Kung fu craze comes home in 8 DVD set

Carl Douglas was born in Jamaica and spent some time in Southern California before his family moved to London when he was a teenager. Gifted with a smooth tenor voice that honed him in his church choir, Douglas tried his hand at making him a pop star in the 1960s, releasing a few singles and an album that went nowhere. In 1974, he reached out to another British immigrant, Biddu (Appaiah), who had come from Bangalore to produce records.

Biddu struck a one-off deal with Bay Records and a song—written by Larry Weiss, composer of “Rhinestone Cowboy”—that he thought was a hit. He had three hours of studio time. He recruited session singer Douglas to sing it. They cut it in about two hours, so Beddoe asked Douglas if there was anything else he wanted to try in the remaining time. Sure, Douglas said, he had several sets of songs he was working on. Biddu liked the one that started with the phrase “Everyone was fighting kung fu….”

It was silly, but they needed a B on the singles side. So they pulled out a fast disco track, and decked it out with that stereotypical Asian theme – “dee dee dee dee duh duh dee dee duh” that has found its way into every fake West Asian song from Vapors” https://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2022/ jan/14/kung-fu-craze-comes-home-in-8-dvd-set/ “Turning Japanese” to “China Girl” by David Bowie to Cringe-y Shun – Sequence in the 1970 Disney movie “Aristotelian” – Although it is perhaps more a caricature of how Westerners think about the sounds of Chinese music than anything actually found in Chinese music.

Anyway, according to legend, the “kung fu fight” was recorded in 10 minutes. take two. Biddu went over the top with the background “huhs” and “hahs” but thought that since it was side B, no one would hear it anyway.

Of course, Suits at Pye Records insisted that “kung fu fighting” is the number one aspect. It took a while to catch up – five weeks went by before it scratched the British charts – but it finally landed at number 42 on the UK Singles Chart in August, reaching number one in September. Which led to its release on the United Staes, where it was instantly launched to the top of the charts, making Douglas the first Jamaican artist to reach those heights. It eventually became one of the best-selling singles of all time, selling over 11 million records.

Carl Douglas, who had already had a number of modest hits in the UK chart, became one of the most famous single hits wonders.

“Kung Fu Fighting” was caused by four Chau brothers (in Chinese, Chau), four brothers born between 1896 and 1907, who founded what would become Hong Kong’s largest film production company in 1925. In 1958, they opened what was then the largest The world’s privately owned studio, Movietown.

Before shifting the company’s focus to television production in 1987, they produced around 1,000 films, among them some of the most successful and influential Chinese language films of all time. They have also essentially popularized the kung fu genre, which differs from traditional Chinese “wuxia” martial arts films in that it dispenses with the fictional element of these films and often transfers stories into a more “realistic” contemporary setting. There’s no wired action in a kung fu movie, the actors don’t seem to fly like they did, for example, Ang Lee’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, the popular wuxia revival from 2000.

In 1965, the Shaw Brothers made a conscious decision to focus on action-driven kung fu films featuring actors chosen primarily for their athletic prowess rather than their acting. They also decided to dub most of these films into English, initially for the UK market which, as a British protectorate, had easy access to Hong Kong. This paved the way for what became known as the 1973 kung fu craze, a global phenomenon that had kids on the streets performing mock martial arts moves that inspired Douglas to write his song.

After Shaw Brothers’ production of “Five Fingers of Death” (also known as “King Boxer”) starring Indonesian-born actor Lo Liehing, which was launched in the United States in March and shot to the top of the weekly box office, more than 30 Chinese military hit arts movies role American cinema. On May 16, Chinese martial arts films took the top three at the box office – “Fists of Fury”, Bruce Lee’s second biggest movie, “Deep Thrust” (renamed from “Lady Whirlwind” to capitalize on the popularity of “Deep Throat”) and ” Five fingers to die.”

“Fists of Fury,” https://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2022/jan/14/kung-fu-craze-comes-home-in-8-dvd-set/ “Hammer of God” https://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2022/jan/14/kung-fu-craze-comes-home-in-8-dvd-set /www.arkansasonline.com/news/2022/jan/14/kung-fu-craze-comes-home-in-8-dvd-set/ “Karado: The Hong Kong Flash,” https://www.arkansasonline.com. com/news/2022/jan/14/kung-fu-craze-come-home-in-8-dvd-set/ “Enter the Dragon” https://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2022/jan/14/ kung-fu-craze-come-home-in-8-dvd-set / “Shanghai Killers” https://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2022/jan/14/kung-fu-craze-come-home- in-8-dvd-set / “The Chinese Connection” and “Deadly China Doll” have been at the top of the US box office for at least a week.

