang, Chun Yik-foo, Chang Cheh, Wong Tin-lam, Evan Yang, and set up training classes to groom a stellar cast comprising of Lucilla You Min, Kelly Lai Chen, Grace Chang and Jeanette Lin Tsui, etc. Loke and his managers brought in a modern westernized style into the corporate culture. MP & GI make fashionable light comedies like “The Battle of Love”(1957) and “Our Sister Hedy” (1957); musical films like “Mambo Girl” (1957) and “Calendar Girl” (1959); melodramas like “Her Tender Heart” (1959) and “For Better, For Worse” (1959) that suited the taste of the middle class. In 1964, Loke and other managers of MP & PI went to Taiwan to attend the Asian Film Festival and were unfortunately killed in a plane crash. With Loke's death, MP & GI went into decline. Hong Kong's cinematic landscape was never the same again.