Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Run Run Shaw Gone to Kung-Fu Heaven

By Steve Evans
Run Run Shaw, prolific producer and pioneer of cinema in China, died today at 106. Best known for ultraviolent kung-fu movies in the 1970s (and I do mean ultraviolent), he was also a producer on the Ridley Scott science fiction classic Blade Runner. 

Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill movies would not exist without the towering influence of ShawScope pictures. It's a whole other world of cinema.

The New York Times has a comprehensive obit here.

Shaw's life story would actually make a pretty good movie. With his brother, he made his first film in 1924 and both were millionaires by the 1940s. As noted in the Times obituary:

Their business boomed until the Japanese invaded the Malay Peninsula in 1941 and stripped their theaters and confiscated their film equipment. But according to Run Run Shaw, he and his brother buried more than $4 million in gold, jewelry and currency in their backyard, which they dug up after World War II and used to resume their careers."

A Shaw trailer from 1977's The Brave Archer:

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