Shawscope Volume One

Shawscope Volume One

After an undisputed reign at the peak of Hong Kong’s film industry in the 1960s, Shaw Brothers (the studio founded by real-life brothers Run Run and Runme Shaw) found their dominance challenged by up-and-coming rivals in the early 1970s. They swiftly responded by producing hundreds of the most iconic action films ever made, revolutionising the genre through the backbreaking work of top-shelf talent on both sides of the camera as well as unbeatable widescreen production value, much of it shot at ‘Movietown’, their huge, privately-owned studio on the outskirts of Hong Kong.

This inaugural collection by ARROW presents twelve jewels from the Shaw crown, all released within the 1970s, kicking off in 1972 with Korean director Chung Chang-wha’s King Boxer, the film that established kung fu cinema as an international box office powerhouse when it hit Stateside cinemas under the title Five Fingers of Death. From there we see Chang Cheh (arguably Shaw’s most prolific director) helm the blood-soaked brutality of The Boxer from Shantung and two self-produced films in his ‘Shaolin Cycle’ series, Five Shaolin Masters and its prequel Shaolin Temple, before taking a detour into Ho Meng-hua’s King Kong-inspired Mighty Peking Man, one of the most unmissably insane giant monster films ever made. Chang’s action choreographer Lau Kar-leung then becomes a director in his own right, propelling his adoptive brother Gordon Liu to stardom in Challenge of the Masters and Executioners from Shaolin. Not to be outdone, Chang introduces some of Shaw’s most famous faces to the screen, including Alexander Fu Sheng fighting on the streets of San Francisco in Chinatown Kid and, of course, the mighty Venom Mob in The Five Venoms and Crippled Avengers. Finally, Lau and Liu successfully meld high kicks with humour in two of their masterworks, Heroes of the East and Dirty Ho, also featuring such fan favourites as Wong Yue, Hsiao Hao and Kara Hui.

From kickass kung fu killers to crazy kaiju knockoffs to culture clash comedies, this carefully curated and gorgeously presented selection of all-time Shaw Brothers classics merely represents the tip of the iceberg of the studio’s rich output, making it both an ideal starting point for newcomers and a treat for hardcore fans alike.

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Shawscope Volume One
  • King Boxer

    1972 • Hong Kong • Directed by Chang-hwa Jeong

    Already firmly established as the most successful film studio in Hong Kong, Shaw Brothers’ worldwide commercial breakthrough would not come from one of their lavish epics, but instead from King Boxer, a lean, mean and bloody B-movie by a Korean dire...

  • King Boxer (English version)

    1972 • Hong Kong • Directed by Chang-hwa Jeong

    Already firmly established as the most successful film studio in Hong Kong, Shaw Brothers’ worldwide commercial breakthrough would not come from one of their lavish epics, but instead from King Boxer, a lean, mean and bloody B-movie by a Korean dire...

  • King Boxer (Audio Commentary by David Desser)

    1972 • Hong Kong • Directed by Chang-hwa Jeong

    Already firmly established as the most successful film studio in Hong Kong, Shaw Brothers’ worldwide commercial breakthrough would not come from one of their lavish epics, but instead from King Boxer, a lean, mean and bloody B-movie by a Korean dire...

  • King Boxer - Newly filmed appreciation by film critic and historian Tony Rayns

    A newly filmed appreciation by film critic and historian Tony Rayns.

  • Interview with director Chung Chang-wha

    An interview with director Chung Chang-wha, filmed in 2003 and 2004 by Frédéric Ambroisine.

  • Interview with star Wang Ping

    An interview with star Wang Ping, filmed in 2007 by Frédéric Ambroisine.

  • Interview with Korean cinema expert Cho Young-jung

    An interview with Korean cinema expert Cho Young-jung, the author of Chung Chang-wha: Man of Action, filmed in 2005 by Frédéric Ambroisine.

  • Cinema Hong Kong, Part I

    Cinema Hong Kong: Kung Fu, the first in a three-part documentary on Shaw Brothers’ place within the martial arts genre produced by Celestial Pictures in 2003, featuring interviews with Jackie Chan, Jet Li, John Woo, Sammo Hung, Gordon Liu, Lau Kar-leung, Cheng Pei-pei, David Chiang and many others.

