Shawscope Vol One -mind blowing eye and ear candy ….exploding with high flying kicks -
12 Films plus over 40 deep dive features and docs. Filmmaking School in a box and all in HD. Arrow does cinema right!!!
What’s a Shawscope? Back in the day movie company world wide wanted to be able to capture the complete aspect of a scene and do so in a wide range setting. Giving the story an epic look … larger than life and yet almost 3D-crisp and full of color as well as sound. Wide-exapnsive jaw dropping images from waterfalls to mountain tops to chasms to a drop of rain running down an actors face on a close-up became an impressive and expressive message on the big screen. Something that Television could not do.
Shaw Brothers made a commit to this concept, they imbraced it. They set themselves apart from many international film companies and without a doubt Asia itself. If it was Shawsope, you knew you were in for a treat.
- **Super important click this link for more of an explanation regarding Scope/Cinemascope-
CinemaScope - Wikipedia
CinemaScope is an anamorphic lens series used, from 1953 to 1967, and less often later, for shooting widescreen films…
Who is Shaw Bros? What’s a kung fu movie? Wht’s a Shaw Bros production look like? Where is Shaw Bros studios? These may be the very questions you’re asking yourself. I know I was back in the early ’70s.
Shaw Brothers took a note from old Hollywood and the studios of the golden age. The created a living thriving movie community. Actors etc lived on the property. They owned a vast amount of land and christened this land Movietown. Sitting below a hill top and over looking Clear Water Bay they opened the doors in 1961(producing close to a 1000 films in their time). The sets and the property was so extensive that there were numerous studios from outside Hong Kong clamoring to use it and this led to several co-productions between Shaw Brothers and other companies.
Some of the films to come out of these were the Fu Manchu films with a well known British studio-Hammer Films & Warner Bros(Seven Arts)-plus in the ’70s Shaw and Hammer with Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires( Peter Cushing and David Chiang), Five Golden Dragons(Bob Cummings & Klaus Kinski),
The Million Eyes of Su Muru(Shirley Eaton & George Nader)… and many more.
What only promisies to be the beginning of at least two Shawscope vols in HD. I hope more to come after. I say that because Shaw Bros released hundreds of movies over the course 3 decades-’60s,’70s and through the mid ’80s.
All sorts of genres including musicals. comedy, action, adventure(several spy filcks-Bond style),
horror and a few fantasy/sci-fi.
Wuxia-Martial arts fantasy films dominated the mid to late ’ 60s and sporting many female leads wielding swords like they were an extension of ones hand or body. They were one with the weapon. Knives to. It was a woman’s world on the big screen.
For a more in depth look at Shaw Brothers Studios and it’s history cleck this link…
Shaw Brothers Studio - Wikipedia
Shaw Brothers (HK) Ltd. ( Chinese: 邵氏兄弟（香港）公司) was the largest film production company in Hong Kong, and operated from…
Here’s Vol One- 11 martial arts/kung fu cinamtic masterpieces and one giant of an ape!!!! Goliathon or was it The Mighty Peking Man-see for your self.
from Arrow Films
Below is the trailer produced for the box set giving you a quick glance in to the epic world of Shaw Brothers.
This collection starts off with a bang!!! King Boxer aka Five Fingers of Death was the the blow hear round the world. Finally outside of Hong Kong and the International market.Warner Brothers retitled King Boxer and launched a spectacular ad compaign driving home the word that this was something totally different-like nothing you’ve ever seen before. It was R-rated, it was loaded with blood, some gore and unarmed combat that did not hold to the norm. People leaping into the air, buttin heads, smashing everything and anything from glass, walls, doors, heads, ceramic barrels & jars, bone and the brutal crushing our hero’s hands.
Will he fight again? Who will win the tournament? Will good tirumph over bad? Who is this masked hero-this kung fu “chopping” do gooder..is it Sarge? No. Is it Rosemary the dedicated phone operator? No. Is it Henry the mild mannered janitor? Could Be?! Oops wrong show. No we are talking Lo Lieh. He is the King Boxer. His character is determined to bounce back from what in most cases would have ended just about any athletic/sports career. or even a crime fighter. But what we get is a film filled inspiration as he retrains and conditions his body and hands to one day fight again.
