Large William is one half of the dynamic podcasting duo who bring us the fantastic Gentleman's Guide To Midnight Cinema. Week in week out alongside his brother from another mother, The Samurai, The GGTMC brings the class to the trash, covering everything from the bottom of the cinematic barrel right up to the very cream on top. Frequently laugh out loud funny, always entertaining and informative, with expert analysis on gentleman's fashions! If you like genre cinema of any type this show is for you. The GGTMC has just celebrated it's 4 year anniversary and it's 200th episode, with a fantastic look at the first three Death Wish movies. Aside from the weekly podcast, Will can also regularly be found on the GGTMC facebook group, a great community of people, but be careful, a few minutes can turn into hours on there. As a personal aside, I can't tell you how cool it felt when I first heard Will say the name A Hero Never Dies on the pleasantries at the end of their show for the first time, and if I'm honest each time since!
It's a real pleasure for me to be able to bring you not one but two lists from Will (for reasons he will explain). He has always shown a great affinity to Hong Kong cinema on the show and it's great to have been able to pin him down and see what his picks are when it comes down to the nitty gritty. Enjoy!
Firstly, I want to thank our main man here, the head hancho himself for asking me to take part in this. I love lists, and to be in such esteemed company is an honor. Hong Kong Cinema has been an integral part of my life, for quite some time. In fact, if it wasn't for seeing Enter the Dragon at 5years old, and convincing my parents to buy me one of those black satin posters of Bruce, I don't know where I'd be cinematically. Enter the Dragon was the first genre film I ever saw, start to finish, and Bruce was my hero (still is one of them). I mention this as I opted not to include it on my list. It's too hard to separate my feelings for it, all these years later. I do still adore it, and the blu looks sublime as an aside. Without further adieu, I decided to kick it Oily Maniac stylee, and do a Shaw and non Shaw list as it was far too hard otherwise. I actually lost a list I had been working on for a few weeks, and I know I'm probably forgetting a few, but here goes for my Shaw list:
Shaw Brothers (in no particular order)
1. Intimate Confessions of a Chinese Courtesan.
Love this film, love the poster, and wish it got more play, but then again, it's not conventional Shaw stuff, now is it?
2. Legendary Weapons of China.
For me, Lau Kar-Leung> Cheng Cheh, ALL DAY. while I appreciate the aesthetic of Cheh, Lau's ability to get stunning technical form on screen is astounding. This film is no exception
3. Holy Flame of the Martial World.
Simply put, the most bugshit, insane film I've ever seen from a country known for doing bugshit insane better than anyone. Even Ngai Kai Lam would be like " whoa! THAT is some CRAZY shit!"
4. Black Tavern.
This was a holy grail for me that I finally had to track down via a Thai dvd, and I'm glad I did; I often wondered why more Shaw titles didn't go the Spaghetti Western route of neither "white hat", nor "black hat", but "grey hat", and with this film, they do. It's one of the juicier films, plot-wise of theirs I've seen. Shih Szu REALLY holds her own with the boys in this one.
5. Crippled Avengers.
My favorite Shaw title. Inspired lunacy. and easily my favorite Cheng Cheh joint. It combines his flair for visuals with the technical prowess of LKL's films..
6. 8 Diagram pole Fighter.
My favorite Gordon Liu film. The finale in this is one of a handful of films that left my jaw on the floor. Liu never seems to get enough love, it seems. Get better Gordon!
7. Dirty Ho.
Speaking of Liu and Lau joints; here is another gem. I really give points to creativity in kung-fu films, and this one has it on full display. From the tea pouring scene, to the antique shopping sequence, it really is a joy to behold.
8. Heroes of the East.
Hey, whaddaya know? More Liu/Lau love! This one works for me as it looks at the Japan/Chinese aspect in a rather playful, and respectful way. It's almost like Billy Wilder doing a Kung-fu film.
9. Boxer from Shantung.
My second favorite Cheng Cheh film. What really strikes me, is how nasty and downtrodden it is. Really, it plays like a certain cocaine kingpin rise and fall film from Mr. De Palma from a few years later.
10. Avenging Eagle.
Another one I quite dig due to it's great production values and the fact that it steps outside the usual plot trappings of the genre.