Monday, June 14, 2010
Shaw Brothers Cinema: Shaw Poster Edition! Two Grindhouse Shaw Classics!
I figured I'd show off some of my poster collection which consists of a few hundred Shaw Brothers and independent kung fu features as well as a bunch of American exploitation classics.
This is an original Hong Kong poster for the 1972 Shaw Brothers basher/kung fu classic, KING BOXER aka FIVE FINGERS OF DEATH. This was the first kung fu movie to open the floodgates of fist and kick cinema before Bruce Lee's movies hit American theaters. Refer to SHAW BROTHERS & KUNG FU CINEMA PART 4 for info on this movie.
The picture was a massive hit for Warner Brothers around the world and prompted an onslaught of other films both from Shaw's and other companies. At the time, there was nothing quite like KING BOXER; a film with a level of violence never seen before. It's also the first movie to feature a tournament built around the martial arts. A wonderfully entertaining movie from noted Korean director, Cheng Chang Ho. The recent R1 special edition release from Dragon Dynasty is a must own for action fans and an improvement over the R3 HK DVD from IVL.
This is an original HK poster for the one and only THE FLYING GUILLOTINE (1974). A super classic of Asian cinema which has its own series of imitations. The one featured in this Shaw production is the best, most realistic of them all. A real weapon from ancient China, no known documents have images of what it actually looked like. The weapon was so popular, it made cameo appearances in other HK action movies.
Although it's a famed grindhouse movie, the film is actually a very gritty, dramatic and somber movie. It surely holds a record for the most decapitations ever captured on film (25 if I remember right). It's not a kung fu movie, either. Chen Kuan Tai is great in this as Ma Teng, a member of a secret society of assassins who, fearing for his life, decides to abandon the group. Not taking kindly to this, his comrades go after him to bring his head back to the Emperor. The movie was very successful for the Shaw's and spearheaded a few imitators. The Shaw's themselves copied their own film with DRAGON MISSILE in 1976 and also began work on a sequel to FG that same year with Cheng Kang as director. Troubles with two of the stars caused the film to be shelved momentarily only to be taken over by director, Hua Shan. The weapon itself threatens to cleave heads once more in a long proposed remake.
UNTIL NEXT TIME...