Audio commentary for each and every film in the set. 2 bonus music CDs featuring stick music used in 6 of the films licensed from DeWolf . DeWolf has been providing stock music for decades now. This extra was noy originally promoted at the time of the announced release. So I was totally surprised. There is also a book giving detailed info on each film including a synopsis, trivia regarding the soundtrack plus behind the scenes facts and production notes. The book shares an abundance of addtional information on the actors-their alternate names, nick names and sir names. It is bursting with trivia, annecdotes and more. I have yet to see a box set marvel this. Oh all titles have both the international release and the US or English dubbed version. +I can’t say it enough- listen to the commentaries and interviews galore — again if you are interested in filmmaking this is a must.
Now I will not be providing a review*(see full list of films at end of article)on every film in this set. But each and every film is worthy of viewing several times for various reasons from the locales, the sets , the action and the meassages that they deliver. The historical periods covered and the stars and the cinematography alone. Many of the the actors appearing here were just on the cutting edge of stardom and some just cutting their teeth. Gordon Liu before he became the legendary star and prior to his shaving his head for the The 36th Chamber of Shaolin appeared with hair*(uncredited as well) at the beginning of the Five Shaolin Masters-David Chiang & Alexander Fu Sheng(included in this set).
Goliathon aka The Mighty Peking Man-
I would like to cover this film since this is the only non-kung fu film in the set. Plus it includes within the cast Danny Lee who went on to star in many Shaw fims and was a versatile actor able to go from action to sci-fi to horror. He was adapt at drama and an excellent leading man. Lee also went in to producing & director. A most notable bit of trivia-Danny starred along side Chow Yun Fat in John Woo’s over the top action extravaganza with heavy dramatic overtones- 1989’s The Killer. Make this a must see on your list!!!
- **see Super Inframan-Shaws answer to Ultraman/Power Rangers. A blast I promise. Danny Lee throws himself right in to this character.
- No CGI-All effects are what is referred to as practical and done on the sets.
The Mighty Peking Man was Shaw’s answer to 1976’s King Kong. And Shaw Bros were always right there to take advantage of box-office trends if they werre not creating ones of their own. They sparred no expense and even reached out some special effects personnel connected with kiaju films in Japan. Now the overall effects may look cheap put up against todays standards and stop motion could have run this production in to the ground.
What we get a silly at times scifi fantasy with a lot of great minatures, explosions and a giant paw that is very believable. But you have Sadamassa Arikawa from Toho to thank .
Add in the jungle and the wild life, leopards, elephants— the natives -well done. Don’t forget some back screen projection or this experience would not be complete.
***Adding to the exotic-yet different look to most jungle/adventure genre films was the choice insetting and actual locales used. Ah-wei’s home was the wilds of India and Hong Kong was the New York City of Asia.
Danny Lee plays an intrepid explorer and Evelyn Kraft( in a very distressed bikini-lion cloth) as a Tarzan-like lost /raised in the wild woman.
Those two actors make this as a worthy midnight flick or one of a double ferature at your local Drive-In. Similar to King Kong and really taking a jab at exploitation and the exploiting of animals and people and that makes this such fun. We get a message hidden within all this cheeziness.
Keep in mind that Mighty Peking Man was not the only production out there during ‘76-’77. And this came in late in the game at least for the US release …not il 1980 officially. We had to contend with A.P.E( in 3D or not and I don’t normally say this -other than this was too much in your face shots and jumpy camera work). King Kung Fu and Queen Kong. So based on this lot I highly recommend again Shaw Bros take on Kong and jungle adventure films. Plus a killer poster and trailer with a lot of scenes not in the release. ***and is part of all the wonderful extras I keep mentioning.
Like all giant “ape” films we know at some point someone is going find a way to get our “hero” to the big city and “civilization”( ironically civilization isn’t always that civilizied-take it from me).
And when ever you take a giant of anykind to a large city with tall buildings you can guarantee there will be consquences. Flashing lights, beeping horns/sirens and matchbox cars create an annoying nusance to anyone over 10 feet tall.
*Civil is doing the least you can do to be civilzied. Think about that.
Other extras on this disc include the original trailers -HK, German release and US trailer for Goliathon plus super 8 footage and image gallery an audio commentary by Travis Crawford and interviews with actor Ku Feng(the villain of this film) and Keizo Murase Japanese suit designer and model maker(Toho Veteran).
