The 18th century reign of Emperor Chien Lung has proven to be a treasure trove for Hong Kong filmmakers, and director Li Han-Hsiang, the acknowledged master of the costume drama, made a series of four blockbusters about the dashing young swashbuckler's exploits. The scenario won the Best Adapted Screenplay Award at the 1979 Golden Horse Awards, and told of the monarch's incognito journey from Beijing to southern China... and imperial mayhem that ensues!
One of director Chu Yuan's crowning achievements, THE SENTIMENTAL SWORDSMAN epitomizes the lone, virtuous, heroic swordsman with a twist. The film uses melodrama as a vehicle for swordplay and Chu bamboozled audiences by infusing the Oedipus complex. Swordsman Li Hsin-huan, magnificently played by the highly respected and popular Ti Lung, is also a hero with weaknesses; he drinks too much and believes in love and emotion. Shaw Brothers’ fiery yet worldly femme Ching Li plays Li's girlfriend given in the name of tricked honor. It's finally payback time. Yet it's Li's oneness with nature that wins the day. Chu's swordsman films created romantic worlds lavishly infused with flamboyant atmospheric settings as evident by the film receiving the Special Award for Best Cinematography at the 1978 Golden Horse Awards.
Julie Yeh Feng plays a devoted wife and a mother dying of an incurable illness. Her goal now is to find a new mother for her child and a new wife for her husband before she dies. Because of all her personal tragedies and on-going hard life off-screen, audiences connect with Julie on a personal level, hence making her one of the most beloved actresses of her time.
The charm of Pursuit Of A Killer lies in the long awaited reunion of Five Venoms duo, Lo Meng and Sun Chien; Lo Meng, who plays a Mainland Chinese criminal escapee to Hong Kong in search of a better life, and a cop (Sun Chien) who helps him adjust to Hong Kong life while tracking down his mysterious killer at the same time.
The aggressive and dangerous Chin Empire conquers the hard-put Chao kingdom while the Wei empire is drained of its heroes and paralyzed by an indecisive ruler. Adventure, intrigue, death and tragedy reigns before the triumphant clash of the armies.
Noted comedic actor Michael Hui Koon-man takes on the leading role in Scandal as Zhen Ming, a roguish scamp who dallies around with his best friend Chia Liang and (Wang Sheng) and getting into all sorts of misadventures along the way. Political corruption is rampant in Wan Ping County. Hopei Province, and when these two end up wandering into town one fateful day, all hell breaks loose as the men conspire their way to the top! Zheng Ming becomes the governor of Wan Ping County while his second in command Chia Liang ends up taking on the position of magistrate. Will these two punks turn the county into a decent place or are they far worse than the people they replaced?
Imagine pint-sized Godzillas fighting the DC Comic superhero "IRONMAN", have Shaw Brothers improve on this outrageous mix by adding kung-fu choreography, and then you have SUPER INFRAMAN, one of the most far-out, fantastical films ever made. Starring the up and coming Danny Lee (who achieved international superstardom in John Woo's THE KILLER), the film pits Lee as the thunderbolt-fisted Inframan battling maniacal monsters from the Earth's center lead by the evil Demon Princess (Terry Liu). Adding to the psychosis is the fast paced fights choreographed by the acclaimed action director Tang Chia, beautiful camera work by He Lan-shan (Bruce Lee's cinematographer in THE WAY OF THE DRAGON), and fights that feature an actor who later starred in kung-fu flicks under the moniker of Bruce Lee.
Based on a famous Chinese opera, this period drama stars the beloved screen pairing of the wildly popular Ivy Ling Po (Vermillion Door) and Li Ching, one of Hong Kong’s most famous on-screen couples. Ling Po was renowned for playing male Cantonese opera roles while the child star Li, plays the enchanting female lead. While visiting a temple, a young impoverished scholar, Zhang Sheng, is enchanted by the daughter of an influential family, Hong Niang. When the safety of Hong Niang is threatened by revolutionaries, Zhang does all he can to keep her from harm. Seeing the love between the young couple, Hong’s maid (Fang Ying) helps bringing the young couple together, who secretly have their rendezvous in the West Chamber, in spite of her family's objections! It is romance, tears and classic melodrama as the couple fight for love.
The collaboration between auteur Chang Cheh and action star Chen Kuan-tai proved to be the most prominent showcase of the martial arts genre. Riding on their landmark successes Boxer From Shantung and Man Of Iron came this powerful, exciting tale of a hot-headed patriot (Chen) entwined in the collapse of the Qing Dynasty and the rise of the new China republic. Filled with non-stop action when our hero enters the lion's den alone to rescue his revolutionary friends.
The noted actress Li Li-hua, star of more than sixty films since 1947, beautifully portrays the drugged, then disgraced wife of a peddler in the waning days of the Ching Dynasty. To make matters worse, she's soon framed for her husband’s murder by her rapist - the son of the local magistrate! And even that isn’t the end of her woes. It's best to have a box of tissues nearby as two expert directors ratchet up the emotional suspense in this consummate tearjerker.
Li Li-hua, Kao Pao-shu, Ouyang Sha-fei, Kwan Shan, Ku Wen-chung
After many years as a respected actor (The Chinese Boxer) and action choreographer (Jackie Chan's Drunken Master), the Shaw Studio finally gave the dependable and commendable Hsu Hsia a chance to direct his own movies. He didn't waste the opportunity, inviting three other kung-fu designers to help on this fight-filled thriller. Wang Yu, co-star of such classics as Dirty Ho and The Kid With A Tattoo, here takes center stage as a young rascal caught between an anti-Ching Confederation and violent, vengeful Ching troops. But when he discovers that the good guys are led by master martial arts actor Jen Shih-kuan (Once Upon A Time In China) and the bad guys are led by the incredible Huang Cheng-li (Snake In The Eagle's Shadow) everyone knows that loads of great kung-fu is in store.
The Liu Chia-liang trained Hui Ying-hung was considered the top action martial arts female star in the 1980s. It is her martial arts abilities that Michelle Yeoh tries to emulate. In The Tiger and the Widow, Hui Ying-hung is somehow mixed up in a salt smuggling ring that stinks of missing persons and rotten dilemmas. The film gathered two Golden Horse Awards in 1981; Best Costume Design and Best Art Direction.
This is one of writer/director Shen Chiang's last films, but it's an incredible action-packed adventure of a female Lone Ranger, decades before Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon made feminist-empowerment kung-fu films an international phenomenon. The wonderful Shih Szu is the title character, with Shaw Brothers' first international star, Lo Lieh, joining her as an adoring associate. Together they track down the dirty deeds and duplicity of a raping and robbing masked bandit, before, literally, riding off toward their next adventure!
This is a film that has won the Best Colour Film Art Direction at the 1977 Golden Horse Awards. Liu Yung (one of Bruce Lee's favorite co-stars) takes center stage as the Ching Dynasty main character, who seeks out court corruption with the help of a streetwise youth played by Wang Yu (Dirty Ho). They use wit and style to teach the corrupt officials a lesson, and when those officials learn that Liu Yung is the emperor, they beg for his forgiveness. This production proved so popular that director Li Han-hsiang took over to helm two successful sequels.