Of course, this kung fu craze didn’t happen overnight.

Lee became familiar to American fans during his time as Green Hornet Cato in the 1966-1967 season (although it should be noted that “The Green Hornet” only lasted one season). Or maybe you could go back to Spencer Tracy playing a veteran throwing an unmasked knife with a hand-throw — karate chops — in 1955’s “Bad Day at Black Rock.”

The US Air Force Academy made judo a sought-after class in the 1950s, and most dependent children living on air bases in the 1960s were exposed to it. (I made it to the green belt before indicating my interest.)

But it was the success of Kung Fu, the TV series starring Hollywood descendant David Carradine as Kwai Chang Kaen, a half-American Shaolin monk who traveled through the American Old West armed only with his spiritual training and insane martial arts skills that debuted. In 1972, this led to Warner Bros. Seize the opportunity to partner with Shaw Brothers to distribute Five Fingers of Death in the United States

Arrow Video, one of my favorite distributors, released Shawscope Volume One: Limited Edition Box ($179) which consists of eight Blu-ray discs containing 12 films produced by Shaw Brothers Studio during the 1970s.

Some of you will be excited about this, and some of you now desperately want to own it.

I wasn’t, like my ruthless contemporary Quentin Tarantino (born 1963), one of those geek video box hunters who sought VHS copies of the movies shown to camp at the Kung Fu Theatre. I doubt I was aware of the Shaw Brothers logo until Tarantino sparked interest in the company and its films in the 1990s.

My nascent cinematic passion was more of a Western strain—in the early ’80s, I honestly subscribed to cable channel Playboy for late-night shows like Federico Fellini’s “Armarcord”, Marco Ferreri’s “La Grand Bouffe” and Tinto Brass’ https: //www. arkansasonline.com/news/2022/jan/14/kung-fu-craze-comes-home-in-8-dvd-set/”Caligula. (Of the latter, Roger Ebert wrote of the consensus when he called it “disgusting rubbish, utterly worthless, shameful…. In the two hours of this movie I watched, there were no scenes of joy, natural pleasure, or good sensual delight. That, there was a sickening journey into cruel and sad fantasies.” Yes, but I wanted to see for myself. Ebert was right though it wasn’t all Brass’s fault – he wanted to make caustic political satire. His producers wanted pornography to be portrayed as art.)

Where I grew up we didn’t get grindhouse movies in theaters; It was a big city experience. I watched “Enter the Dragon” and a few leftover films from Hong Kong and Taiwan on drive-throughs; I was vaguely familiar with some of the films that I now know bear the Shaw Brothers imprint.

But by the time Tarantino slapped the Shawscope logo on the front of the 2003 movie “Kill Bill: Vol. 1,” I had a vague understanding of what it represented—a kind of primal shock that glorified the physical abilities of elite athletes. Poorly synchronized dubbing was not important. And no cookie cutter plots. It was all about the combat choreography and the attractiveness of her stars.

I missed the opportunity to watch these films in an indoor theater within the city, but Arrow Video’s set allows me to try them in a home video setting. It’s not the same thing, but it’s interesting. Many of the films on the set are directed by Chang Cheh or his choreographer Lau Kar-leung. Some of them are set in the period when the Chinese, especially in the south, were rebelling against the Manchu and Qing dynasty, who destroyed the Shaolin Temple, which was really an important center for kung fu education. Other events, such as “Chinatown Kid” are set in contemporary times.

One of the more interesting titles is 1977’s “The Mighty Peking Man,” a gritty movie about the Japanese monster film genre of Kaiju (“Strange Beast”) who plays like the sexist “King Kong.” (Tarantino’s own Rolling Thunder Pictures re-released a restored version of the film in 1999.)

Another thing about the Shawscope bundle – while this column isn’t about investing tips – limited-edition Arrow Video sets have been known to skyrocket in value after their release. It’s not inconceivable that, a year or two from now, Shawscope Volume One might sell for much more than the label price on eBay.

email:

pmartin@adgnewsroom.com

Five fingers to die

Leave a Comment