  • The Boxer from Shantung

    1972 • Hong Kong • Directed by Cheh Chang, Hsueh-Li Pao

    By 1972, Chang Cheh was already Shaw Brothers’ most prolific and well-known director with a plethora of box office hits (including the One-Armed Swordsman franchise) to his name and renowned for discovering the hottest young talents to star...

  • The Boxer from Shantung (English version)

    1972 • Hong Kong • Directed by Cheh Chang, Hsueh-Li Pao

    By 1972, Chang Cheh was already Shaw Brothers’ most prolific and well-known director with a plethora of box office hits (including the One-Armed Swordsman franchise) to his name and renowned for discovering the hottest young talents to star...

  • Interview with star Chen Kuan-tai

    An interview with star Chen Kuan-tai, filmed in 2007 by Frédéric Ambroisine.

  • Interview with assistant director John Woo

    An interview with assistant director John Woo, filmed in 2004 by Frédéric Ambroisine.

  • Interview with star David Chiang

    Interview with star David Chiang, filmed in 2003 by Frédéric Ambroisine

  • Conversation between stars Chen Kuan-tai and Ku Feng

    A conversation between stars Chen Kuan-tai and Ku Feng, filmed at a Shaw Brothers reunion in 2007 by Frédéric Ambroisine.

  • Five Shaolin Masters

    1974 • Hong Kong • Directed by Cheh Chang

    After directing a non-stop string of box office hits for Shaw Brothers, the studio gave Chang Cheh his own mini-studio (Chang’s Film Co) and the freedom to produce his own martial arts masterpieces, escaping the usual Hong Kong studio backlot to shoot in...

  • Five Shaolin Masters (English version)

    1974 • Hong Kong • Directed by Cheh Chang

    After directing a non-stop string of box office hits for Shaw Brothers, the studio gave Chang Cheh his own mini-studio (Chang’s Film Co) and the freedom to produce his own martial arts masterpieces, escaping the usual Hong Kong studio backlot to shoot in...

  • Newly filmed appreciation of Chang Cheh by film critic and historian Tony Rayns

    A newly filmed appreciation of Chang Cheh by film critic and historian Tony Rayns.

  • Elegant Trails: David Chiang

    A featurette on the actor produced by Celestial Pictures in 2003.

  • Shaolin Temple

    1976 • Hong Kong • Directed by Cheh Chang

    Returning to Hong Kong filmmaking after a spell in Taiwan, director Chang Cheh closed out his ‘Shaolin Temple Cycle’ with arguably the most star-filled and action-packed instalment yet in Shaolin Temple. Ostensibly (though not strictly) a prequel to Five...

  • Shaolin Temple (English version)

    1976 • Hong Kong • Directed by Cheh Chang

    Returning to Hong Kong filmmaking after a spell in Taiwan, director Chang Cheh closed out his ‘Shaolin Temple Cycle’ with arguably the most star-filled and action-packed instalment yet in Shaolin Temple. Ostensibly (though not strictly) a prequel to Five...

  • Elegant Trails: Ti Lung

    A featurette on the actor produced by Celestial Pictures in 2003.

  • Interview with star Kong Do

    An interview with star Kong Do, filmed in 2003 by Frédéric Ambroisine.

  • Mighty Peking Man

    1977 • Hong Kong • Directed by Meng-Hua Ho

    When Hollywood announced a big-budget remake of King Kong, Shaw Brothers followed suit with perhaps the most unhinged giant monster movie ever made: Mighty Peking Man. Fresh off directing the smash hit Black Magic horror series for Shaw, director Ho Men...

  • Mighty Peking Man (English version)

    1977 • Hong Kong • Directed by Meng-Hua Ho

    When Hollywood announced a big-budget remake of King Kong, Shaw Brothers followed suit with perhaps the most unhinged giant monster movie ever made: Mighty Peking Man. Fresh off directing the smash hit Black Magic horror series for Shaw, director Ho Men...