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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Shaw Brothers Cinema: Kwan Young Moon w/Ali, Stallone, Shaw Knighted & More!

This 'Shaw Brothers Cinema' entry is a two for one special featuring a lot of behind the scenes pics, some poster artwork, cast pictorials and some interesting extras such as the knighthood of Sir Run Run Shaw and even a surprise appearance from Ali and Sly Stallone! There's also some "unfinished business" with an encore of a troubled film that started out as HELLISH SOUL before being taken over by a different director, but yet it still never got completed!

***The images seen below all come from Southern Screen issues from--April 1978, November 1978, September 1980, November 1980 and February 1981***

SPOTLIGHT ON: Sir Run Run Shaw

On March 7th, 1978, Chinese movie mogul, Run Run Shaw became Sir Run Run Shaw.

Sir Run Run Shaw at the Asian Film Festival and on an Australian talk show with a slew of his talent pool including Ti Lung (at far right)

SPOTLIGHT ON: Kwan Young Moon

Korean super kicker and master martial artist, Kwan Young Moon (KUNG FU ZOMBIE, RETURN TO THE 36TH CHAMBER) is seen here with two of his students, Sylvester Stallone and Muhammad Ali.

Kwan demonstrates his internal power by allowing this truck to rest on his stomach


Controversial New Wave director, Mou Tun Fei registers for his marriage to a lady whose name I don't know. He caused a stir during his tenure at Shaw Brothers, but raised far more eyebrows with his two grueling WW2 torture movies--MEN BEHIND THE SUN (1988) and the real sequel, BLACK SUN: THE NANKING MASSACRE (1995).

Here's the original HK poster artwork for Mou's grim martial arts drama, A DEADLY SECRET (1980). His penchant for brutality can be seen here in this Wuxia feature starring Pai Piao, Yueh Hua and Shi Szu.

Called the Chinese SALO, Mou's LOST SOULS (1980) was based on real accounts of illegal Chinese immigrants being tortured and raped by slave traders. Mou really came into his own here and foreshadowed the gloomy aura his later productions would immerse themselves in.


John Lo Mar directed this wild comedic kung fu flick which contains near endless fight sequences and every indie kung fu cliche imaginable. Pictured above: Hou Chao Sheng (left), Lo Mar (middle), Ching Siu Tung (right; aka Cheng Hsiao Tung). Ching is the son of famed Shaw director Cheng Kang. Ching himself went on to a mega successful career in directing and choreography.


Director and choreographer, Hsu Hsia is seen here with Yang Pan Pan at top. Yang had been in a number of independent kung fu pictures in addition to her few credits in Shaw productions. Above, Hsu is seen directing a scene with former venom, Lo Mang.


Wong Yu (left), Sun Chung (middle), Ti Lung (right) during the filming of KUNG FU INSTRUCTOR. The film dealt with two families at war with one another in a small town. One family is passive and law abiding while the other is duplicitous and war mongering. Ti Lung enters the town and gets caught in the middle of the turmoil.

BEHIND THE SCENES: Chow Yun Fat at Shaw Brothers/TVB

International superstar, Chow Yun Fat did a lot of TVB dramas and also some early gangster films through Shaw brothers in the early 80's before gaining acclaim with former AD of Chang Cheh, John Woo in films like THE KILLER (1989) and HARD BOILED (1992).


Chang Cheh is shown here during the shooting of SHAOLIN TEMPLE (1976) along with a couple images from his then current production, CRIPPLED AVENGERS (1978). The venerable Chang Cheh had lost some of his box office clout by this time due to several disastrous experiments and changing audience trends to comedic kung fu films. He made the transition while still maintaining a minor sliver of his earlier successes, but never achieved the same level of critical, or financial accolades he had the ten years prior.

Here is a promo for Chang Cheh's second installment in his BRAVE ARCHER series. This first sequel is a lesser film and stumbles along till it finally picks up steam during the conclusion when the Iron Palm clan is introduced.


This gorgeous Shaw actress has been in many of the company's biggest action films such as THE CHINESE BOXER (1969), THE KILLER (1971), THE DUEL (1971), KING BOXER (1972), THE 14 AMAZONS (1972) and THE BLACK ENFORCER (1972) among others. She left the studio during the mid 70's, but returned in 1980 to shoot TIGER KILLER (1982) for Li Han Hsiang.


During the 1970's Chen Ping was Shaw Brothers reigning exploitation Queen. Her first Shaw picture was KISS OF DEATH (1973) co-starring Lo Lieh. At this time in her career she had no problem with nudity, but towards the end of the decade, became less willing to strip off. She did a number of action and erotic movies for the Shaws. Some of these include: QUEEN HUSTLER (1975), THE SEXY KILLER (1976), WEDDING NIGHTS (1976), LADY EXTERMINATOR (1977), THE VENGEFUL BEAUTY (1978), SENSUAL PLEASURES (1978) and SHAOLIN HANDLOCK (1978).


