What I do not give, you must never take by force'"

Curse of the Golden Flower

I highly recommend this movie , it was a visual feast for the eyes...
the fabrics OMG, the whole ambient sensuality of the palace...ever thing,, even down to the rouge on the eunuchs, was done quite well..the scenery was inspiring and absolute in it's stark grandeur always coated heavily in gold. I really don't care about the inaccuracies, it was great! ,
a good home movie to view on a Friday night:)

The title of the movie is taken from the last line of a Tang dynasty poem attributed to the rebel leader Huang Chao, "On the Chrysanthemum, after failing the Imperial Examination" or simply "Chrysanthemum":

“ At the day of the Double Ninth Festival in autumn/
"my flower [the chrysanthemum] will bloom and all the others die/
The sky-reaching fragrance [of the chrysanthemum] would fill the Chang'an City/
and the city would be clothed in golden armour ”

Due to the film's high profile while it was still in production, its title, which can be literally translated as "The Whole City Wearing Golden Armor", became a colorful metaphor for the spring 2006 sandstorms in Beijing and the term "golden armor" has since become a metaphor for sandstorms among the locals.-Wiki...


The plot is based on Cao Yu's 1934 drama Thunderstorm (pinyin: Lei Yu), but is set in the imperial court of the Later Tang Dynasty in the year 928, which was during the turbulent Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period. Emperor Ping is a man of humble origins and strong ambition, having risen to the throne from the lowly rank of captain. He abandoned his first wife to marry the Princess of Liang, who is now his Empress Phoenix. The Emperor does not love his second wife, and blames her sour mood on illness and has forced her to take medicine of his own concoction every two hours for the past ten years, but she was unknowingly drinking a poisoned medication in the past ten days. She and Crown Prince Wan, the Emperor's son from his previous wife, have engaged in an illicit affair for three years. Wan feels guilty about the affair and maintains a second secret relationship with Jiang Chan, the daughter of the Imperial Doctor. He desires to escape the palace, which he has never left, and see the real world with Chan.

Prince Jai, the middle son and eldest son of the Empress, has been leading the Emperor Ping's army at the kingdom's borders for three years. The palace has prepared a massive welcoming ceremony for the returning prince on the eve of the Chrysanthemum Festival, but the Emperor cancels them at the last moment to meet his son at a nearby inn where Jai has been instructed to wait. There, the Emperor duels his son as an act of dominance, after which he warns Jai never to repeat a previous, unspecified mistake, emphasizing that everything Jai receives comes by the will of the Emperor and attempting to take anything from the Emperor by force is doomed to failure.

When the Emperor returns to the palace, he learns that the Imperial Doctor has served the Empress a special poison along with her medicine for the last ten days, as per his orders. The poison will cause the Empress to lose her mind and die within a month. At a family gathering, the Emperor insists that the Empress finish the medicine that she had left earlier in the day. The Empress refuses until the Emperor forces his sons to beg her to take the medicine. Later on, a masked woman informs the Empress that the medicine does in fact contain poison, as she had come to suspect. The woman begins to leave, but becomes distracted by Wan, who has her seized and brought to the Emperor. The Emperor recognizes her as his first wife, who had escaped imprisonment and execution without his knowledge twenty-five years ago. She is now the wife of the Imperial Doctor and the mother of Chan, who does not know of her mother's past. The Emperor promotes the Doctor to governor to have him removed from the palace. En route to his new appointment, the Doctor stays at the same inn where Prince Jai awaited the Emperor's pleasure and Prince Wan rides out to be with Chan one last time. There, he discovers that the Empress has had her eunuch have embroidered and delivered ten thousand chrysanthemum scarves to General Wu of their own army. Wan immediately gets suspicious and rushes to return to the palace, causing himself to be discovered by Chan's mother, who demands vehemently and without explanation that Wan leave immediately which he does without a word. The Doctor then sits down for a heart-to-heart talk with his wife and Chan takes this opportunity to pursue Prince Wan whom she believes is riding into great danger.

In the meantime, the Empress tells Jai about the poison and asks his help in her plot against the Emperor. Jai hesitates, but eventually vows to help his mother. The Empress continues to feverishly embroider chrysanthemums for the upcoming Chrysanthemum Festival. On his return to the palace, Wan becomes suspicious over the Empress's intentions. Their relationship has already suffered from his guilt and her jealousy over Chan. After she embroiders a chrysanthemum on one of his robes, he demands to know if it is part of a plot. When she acknowledges the plot, he shrieks that the entire country would assume that he was the mastermind and regardless of the plot's outcome, he would be a dead man. The Empress then tells him that that was the plan all along. During a violent struggle, they rip apart the robe and Wan stabs himself, but survives with immediate medical attention of the court physicians. When he is visited by the Emperor, he divulges the Empress' plot to the Emperor.

Before the heart-to-heart talk can begin between the Doctor and his wife, the Emperor's black-clad assassins descend on the inn, armed with sickle-like swords and long ropes attached to grapples to slaughter all the occupants. They kill the Doctor, but red-clad soldiers loyal to the Empress hold them off and allow his wife to escape. She flees to the palace, where the Chrysanthemum Festival is about to begin. She is revealed to the royal family and Chan by the Empress as the Emperor's first wife and Wan's mother. Driven mad by her incestuous love for Wan, Chan flees into the courtyard with her mother in pursuit. The Emperor's assassins kill both women and are killed in turn by the Empress' red-clad guard. Later, a large army of gold-armored soldiers swarms into the palace, killing imperial bodyguards and courtiers as they approach. With Jai taking point, they descend on the palace with Chrysanthemums on their scarves.

In the palace, Yu, the youngest prince, stabs Wan in the back to the surprise of all. He screams that he has witnessed the plotting of his family and concluded that he must take the throne. Backed by several soldiers, he orders his father to abdicate. The Emperor's assassins kill the soldiers and then the Emperor pulverizes Yu with his heavy golden belt. Outside, an even larger army clad in silver fortify the palace with spears, bows, and a massive mobile wall. They slaughter all 10,000 golden soldiers, but spare Jai. He fights a determined, solitary battle against the entire army for some time, killing more than 50, before the teary-eyed Empress nods to him and he submits. Servants clear away the bodies and restore the decorations with mechanical precision. The festival begins as if nothing had happened.

The remaining family sits at the festival table. The Emperor reveals that he knew of the plot against him since Wan had informed him of it, and reminds Jai of his previous warning not to take what has not been given to him, thinking that Jai was making a bid for the throne. With that in mind, he also tells them that he had already decided to replace Wan with Jai as Crown Prince to emphasize the superfluous nature of Jai's act. Jai admits that he knew that his fight was futile, but he did it for his mother, not the throne. In response, the Emperor says that he will spare Jai the penalty for princely rebellion of being ripped apart by five horses if he will personally serve his mother her poisoned medicine from now on. Jai kneels before his mother and apologizes, then kills himself with a sword. Blood splatters the contents of the table as the Emperor bends to take a morsel of food. He pauses without expression. The Empress, truly driven mad now, flings the medicine cup into the center of the table and jumps off the celebration terrace as the movie ends.