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Saturday, January 1, 2011

Shaw Brothers Cinema: Chang's Clan, Bruce Lee, Foreign Box Office & More

HK poster for Liu Chia Liang's 36 CHAMBER OF SHAOLIN (1978) from the back cover of January '78s Southern Screen magazine.

This entry the theme showcases some of Chang Cheh's biggest stars with an emphasis on Chen Kuan Tai. There's also a number of other random photos (including Bruce Lee at Shaws) and more Shaw 'unfinished business'. There's also an indy film starring Chen Kuan Tai that seems to have not been finished, either. In addition, I thought it would be interesting to post what non-HK films people were paying to see with the top 10 imports of 1971.

***CLICK A PIC TO SEE A LARGER IMAGE (click twice to see a bigger image) & TO READ ENGLISH TEXT***

This shot above is from Southern Screen September 1972. It's a promotional photo for the main cast of Chang Cheh's THE FOUR RIDERS (1972). Called STRIKE 4 REVENGE in America, it dealt with a group of Chinese soldiers at the end of the Korean War who get mixed up with gangsters after one of the men is framed for murdering an American soldier. The chase is on as the 4 RIDERS must fight to evade the police and military personnel in an effort to exact revenge on the gang.

This is a photo depicting a scene from the Shaw's heavily hyped YOUNG PEOPLE (1972), one of Chang Cheh's 'Youth Generation' pictures and the most light-hearted of the bunch. This is from May of 1972.


Only Ti Lung could make wearing a bandana tied around your neck look cool while brandishing bullets on his belt. November 1971 SS magazine.

Behind the scenes and shots from Cheh's classic dramatic action film THE BLOOD BROTHERS (1973) starring David Chiang, Ti Lung and Chen Kuan Tai.

Chen Kuan Tai strikes a pose for the underrated IRON BODYGUARD (1973), then known as THE KNIGHT & THE SCHOLAR. September 1972 SS magazine.


Photo from April 1972 SS magazine.

CKT and his daughter. From July-August 1973 SS magazine

This is a spread from an independent feature during the time Chen Kuan Tai was absent from Shaw Brothers. It has CKT and Chen Sing in the leads. Its title is listed as COLD BLOOD and thanks to achillesgirl, its also known as DUEL AT TIGER VILLAGE (1978). It was directed by Pao Hsueh Li, who had recently exited Shaw studio to go solo. From Cinemart September 1977.

Promotional material for IRON MONKEY (1977), the directorial debut of Chen Kuan Tai. Cinemart Sept. 1977.

Here's a shot showing Oscar winning British actor Rex Harrison visiting Shaw Brothers studio. It would be curious to know what his impression was. The set he's on is a scene from Chang Tseng Chai's THE CASINO (1972), the first of the HK gambling movies. It's also loaded with outrageous gore and violence. Chang did two more gambling actioners for Shaw with THE GAMBLING SYNDICATE and QUEEN HUSTLER (both 1975).

Bruce Lee visited Shaw Brothers studio a few times before his untimely death. Here, he's having a talk with then major starlet, Connie Chan Po Chung on the set of THE LIZARD (1972) directed by Chu Yuan and co-starring Yueh Hua and Lo Lieh. From September 1972 SS magazine.

HK poster for this Shaw basher shot in Taiwan starring Chin Han and Lily Li. It was released in Hong Kong on my birthday, January 21st in 1972. The poster is featured on the inside back cover of the January 1972 issue of SS magazine.


Above and below is a spread on a Taiwanese martial arts film picked up by Shaw Brothers. Unreleased on DVD in HK, it is available to view on the Chinese version of youtube. It's a typical basher style film and features a refurbished soundtrack taken from the classic Italian western, THE MERCENARY from 1968.

Now for something a little different. Below are the top ten foreign films distributed by Shaw Brothers in 1971. Giallo fans will be startled to see THE STRANGE VICE OF MRS. WARDH (1971) among the titles.


The lovely and petite Yu Feng, possessing one of the most alluring faces of all the Shaw starlets.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS: UNARMED COMBAT (started production late '71/early '72)

Above and below are two promotional pages for an unfinished Cheng Chang Ho (KING BOXER) basher film starring the commanding presence of leading man, Ling Yun. This film must have gotten near completion for there to have been a color spread promoted alongside soon to be released pictures like KING BOXER, INTIMATE CONFESSIONS OF A CHINESE COURTESAN (then called THE LOVING SLAVE), THE BLACK TAVERN, THE DEADLY DUO, AMBUSH, VILLAGE OF TIGERS and THE GOLDEN LION (which didn't get released till 1975).

Ling Yun was also shooting another similar movie at this time entitled THE DEADLY KNIVES from director Chang I Hu. Prior to that films release, its English title was YEN TZU FEI, THE GREAT BOXER. The never completed UNARMED COMBAT was to have co-starred Chiao Hsiung and Ivy Ling Po. With KING BOXER being Cheng Chang Ho's last movie at Shaw's before jumping ship to Golden Harvest, it would seem his departure was not an amicable one.


Lo Lieh flashes his blades in a publicity photo promoting THE DRAGON MISSILE (1976), Shaw's cash in of their own FLYING GUILLOTINE (1974). One of Shaw's 'B' action pictures, it nevertheless had an interesting twist in that the bad guy ends up as some kind of anti hero. Lots of violence and the Dragon Missile special effects are actually pretty good. This photo--September 1975 SS magazine.

The Hong Kong poster for THE DRAGON MISSILE from the back cover of the April 1976 issue of Southern Screen.



achillesgirl said...

COOOL. Enjoying it as always! Thanks!

achillesgirl said...

Also, that independent Chen Kuan Tai film looks very much like "Duel at Tiger Village"/Iron Monkey II. The female costar and one or two scene photos look identical to me.

venoms5 said...

That must be it, achillesgirl!

How is this film, I've not seen it. I will add this information accordingly.

achillesgirl said...

I like it! It's a Pao Hsieh Li non-Shaw production, how good can it be? A middling film, fun and upbeat with a little romance going on.

I think the action is good because I really like the Chan Muk Chuen-Chan Koon Tai team. The female lead's action is surprisingly good.

My hideous $5 copy is a chopped up pan-and-scan of a damaged print, gets stuck on the fucking insta-action, and has such a bad dub track that I wrote a blog about it. I don't know if there is a decent original language version available but I would certainly pay for one.

I like it because I will watch Chan Koon Tai punch anybody, anywhere, anytime.

venoms5 said...

I feel the same way about Chen Kuan Tai, Sylvia. Have you seen HERO OF SHANGHAI yet? It's an indy version of BOXER FROM SHANTUNG directed by Pao and starring Chen. Also, there's another similar movie with Chen called BIG BOSS OF SHANGHAI. I got the lobby set and original poster and still haven't watched the movie yet! For whatever reason, I have yet to open the damn DVD, lol.

achillesgirl said...

I have both of those movies. I like "Big Boss of Shanghai" because he uses a lot of joint locks on people that look like they really hurt. Once again, low production values but good action. Open the damn package! :)

Hey, where do you buy all those posters anyway? I want, I want.

venoms5 said...

I bought most of them from a collector in Canada who had some kind of ties with the old Shaw theater up there. Other items came from various other collectors. One of my Chinese friends had over 250 SHaw posters he was going to have shipped to me, but his dad told him he burned them all, sadly. I haven't bought any in a long time, though. I have far too many as it is, lol.

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