Hong Kong Movies
he chinese movie industry started in the thirties and forties in Shanghai
and Hong Kong. These movies were essentially filmed stage plays featuring
classical chinese stories. The origin of the modern martial art movie
is generally attributed to Hu Peng's production of "The Story
of Huang Fei-Hong Parts One and Two" in 1949. For the first
time, the movie emphases realism in both action and fighting. The sucess
of this movie can also attribute to the use of two real life martial
artists as the leads - Kwan Tak Hing, a Hung Gar expert, played the
Chinese hero while his nemesis is often played by Shih Kien, a noted
Eagle Claw practitioner. This movies were so popular that 96 Huang Fei
Hong movies were made in the next thirty years starring Kwan Tai Hing.
Realistic fighting and martial arts stories with strong Wuxia components
and form the bases of the modern day martial arts movies. Examples of
memorable movvies of this genre include:
- Come Drink with Me (1967) starred the great Cheng Pei-Pei direted
by King Hu. She was only 17 but the movie establised her reputation
as one of the great heroine in Hong Kong cinema.
- The one-armed swordsman (1967) starring Jimmy Wang Yu, directed
by Chang Cheh and produced by the Shaw brothers. The first million
dollar grossing movie in Hong Kong.
- Golden Swallow |(1968) starring Cheng Pei Pei
- The Return of the One Armed Swordsman (1969) a sequel again starring
Jimmy Wang Yu.
- The Chinese Boxer (1970) starring Jimmy Wnag Yu
- The One Armed Boxer (1971) staring Jimmy Wang Yu
- Zatocihi and the One-Armed Swordsman (Japanese title: Zatoichi Meets
his Equal) staring Jimmy Wang Yu.
- Hapkido (1972) also known as Lady Kung Fu starring Angela Mao.
|| One-armed Swordsman (1967)
A sword masters life is saved his servant's self sacrifice. The
swordsman takes in the servants son and trains him. Jealous of the
young boy, the sword master's daughter plots to have him attacked.
During the attack his arm is chopped off. His wounds are attended
to by a women and all is good until a bad kung fu school starts
killing off towns people. After narrowly escaping death at the hand
of the school, the swordsman learns the one armed sword technique
and comes back for revenge.
||Kwan Tak Hing ( Guan Desing,1906-1996)
was born in Kuangjhou and was originally a famous Cantonese opera
singer known by his stage name "Sun Lang-chow". As a well-trained
traditional opera performer, he was good in both the martial arts
such as the bow, the whip, boxing, and folk entertainment, such
as the Lion dance. His first movie was in 1933. He made at least
130 movies, and 102 of them were wusia movies, in which he mostly
played Wong Fei Hung. He also acted in a TV series as Wong. He knew
various types of Chinese martial arts very well, especially the
White Crane Forms.
|| Shih-Kien is probably Hong Cinema's greatest film
villain. He often played opposite the legendary Kwan Tak Hing. Bruce
Lee chose him to play Han in "Enter The Dragon". A trivial note
- the voice of Han was dubbed by Keye Luke, Master Po from TV's
In the 1970's, Hong Kong Movie scene and the martial arts movie genre
is changed by the emergence of a new super star - Bruce Lee.
"Bruce stood tall. Bruce
is martial arts. He made the form work. .. Say 'martial arts'
and the name that pops to mind is Bruce Lee. That makes him one
of the few giants in show business. That's the mark of his influence
and his genius."
Fred Weintraub, Hollyword
Bruce Lee, born November 27, 1940
in San Francisco, CA. He was born into a theatre family, his father,
Lee Hoi Chuen, was a Cantonese Opera Company performer. Lee himself
appeared in his first film when he was only three months old. By the
time he was eighteen, he had appeared in a total of 18 Cantonese-language
Bruce Lee with his teacher
From 1954 - 1959, he studied Wing
Chung under Yip Man, Wong Shun-Leung and William Cheung. Though not
often mentioned, he also learned some basic Tai Chi Chuan from his father.
Even at this young age, he was more interested in the practical appliations
of the martial arts. He was often in trouble with the police for fighting
in the neighbourhood. His reputation as a fighter continued even when
he went to the United State. One often quoted story concerns his fight
with a Hung Gar practitioner in Seattle. He defeated his opponent but
only after a long time. This lead him to question his training methods
eventually leading to a modification of his Wing Chung practise. He
explore non-tradiitonal methods of training, resulting in the creation
of Jeet Kung Do. In this approach, he advocates the abandonment of traditonal
forms and focus on what he believes are direct effective methods. Bruce
Lee could be be seen as a proponent of "mixed" martial arts
- using the best techniques of many styles. The theory of Jeet Kung
Do was never completely finished since he stopped teachning the martial
arts and return to his career in movies. His students continue to extend
Jeet Kung Do to other venues.
The late Brandon
Son of Bruce
A summary of the major events in the life of Bruce Lee are as follows:
- 1940, just three month after his birth, he joined his father on
stage in a prodution of Golden Gate Girl..
- 1946, starred in the movie, Birth of a Man, continued to act in
other Chinese movies until he moved to the US for school (1959).
- 1964, married Linda Emery, met Ed Parker and demonstrated at his
International Karate Championships.
- 1965, his father died. In the same year, his son Brandon was born.
- 1966 starred as "Kato" in the Green Hornet series produced
by William Dozie (the prpduer of Batman) - series ended in 1967
- 1960's started his new teaching style - initially called "Jun
Gan Gung Fu, then "Bruce Lee's Tao of Chinese Gung Fu - Using
No Way As Way; Having No Limitation as Limitation" and finally
Jeet Kung Do - "The Way of the Intercepting Fist". By 1969,
he had three JEet Kune Do schools (Seattle, Oakland and Los Angeles)
- Struggled in Hollywood - he played a martial arts teacher on an
episode of Ironside, technical advisor of The Wrecking Crew (1969),
Marlowe (1969), Longstreet (1971).
- 1971, The Big Boss directed by Lo Wei, became his break through
movie in Hong Kong.
- 1972, Fist of Fury directed Lo Wei broke all box office records.
- 1973, Way of the Dragon, first movie starred, produced and directed
by Bruce Lee. This movie ended with a classic fight with Chuck Norris,
then seven time Karate Champion.
- 1973, July. Bruce Lee dead in the apartment of Betty Tingpei, a
Taiwanese actress who was to also have a leading role in an up and
coming film. The official reason was a cerebral edema (a swelling
of the brain caused by a congestion of fluid).
- 1974, Enter the Dragon, the first big budget Hollywood movie, was
- Game of Death, was never finished. Only three fight scenes were
filmed - fighting basketball star, Kareem Abdul Jabbar; fighting with
his student, Dan Insanto; and finally, fighting with hapikido stylist,
Chi Hon Tsoi.
- 1993, Brandon Lee died on the set of the movie "The Crow"
Bruce Lee died young and at the height of his popularity. His legend
continues - his name continues to be one of the most recognized martial
artists / film stars of all time. There is no question of his contribution
in the popularization in popular culture.