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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Shaw Brothers Cinema: Shaw Co-Productions, Censored Chang Cheh & More

This is a monster entry this time out. I did so many other additional images, I figured I'd save some of those for another entry. I got some great stuff coming soon, but this time, the spotlight is on Shaw Brothers co-productions among other things. There's a great post at Temple of Schlock regarding some of these co-productions and their US releases, so I thought I'd devote some attention to those movies here. Above you'll see a poster for the Shaw-Italy co-production, THIS TIME, I'LL MAKE YOU RICH (1975) starring Brad Harris, Antonio Sabato and Danny Lee among the cast. From the back cover of Southern Screen September 1975.


This is the biggest movie out of Pao Hsueh Li's mostly mediocre career. He was much more successful as a cinematographer and quite brilliant in that respect. He worked under the revered Chang Cheh on a handful of movies, but nearly all of his solo offerings were lacking and unmemorable.

Here, prior to its title change to DEADLY ANGELS, the film was called THE WOMEN DETECTIVES. The lovely Evelyn Kraft was one of the angels of the title and she was also working on THE MIGHTY PEKING MAN (1977) at the time under the direction of Ho Meng Hua. These images are from the November 1976 issue of Hong Kong Movie News.


This pic is most interesting. LEGEND OF THE SEVEN GOLDEN VAMPIRES (1974) was the first Hammer Shaw production completed. If you read the English text, you'll notice it says Chang Cheh is there helping the director with the action scenes. This was before original director, Monte Hellman was fired by Michael Carreras who took over the film. This image is from Southern Screen February, 1974.


Here are some behind the scenes shots during the filming of this exceptional, and the first kung fu horror opus. It's been said that Chang Cheh helped direct the action scenes in this movie, but I've not seen evidence of this, although it's entirely possible. Curiously enough, neither film is listed in Cheh's memoirs in his complete filmography of films he worked on whether he simply presented it, or worked on it in some respect.

Still, it's also been said from anecdotes about the making of the film that Shaw had at first wanted Liu Chia Liang (already working on the movie) to shoot additional action scenes, but eventually let Baker finish the picture his way. All these images are from Southern Screen February, 1974


Here's a rare curio in the Shaw Brothers canon. Having joined forces with Korea on numerous swordplay movies, Italy with SUPERMEN OF THE ORIENT and (soon to be made) AMAZONS & SUPERMEN, now it's a co-production with Shaw and Germany. This trash epic from sleaze specialist Kuei Chi Hung and Ernst Hofbauer was one of numerous co-productions not on the list for release through IVL because of rights issues.

VIRGINS OF THE SEVEN SEAS has recently been released to DVD in German language only, but (finally) with English subtitles after being available in a German language only tape for years. These images are from Southern Screen March, 1974.


Here's a promo page for Kuei Chi Hung's superlative and downbeat swordplay classic, the unique KILLER CONSTABLE. You'll notice there's an image not in the film. It's the shot of Ai Fei with the cuts all over his face. In the film, he's nailed to a wall with gashes all over his face. It's possible this image might be from the drastically different Korean version of the film. This spread is from the January, 1980 issue of Southern Screen.


This shot of Gordon Liu having his dots applied is from the July, 1981 issue of Southern Screen.


Here's a spread of various Gordon Liu shots. One of them sees him and fellow actor Mai Te Lo having a break during the shooting of THE MARTIAL CLUB (1981). This shot is from the August 1980 issue of Hong Kong Movie News.

BEHIND THE SCENES: Kuo Chui & Hwang Jang Lee

This picture is is one of the most surprising shots I've seen. The film Hwang was working on at Shaw's was never completed. He was said to have walked off the set after a major disagreement with Mona Fong. I have a spread on that film, but there is no translated title for it. This photo is still amazing to see these two stars taking a break together. The complete spread was an interview/cover story on Kuo Chui. This is taken from the March, 1983 issue of Southern Screen.


