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 The Films of Bruce Lee

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dolemike
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dolemike

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Join date : 2008-04-10

PostSubject: The Films of Bruce Lee   Fri Apr 03, 2009 9:04 pm

Lee's father Hoi-Chuen was a famous Cantonese Opera star. Thus, through his father, Bruce was introduced into films at a very young age and appeared in several short black-and-white films as a child. Lee had his first role as a baby who was carried onto the stage. By the time he was 18, he had appeared in twenty films.[3]

While in the United States from 19591964, Lee abandoned thoughts of a film career in favor of pursuing martial arts. William Dozier invited Lee for an audition, where Lee so impressed the producers with his lightning-fast moves that he earned the role of Kato alongside Van Williams in the TV series The Green Hornet. The show lasted just one season, from 1966 to 1967. Lee also played Kato in three crossover episodes of Batman. This was followed by guest appearances in a host of television series, including Ironside (1967) and Here Come the Brides (1969).


A painting of Bruce Lee as he appeared in filmIn 1969, Lee made a brief appearance in his first American film Marlowe where he played a henchman hired to intimidate private detective Philip Marlowe (played by James Garner) by smashing up his office with leaping kicks and flashing punches, only to later accidentally jump off a tall building while trying to kick Marlowe off. In 1971, Lee appeared in four episodes of the television series Longstreet as the martial arts instructor of the title character Mike Longstreet (played by James Franciscus). According to statements made primarily by Linda Lee Caldwell after Bruce's death, Bruce would later pitch a television series of his own tentatively titled The Warrior. According to Caldwell, Lee's concept was retooled and renamed Kung Fu, but Warner Bros. gave Lee no credit.[18] Instead the role of the Shaolin monk in the Wild West, known to have been conceived by Bruce,[19] was awarded to then non-martial artist David Carradine because of the studio's fears that a Chinese leading man would not be embraced by the public.[20] Books and documentaries about the show "Kung Fu" dispute Caldwell's version. According to these sources, the show was created by two writers and producers, Ed Spielman and Howard Friedlander, and the reason Lee was not cast was in part because of his ethnicity but moreso because he had a thick accent.[21]

Not happy with his supporting roles in the U.S., Lee returned to Hong Kong and was offered a film contract by legendary director Raymond Chow to star in films produced by his production company Golden Harvest. Lee played his first leading role in The Big Boss (1971) which proved an enormous box office success across Asia and catapulted him to stardom. He soon followed up his success with two more huge box office successes: Fist of Fury (1972) and Way of the Dragon (1972). For Way of the Dragon, he took complete control of the film's production as the writer, director, star, and choreographer of the fight scenes. In 1964, at a demonstration in Long Beach, California, Lee had met karate champion Chuck Norris. In Way of the Dragon Lee introduced Norris to moviegoers as his opponent in the final death fight at the Colosseum in Rome, today considered one of Lee's most legendary fight scenes.

In 1973, Lee played the lead role in Enter the Dragon, the first film to be produced jointly by Golden Harvest and Warner Bros. This film would skyrocket Lee to fame in the U.S. and Europe. However, only a few months after the film's completion and three weeks before its release, the supremely fit Lee mysteriously died. Enter the Dragon would go on to become one of the year's highest grossing films and cement Lee as a martial arts legend. It was made for US$850,000 in 1973 (equivalent to $4 million adjusted for inflation as of 2007).[22] To date, Enter the Dragon has grossed over $200 million worldwide.[23] The movie sparked a brief fad in the martial-arts, epitomized in such songs as "Kung Fu Fighting" and such TV shows as Kung Fu.

Robert Clouse, the director of Enter the Dragon, and Raymond Chow attempted to finish Lee's incomplete film Game of Death which Lee was also set to write and direct. Lee had shot over 100 minutes of footage, including outtakes, for Game of Death before shooting was stopped to allow him to work on Enter the Dragon. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, a student of Lee, also appeared in the film, which culminates in Lee's character, Hai Tien (clad in the now-famous yellow track suit) taking on the 7'2" basketball player in a climactic fight scene. In a controversial move, Robert Clouse finished the film using a look-alike and archive footage of Lee from his other films with a new storyline and cast, which was released in 1979. However, the cobbled-together film contained only fifteen minutes of actual footage of Lee (he had printed many unsuccessful takes[24]) while the rest had a Lee look-alike, Tai Chung Kim, and Yuen Biao as stunt double. The unused footage Lee had filmed was recovered 22 years later and included in the documentary Bruce Lee: A Warrior's Journey.



Selected films...

THE BIG BOSS aka FISTS OF FURY (1971)



FIST OF FURY aka THE CHINESE CONNECTION (1972)


WAY OF THE DRAGON aka RETURN OF THE DRAGON aka REVENGE OF THE DRAGON (1972)


ENTER THE DRAGON (1973)


GAME OF DEATH (1978)

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