Fan art -
Other titles in Shawscope Vol One-
The Boxer From Shantung, Shaolin Temple, Challenge of the Masters & Executioners From Shaolin-Chinatown, The Five Venoms and the outrageous Crippled Avengers…
More More and More!!!! The releases — the labels — the films — the stars. It is looking like 2020 is shaping up to be a year of unrealized dreams when it comes to cult classics and international cinema. Pop culture and all you fans of are in for a rollercoaster ride of entertainment from MVD and all it’s partners… and here is a mere fraction of what is heading your way over the coming months _ and make sure you stay tuned to Reviews on the Edge (and Doc for all that is pop)
And if Shawscope Vol One was not enough martial arts in your face MVD has aligned with none other than 88 Films. Making their US debut here with some of the most iconic-classic kung Fu and Asian action flicks of all time. Kicking off this spectacular line up is Wang Yu as The Chinese Boxer. International alternate title Hammer of God. This ground breaking 1970 cinematic jewel was one of the first martial arts films where we have characters actually hitting , striking other characters real kung fu styles. This with was before Bruce Lee made his international smash debut at the box-office.
It is a brutal but yet compelling story about how you decide to deal with an unspeakable . It is the ultimate revenge flick. Avenging his teacher/sifu and the rest of the students and friends from his martial arts school. He is the lone survivor of a deliberate act of mayhem served up by a wicked bunch. Gangsters whose only want is to open a gambling den. So what do you do…give up or persevere? Wang commits himself to extensively retraining his body. Chinese Boxer paved the way for all those inspirational training segments in future productions. And lots of blood. This was also Shaw Bros transition from wuxia(sword) to unarmed style fighting.
Even more amazing is Wang wore several hats during production- he was not only starring but wrote as well as directed a masterpiece of early Kung Fu action. His co-star Lo Lieh would go on to star in The Five Fingers of Death leading the martial arts explosion “heard” round the world.
And more from the man Jimmy Wang Yu-
Plus a favorite of mine-the Golden Harvest- Aussie Co-production of 1975’s The Man From Hong Kong aka U.S. The Dragon Flies.Co-starring George Lazenby causing all sorts of fiendishly bad behavior and dastardly deeds all the while brandishing a benevolently mustached face. How does he do it?
The best part of all is the ass kicking theme song Skyhigh by Jigsaw. I love this song. Nothing says ’70s like this little ditty. Not quite have we entered the Disco era but leap a couple years ahead and bell bottoms and Mandarin collar shirts along with all those platform heels of every imaginable height.
Can you say hang glider? Nothing starts a great opening to a film than some jaw dropping high in the air stunt and this film is right out of the gate with an amzing hangliding scene sprinkled with the title credits. A sky cam and tight follow through as our hero sails over some of the most asthetic visually pleasing sights of Hong Kong.
Brain Tranchard pulled out all the stops. He gave the audience an adrenaline filled — action packed stunt laden piece of cinema that has to be seen to be believed. Hang gliding, motorcycle chases down narrow winding streets. Kung fu brawls in the remote out reaches of the Australian outback on top of some of the most rugged terrain.
A Twilight Time Bluray- Always filled in depth extras- this includes an audio commentary with Director Brain Tranchard. This is a must listen…
- ***Triva break… I was fortunate enough to have pciekd up Our Man Flint Bluray a few years ago.. I was blowin away by the incredible picture quality and the audio. It is stunning. For the time and the technology back then it was he closest to UHD. The bonus material is oozing ’60s lounge style atmosphere and they were one of the first to provide isolated audio tracks allowing the audience to experience the film visually while listening to the music only minus the dialog. When given this opportunity I say take advantage. It provides the cinephile with a way of connecting to what may have been going through the films composer as they may have wtaching the rushes and the completed film. In fact you may either hear and or see the movie in whole other light. A certain scene may take on a whole new meaning… so again try it and especially if you are a filmmaker.
Looks like it’s that time when I say good night Miss Lee where ever you are. And stop back whe next we look at Kino Lorber, Vinegar Syndrome, martial arts soundtracks and a very different vampire from the late ‘60s( I’ll give you a clue -she ain’t from anyplace around here but you can still keep up with her at Dynamite).
And One Last Thing…
I putting this out there but I am up for working on the next few Shawscope Volumes .. so anyone at MVD and or Arrow Films… keep me mind….
If it’s pop culture and international entertainment both classic and cult-film, music and books MVD is the destination.
Arrow Streaming service- titles from Shawscope Vol One are currently available along with other cult and pop culture films from around the globe. Look for extras from *some I emphasize some. So if you want all the goodies make sure you pick up the Bluray sets/editions of their releases.
Everybody Was Kung Fu Fighting- by Steve Kerridge. Available from various sources including Amazon, Walmart & Thriftbook.com
Everybody Was Kung Fu Fighting
Amazon.com: Everybody Was Kung Fu Fighting: 9781916223752: Kerridge, Steve: Books
Top 100 Hong Kong Action Films-by David Rees.