This one's for Nozomi. One of the 5 DEADLY VENOMS is seen here with his newborn child. This pic is featured in Hong Kong Movie News August, 1980.


This sexy Shaw starlet featured predominantly in adult oriented movies, but found time to appear in movies like THE FLYING GUILLOTINE (1974) and NIGHT OF THE DEVIL'S BRIDE (1975). These images are seen in Southern Screen December, 1982.

This spread is from October, 1980 issue of Southern Screen. Her Bo Derek inspired hair and this spread are apparently publicity shots for the promotion of SEXY CAREER GIRLS (1981). Her look in this swimsuit is used on the original poster.

SHAW PROFILE: Chen Hsao Hao & Lung Tien Sheng

These two were introduced into Chang Cheh's camp in 1980. Chen was first seen as one of Lu Feng's subordinates in THE REBEL INTRUDERS (1980) and got his official introduction in TWO CHAMPIONS OF SHAOLIN (1980). Lung was brought over from Taiwan to help finish the stalled TEN TIGERS OF KWANT TUNG (1980) and subsequently got what is arguably the best role in FLAG OF IRON (1980). This photo is from Southern Screen May, 1980.


This movie began production (as THE HEROIC FAMILY) in 1981 along with Fu Sheng's debut directorial effort, WITS OF THE BRATS (1984) This movie will always be known by the fans as the film that Fu Sheng died before completing it. I assume he was originally to have been included in the finale. I acquired the Southern Screen issue the month after his death which features a wealth of information and a grand tribute to this fine actor. He is featured top center. Gordon Liu is bottom right.

This was Liu Chia Liang's most bleak production. It's easily the closest he ever came to emulating the style of Chang Cheh. These images are featured in the July, 1981 issue of Southern Screen. From middle of page left to right: Chang Chan Peng (Fu Sheng's brother), Gordon Liu, Fu Sheng, Hsiao Hou, Mai Te Lo, Wong Yu, Liu Chia Yung.


The English text reveals a number of shots were ordered removed from this movie. Some of the shots are questionable, but Cheh would have a lot of trouble with the violence in his films.

The film was another huge success for the director. Other directors were following suit displaying the most gruesome death scenes imaginable in their own swordplay adventures. These pages are from HK Movie News, the March issue from 1969.


This is a curious one. It's not so much an unfinished film, as it is film footage being scrapped and new cast being assigned. Judging by the plot, some of the cast members and director Kuei, this sounds like the genesis of BEWITCHED (1981). However, the finished film doesn't have Yi Lei anywhere in the cast. The above pictures don't look anything like the gruesome horror movie the film eventually became. NOTE: BLACK SPELL turns out to be HEX VS. WITCHCRAFT (1980), one of two follow ups to Kuei's HEX from the same year. Thanks to Deliria for providing the information.

If anyone has any information of Yi Lei, please let me know. The English text I cut here reveals he did prison time for an undisclosed crime. These images were from the October, 1980 issue of Southern Screen.

Above is an alternate poster for RENDEZVOUS WITH DEATH (1980). It was featured on the back cover of Southern Screen issue from October, 1980. Coming soon in a future entry are some rare shots from an early Shaw Brothers western film as well as shots from the even more rare Chang Cheh movie, TIGER BOY (1966). Shots from Lo Lieh's wedding, behind the scenes photos from SECRET SERVICE OF THE IMPERIAL COURT, an unfinished kung fu movie starring and directed by David Chiang and a future tribute entry devoted to Alexander Fu Sheng.



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

Another marvelous grab-bag of Shaw publicity material, venoms5!

Behind the scenes of Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires with Shih Szu? Sweet!

Chiang Sheng with his newborn child; it's very poignant.

Ai Ti looks sexier than the new Nikita!

Lung Tien Sheng in street clothes doesn't even look like the Spearman in this photo spread with Chen Hsao Hao!

Remarkable points worth debating are found in those bits featuring Chang Cheh, too!