Chen Kuan Tai abruptly left the Shaw Brothers in 1976 while shooting had just began for FLYING GUILLOTINE 2 (1978) where he was to reprise his role of Ma Teng. Ti Lung was cast in his role and Hua Shan stepped in as director on this seriously troubled production. Chen ultimately went off to do a string of independent features including his directorial debut, IRON MONKEY (1977). CRIPPLED AVENGERS (1978) was heavily touted as his big return to the studio. He's one of the studios biggest superstars ever since becoming a huge name with THE BOXER FROM SHANTUNG in 1972.


Above and below are images from Lu Chin Ku's LOVERS BLADES (1982). It's a comedic Wuxia romp that was unable to secure a DVD release when the Celestial Pictures license ran out with IVL. Decent quality bootlegs from a Korean source are available for this fun feature film.


Previously in another enty of 'Unfinished Business', I posted some images from an unfinished Chu Yuan production from 1975 entitled HELLISH SOUL. Click above to read the English text about this film starting up again, but under a different director and title. The film still never got finished and ended up as one half of HAUNTED TALES (1980) with Mou Tun Fei. Chu Yuan retained his director credit for his portion of the movie.

Above is a poster advertising the release of Chu Yuan's HEAVEN SWORD & DRAGON SABRE (1978), a film whose first sequel would hurriedly follow it into theaters. It's yet another Jin Yong adaptation for the silver screen heavily condensed into a 90 minute feature. The movie itself is confusing unless you are already familiar with the source material.



R.A.M.'67 said...

Another great grab-bag of Shaw esoterica, venoms5! A sampling of thoughts about what I saw.... THE KUNG FU INSTRUCTOR was better than what I anticipated, with Sun Chung's early work with the steadicam well used without overkill; I think (not certain) Fu Sheng's mishap while working on HEROES SHED NO TEARS prevented him from assuming the role taken by Wong Yu. THE BRAVE ARCHER 2 is almost a near muddle with a "fustercluck"(!) of people in it until Lo Meng shows up with the giant iron palms! As for the worst thing in this one (after a lack of Fu Sheng), Fan Mei-Shing reprises his part from the first movie in ONE SCENE! Another actor had his part for the remainder of the film. (It's easy to pick out the other guy, especially with Mei-Shing's familiar round face!) Great shots of Wang Ping and Chen Ping. I figure you've seen more Chen Ping films than I have, so you might be able to confirm if Chen "advanced" a little in her parts after her debut in THE KISS OF DEATH, meaning she went from total nude scenes to topless ones!

venoms5 said...

Hey, Fang! That's a fine observation regarding KUNG FU INSTRUCTOR. It's within the realm of possibility that Fu would have been in this movie if not for his accident(s). It seems he and Ti Lung were truly great friends. There are so many pictures of the two of them together. They seem to share a brotherly bond more so than the one up-manship of he and David Chiang's relationship.

I remember little of BRAVE ARCHER 2. I do remember Fan Mei Sheng's role being played by a different actor. Lo's role as one of the Seven Weird's was played by Tam Jun Tao if I remember right.

I've got 4 or 5 lobby cards for WEDDING NIGHTS and Chen Ping (along with other women) is naked in every one of them. The later Wuxia movies she did, she seemed to be using a body double. Also, I have an old newspaper article (I think I posted in this column, actually and it's in English) where she states she is tired of her status in the film world and wants to change. The clipping was dated '78 or '79

R.A.M.'67 said...

So Chen Ping "graduated" to having body doubles! That is progress, in a very weird way, but it can be the ultimate "suspension of disbelief" for a male movie watcher that never completely works! While I managed with Lily Li's stand-in (when David Chiang painted her) in FRIENDS, the difference between Julia Roberts and her double in PRETTY WOMAN (maybe even the same lady's body is on the poster) was enough that I couldn't get past the obvious contrast! Nudity, or any stage of undress, isn't the easiest thing to get onto the big screen; I guess that's where the idea of it being OK if it's "integral to the plot" comes in!

venoms5 said...

That's not unusual for an actress to change her mind about taking her clothes off in a movie at some point down the road. A lot of them decide against it later in their career because that's the only kinds of roles they continue to get.

R.A.M.'67 said...

True! Chen Ping was as brave to disrobe in the first place as she was to stop when she did. She had more going for her than looks; if she did fewer nude scenes (even none), she might be regarded as more than JUST an "exploitation" actress. I think the old photo spread of her you've shown hints at a lady of substance behind the lovely eyes and smile!

venoms5 said...

Yeah, she was great, Fang. I hope more of her movies surface at some point like QUEEN HUSTLER and LADY EXTERMINATOR. I've seen the latter film and it deserves to be seen.

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