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Kung-Fu Scholar

King Hu's DRAGON GATE INN

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King Hu's seminal sixties wuxipian DRAGON GATE INN is being reviewed on the Kung-Fu Cinema website here http://www.kungfucinema.com/. I myself wrote a piece on it many years ago on Brian Naas's View from the Brooklyn Bridge to be found here along two others texts; http://www.brns.com/pages4/fantsy66.html. Not so much a review but an essay on the historical context and the subtexts to been found in the movie. For example DRAGON GATE INN was in part meant to be King Hu's own responce to the James Bond movie craze.

A decade ago I actually saw the movie on a giant screen at a Taiwan film retrospective. Being my first sixties wuxipian I was initially dissappointed by it's quaintness but given time and further viewing I was conquered by it'S sheer cinematic beauty and intelligence. DRAGON GATE INN GATE is to me the very best wuxipian of the sixties perhaps even ever. I ranked it even over King Hu's masterpiece TOUCH OF ZEN which I consider to be basically a more artsy retelling of DRAGON GATE INN story. It's a shame that the movie is only available on a DVD edition of dubbious origin. Try to imagine the same treatment given to Kurosawa's SEVEN SAMURAI or Leone ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST. :mad:

So many of King Hu's movie still so hard to find, unvaillable or even lost. For such a great filmmaker that's quite a shame. Still at least DRAGON GATE INN is to be found somewhere. Let's just hope that Fortune star is going to edit soon both FATE OF LEE KHAN and even perhaps THE VALLIANT ONES.

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So far so good, but it doesn't inform us of the possible connection between Dragon Gate Inn and it's contemporary subtext. It's at this point however that King Hu made this surprising revelation.

'At the time I made those movies, the James Bond films were very popular, and I thought it was very wrong to make a hero of a secret service man. My films were kind of a comment on that.'

http://www.brns.com/pages4/fantsy66.html

That's fascinating. I wasn't aware that King Hu was using the "Eastern Agency" in DRAGON INN as a counter-statement to the glorification of Cold War-era espionage in the James Bond films. I actually removed a statement from my draft of the review suggesting that the Eastern Agency was not unlike the CIA in that it used illegal means to "protect" the state. In the end I chose not to politicize my review.

I could understand feeling underwhelmed had this been my first classic wuxia movie viewing. The film's quality comes out in the details. I hope I can someday see this film on the big screen, or any of Hu's films for that matter. Having seen several classic Shaw Brothers films on the big screen, including COME DRINK WITH ME sequel GOLDEN SWALLOW, it makes all the difference, especially when viewed with an appreciative audience.

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as any true collector of martial arts movies, I have wanted this movie when I found out that it existed. I love come drink with me and it is an important movies to have in ones collection, and I am going to wait until I have a perfect copy in my collection.

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If I may be so bold: look at http://www.kungfucinema.com/forums/showthread.php?t=4094

For Dragon Gate Inn I also have a nice German release with English subtitles in a weird cardboard package with a painted cover:

http://www.amazon.de/Die-Herberge-zum-Drachentor-Uncut/dp/B001E7WTCK/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=dvd&qid=1239131381&sr=1-2

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