Things are getting busy in my world beyond this blog, so my daily postings may be a tad staggered over the next few days. Just letting you know. Anyway, one of the things I've been into lately is rediscovering the films of one of my favorite directors, Shaw Brothers stalwart Chang Cheh, and just the other night I finally saw the fully uncut version of his ONE-ARMED SWORDSMAN for the first time. So important to the martial arts genre is this 1967 wuxia drama that I thought I'd already seen it, but my previous knowledge of it came from clips seen over the years in documentaries on martial arts cinema. In many ways, ONE-ARMED SWORDSMAN really set the narrative template for this kind of thing for the next two decades, and as such it is definitely a must-see in much the same way that the original STAR WARS is a necessity for scholars of its particular genre. But don't approach ONE-ARMED SWORDSMAN as a mere piece of kung fu movie archaeology; it's a cracking good film in its own right and contains a compelling narrative that utterly hooks the viewer and makes one not care about its relatively sparse amount of fight scenes. It was the first film to make a million dollars in the Hong Kong box office and it's also the flick that made a star out of Jimmy Wang Yu, to say nothing of being director Chang's crystallization of a formula that would serve him (and the genre) well, so I highly recommend you add it to your Netflix queue. It's available in a gorgeous widescreen and subtitled edition that also contains fascinating commentary and a fun mini-documentary on Chang, so it's a fully-loaded package.
Anyway, expect a full-blown and well-deserved review of this one in the near future.