I await the next installments!

P.S.- Where would one find it easiest to get the Virgins of the Seven Seas DVD?

Franco Macabro said...

Wow, I was not aware that Chang Cheh had been part of the production of Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires!

That movie is one of my favorite Hammer Vampire films, it's just so offbeat and different! I liked that idea that Dracula was disguised as a Chinese Monk type of dude! Plus, it also hid the fact that Christopher Lee wasnt playing Dracula on that one.

I liked the zombie army that Dracula brings to life, they were eerie looking.

But my favorite part was how they merged Kung Fu into the story, with the brothers looking for Van Helsing to help them destroy Dracula. Awesome movie, which I will defenetly be re-watching for this coming Halloween season, which by the way will prove to be a special month over at The Film Connoisseur!

venoms5 said...

@ Fang: DiabolikDVD has a bunch of them but they seem to be selling fast. They had over 30 and are down to 13...,-Kusse,-Blonde-Katzen)-(PAL-Region-2).html

I was gonna add some more stuff to this one, but it was already getting on past 4am, so I figured I'd hold off till the next one.

Ai Ti is pretty damn hot, isn't she?

venoms5 said...

@ Fran: In that pic, Cheh is working on SHATTER before Hellman was fired, although I think it's been confused that he worked on GOLDEN VAMPIRES after the film was finished.

Baker himself has stated they wanted to replace him, but never did. No evidence has ever surfaced that Cheh directed any action scenes for the film, although he's clearly shown there on the set of SHATTER. Also, his memoirs make no mention of assisting on either film and that book covers everything he had a hand in.

I happen to love the GOLDEN VAMPIRES movie. I think I have some images in one of those magazines somewhere with shots not in the movie.

© Deliria said...

"BLACK SPELL" is HEX VS WITCHCRAFT in which James Yi (or Yi Lei)stars. In one scene, he appears as depicted in the magazine article. I have seen this comic actor in the slasher/comedy THE RED PANTHER(1983)in which he was excellent, but HEX VS WITCHRAFT is inferior to the original HEX.

venoms5 said...

Ahh, thanks so much Deliria! I didn't buy the other two HEX movies. They didn't look very interesting from the trailers. Yi Lei looked vaguely familiar, only I couldn't figure where I'd seen him and could find nothing about him outside of magazines. Most likely it was the trailer, then.

achillesgirl said...

WAAAH-HAI! You rock!

What a great photo of Hwang Jang Lee and Kuo Chue. And reading about his argument with Mona Fong makes me like Hwang even more.

Thanks for including Killer Constable and Eight Diagram Pole Fighter - I can't get enough of those "bleak" films!

venoms5 said...

Yeah, I hear ya on Kuo and Hwang. I got a stack of mags in the mail the other day and there it was. I got a spread in another magazine with Hwang dressed in that attire training, or fighting with Wong Yu. None of the article is translated, but the movie was never finished.

I'm itching to post another one as I got a bunch more scans I did that I planned to add with this one, but I was so damn tired, I left this one like it was. I'm planning a Halloween edition and a Fu Sheng edition as well.

Speaking of KILLER CONSTABLE, I'd love to get a hold of the Korean version of that as it's drastically different, at least the ending is.

achillesgirl said...

whaaaaa? really? God, I hate that!

Unknown said...

Here's what I know about Yi Lei. James Yi Lui was born in 1943, he joined Shaw Brothers at age 17 as an actor. He directed the comedy Gee and Jor (1978), in which he also starred and executive produced. In 1979, he served as the guarantor for a friend’s business and served time in jail due to unpaid debts. After his release in April, 1980, he continued to work in the film industry. Over his career as an actor, he appeared in nearly 100 films. His last film was the comedy EXCUSE ME, PLEASE! (1989), also starring Richard Ng. After this he left the film industry to focus on business ventures. He passed away in 1999 due to heart disease at the age of 56.

His is here filmography

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