|Rare Kung Fu Collectors History and Guidelines|
History Of Rare Kunk Fu Scene
Rare kung fu has become the most sought after commodity amongst Kung Fu film fanatic's in the past 15 to 20 years. Its great demand started with movies buffs from the 60's 70's Genre who were determined to find their favorite classic kung fu movies that they had seen in the Late Night Kung fu Cinema era. These were the days when Shaw Brothers Studio's, Golden Harvest, and many other smaller studios dubbed many movies in English and flooded the west with classic kung fu. The UK first classic Kung fu movie to be shown on general release was KING BOXER staring Lo Lieh a Shaw Brothers classic movie, shown in 1972 at Leicester square cinema. It was such a hit at that time, the cinema owners themselves were surprised. Bruce Lee's FIST OF FURY was shown at the Piccadilly RIALTO for 6 months with a full house almost every weekend. ENTER THE DRAGON was released in January 14th 1973 at the WARNER west end cinema. I remember the day well, the cinema was lapped to a circumference with prospects wanting to see Bruce Lee's latest movies. This period would invariably determine that the movie goers of that period early 70's have become the die hard collectors of today (The True Collectors of Today). Die hard collectors wanted everything and anything that was to them a Kung Fu classic, without being squeamish as to quality of the picture, nor were they concerned whether or not it was fully watchable. At that time it was classified as being extremely rare to come by. The late Night cinema dominated for many years in London cinema's such as Camberwell Odeon in 1974 and then it moved to Brixton ACE cinema run by 2 English brothers Peter and Richard. At that time the audience was predominately afro-Caribbean in the London areas. The afro-Caribbean audience were noisy and extremely excited while watching Kung fu movies and almost turned this fanaticism into a cult following.
The Cult Beginning
In America the kung fu movies most definitely became a cult following amongst many Kung Fu cinema goers of the early 70's. However our American counterpart was not exposed to the independent company's on a large scale as we were in the UK. Most of the American collectors were exposed to SHAW BROTHERS movies and the great Jimmy Wang Yu movies. The most sought after movies amongst the Americans today is still SHAW BROTHERS movies "and too right to" SHAW BROTHERS movies are still today the best. While the Brits were hunting movies such as 2 ON THE ROAD, WARRIORS 2 and PRODIGAL SON the Americans were hunting down movies such as 5 VENOMS, MASTER OF DISASTER (aka TREASURE HUNTERS) and ONE ARM BOXER staring Jimmy Wang Yu. The American die hard collectors were fanatical about Gordon Lui whom they called MASTER KILLER. Whilst we in the UK were crazy about Liang Kar Yan who we in the UK called BEARDY. Make no mistake we in the UK all loved Gordon Lui just as much, however we called him SANTE from the movie 36 CHAMBERS OF SHAOLIN. It's interesting to know that Kung fu movies also reached the WEST INDIES such as Jamaica were Liang Kar Yan was nicknamed THE BRIGADIER. So many Hong Kong Movie favorite stars got nicknames from both sides of the continent. The Brits became the leaders in Kung fu movies in regards to what we call INDEPENDENT flicks (this means various company's with the exception of the big names) whilst our American counterpart became the masters in SHAW BROTHERS movies. Even as late as the late 90's the Americans had SHAW movies we Brits couldn't get and they were hoarded like precious gems by the American collectors.
Genre Collectors Periods
Many collectors were engrossed by the classic action scenes of the late 70's/80's due the excellent choreography that emerged, however the 60's/70's were not over looked for its diverse compilation of Chinese actors displaying classic swordplay. And of course there was PUNCH AND BLOCK aka BASHERS. A large collection off classic PUNCH & BLOCK movies emerge hand in hand with the CLASSIC SWORDPLAY movies. The Question is which was better. The Americans Kung Fu movie goers of 70's 80's were struck by PUNCH & BLOCK while we in the UK were sliced by CLASSIC SWORDPLAY however the die hards in the UK got converted by PUNCH & BLOCK after a streamline of releases in the early 80's having said this our American counterpart weren't convinced until JIMMY WANG YU was introduced to them on the mainstream.
SHAW BROTHERS started to release the GREAT SHAPES classic's such Liu Chia Liang Classic movies like MARTIAL CLUB, (the famous alley way fight scene) and many more such as:-
The WARNER BROTHERS early SHAW releases in the UK