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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
  • Mighty Peking Man (Audio commentary by Travis Crawford)

    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...

  • Brand new interview with suit designer Keizo Murase

    A brand new interview with suit designer Keizo Murase, filmed in 2021 by Daisuke Sato and Yoshikazu Ishii.

  • Interview with director Ho Meng-hua

    An interview with director Ho Meng-hua, filmed in 2003 by Frédéric Ambroisine.

  • Interview with star Ku Feng

    An interview with star Ku Feng, filmed in 2004 by Frédéric Ambroisine.

  • Challenge of The Masters

    1976 • Hong Kong • Directed by Chia-Liang Liu

    After masterminding the spellbinding martial arts choreography on dozens of Shaw Brothers’ biggest hits, Lau Kar-Leung became an extraordinary director in his own right. His second film, the thrilling and deeply personal Challenge of the Masters, dra...

  • Challenge of The Masters (English version)

    1976 • Hong Kong • Directed by Chia-Liang Liu

    After masterminding the spellbinding martial arts choreography on dozens of Shaw Brothers’ biggest hits, Lau Kar-leung became an extraordinary director in his own right. His second film, the thrilling and deeply personal Challenge of the Masters, dra...

  • Newly filmed appreciation of Lau Kar-leung by film critic & historian Tony Rayns

    A newly filmed appreciation of Lau Kar-leung by film critic and historian Tony Rayns.

  • Interview with star Gordon Liu

    An interview with star Gordon Liu, filmed in 2002 by Frédéric Ambroisine.

  • Executioners from Shaolin

    1977 • Hong Kong • Directed by Chia-Liang Liu

    Having choreographed the action for many of Chang Cheh’s ‘Shaolin Temple’ films, director Lau Kar-leung used his inimitable talents and deeply-felt understanding of kung fu history to create his own idiosyncratic take on the same historical legends i...

  • Executioners from Shaolin (English version)

    1977 • Hong Kong • Directed by Chia-Liang Liu

    Having choreographed the action for many of Chang Cheh’s ‘Shaolin Temple’ films, director Lau Kar-leung used his inimitable talents and deeply-felt understanding of kung fu history to create his own idiosyncratic take on the same historical legends i...

  • Interview with star Chen Kuan-tai

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

  • Chinatown Kid

    1977 • Hong Kong • Directed by Cheh Chang

    One of director Chang Cheh’s most inarguable talents was discovering new on-screen talent and catapulting them to stardom, and few stars shone brighter than the cheeky, handsome Alexander Fu Sheng. A very contemporary deviation from the usual period sett...

  • Chinatown Kid (English version)

    1977 • Hong Kong • Directed by Cheh Chang

    One of director Chang Cheh’s most inarguable talents was discovering new on-screen talent and catapulting them to stardom, and few stars shone brighter than the cheeky, handsome Alexander Fu Sheng. A very contemporary deviation from the usual period sett...

  • Elegant Trails: Fu Sheng

    A featurette on the actor produced by Celestial Pictures in 2005

  • Select scene video commentary by co-star Susan Shaw

    A selected scene video commentary by co-star Susan Shaw from 2021.

  • The Five Venoms

    1978 • Hong Kong • Directed by Cheh Chang

    After over a decade of discovering some of the hottest talents in Hong Kong action cinema, director Chang Cheh outdid himself with the formation of the all-powerful posse of kung fu experts known to fans as the Venom Mob. Though the members of the group ...

  • The Five Venoms (English version)

    1978 • Hong Kong • Directed by Cheh Chang

    After over a decade of discovering some of the hottest talents in Hong Kong action cinema, director Chang Cheh outdid himself with the formation of the all-powerful posse of kung fu experts known to fans as the Venom Mob. Though the members of the group ...

  • The Five Venoms (Audio commentary by critic Simon Abrams)

    1978 • Hong Kong • Directed by Cheh Chang

    After over a decade of discovering some of the hottest talents in Hong Kong action cinema, director Chang Cheh outdid himself with the formation of the all-powerful posse of kung fu experts known to fans as the Venom Mob. Though the members of the group ...

  • Interview with star Lo Meng

    An interview with star Lo Meng, filmed in 2003 by Frédéric Ambroisine.

  • Crippled Avengers

    1978 • Hong Kong • Directed by Cheh Chang

    After achieving instant icon status as the stars of The Five Venoms, the Venom Mob collaborated with director Chang Cheh once again in their most unhinged and spectacular effort yet, Crippled Avengers, which also saw the return to Shaw Brothers of kung f...

  • Crippled Avengers (English version)

    1978 • Hong Kong • Directed by Cheh Chang

    After achieving instant icon status as the stars of The Five Venoms, the Venom Mob collaborated with director Chang Cheh once again in their most unhinged and spectacular effort yet, Crippled Avengers, which also saw the return to Shaw Brothers of kung f...

  • Chang Cheh: The Master

    A featurette about the director produced by Celestial Pictures in 2003.

  • Dirty Ho

    1979 • Hong Kong • Directed by Chia-Liang Liu

    After the international success of The 36th Chamber of Shaolin, star Gordon Liu and his director brother Lau Kar-leung drew upon the Chinese legend of the imperial prince travelling in secret amongst the common people for what many argue to be their ...

  • Introduction to Dirty Ho

    A newly filmed appreciation of Dirty Ho and Heroes of the East by film critic and historian Tony Rayns.