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HailChina! Post time: 2019-1-16 09:48
Well it was The Green Hornet that made Bruce Lee famous in Hong Kong and he returned to Hong Kong ...
he returned to Hong Kong on the advice of Hollywood producer Fred Wientruab to make a movie that he could showcase to Hollywood
That says it all. Why would an American-born Chinese like him be denied a chance to prove his worth in Hollywood and instead was allegedly "given advice" by a Hollywood producer? Hadn't he proven his abilities already in his sidekick role in "The Green Hornet" where it was obvious to any impartial observer that his martial arts ability was much better than the main white actor?
Then it was even more puzzling that David Carradine, a white man, was chosen instead to star in the Kung Fu series (1972-5). David knew nothing about martial arts when he began in that series. Instead, it was his acting career which prompted him to START to learn martial arts.
Yes, David Carradine was cast in the leading role as peace-loving Shaolin monk, Kwai Chang Caine, in the television series Kung Fu (1972–1975). Curiously, the same white actor, who knew nothing about Kung Fu when the series started, was also selected to play Frankenstein in the film "Death Race 2000" in 1975, and as 'Bill' in the subsequent Kill Bill films (2003–2004). And the weird white guy's life ended in 2009 by erotic self-asphyxiation (hanging himself for erotic sensations by a rope at a hotel room in Bangkok, Thailand).
So I'm not so sure you could call the Golden Harvest films Chinese movies exactly.
Golden Harvest was 100% Chinese. It was owned, financed and managed by Chinese operatives. Maybe our difference here is whether you consider Hong Kong enterprises in the same category as Mainland ones before Hong Kong was returned to China on July 1, 1997.
I don't think we should be given all the credit - in many ways Bruce Lee benefitted from the Kung Fu craze of the time
Everyone Chinese was in vogue at the time due to the Nixon Visit, but Bruce burst onto the screen before Nixon's visit in 1972. By 1973 he had died. There was no Kung Fu craze before he helped to propel it to the forefront with his "Big Brother from Tangshan" or "Fists of Fury" which had nothing to do with Hollywood. The real frenzy was the Chinese culture frenzy. So David Carradine was cast in the role of a half-bred with the weird name Kwai Chang Caine even though he didn't look like a half-bred at all.
Bruce Lee may have became the symbol of the kung fu craze but I think it would have happened whether he existed or not.
My perspective is different from yours. Although he certainly wasn't the only person engaged in martial art movies, his blockbuster success in Fists of Fury was the main reason the craze came into being. Without him, it wouldn't have been that way. Just like without Mohammed Ali, boxing wouldn't have become what it was.