Paragon of Sword and Knife, Part One
Dir: Chan Lit-bun Scr: Ling Hon Orig Story: Or Lung Sang
Set Design: Chan King-sam Art Direction: Tung Pui-sun
Cast: Connie Chan Po-chu, Suet Nei,
Kenneth Tsang Kong, Law Oi-sheung
1967 / Colour / D Beta / Cantonese / Chi & Eng subtitles / 93min
1967. The Cantonese Cinema was at a crisis. Productions were on the wane, both in terms of number and quality. Shaw Brothers released Chang Cheh’s Mandarinspeaking One-Armed Swordsman (1967) to big box office success and claimed immediate monopoly of the long-standing wuxia genre under its sleeve. Ambitious filmmakers from the Cantonese camp retaliated and Paragon of Sword and Knife (in two parts) was the answer. Directed with great verve by Chan Lit-bun, the film’s story concerns with the murder of all members of the Tso’s family by the heads of the four strongest martial sects and the subsequent revenge on them by the victim’s youngest son, who escapes death by crossing the Life or Death Bridge to seek help from two master swordsmen. Most of the film takes place in outdoors. Chan King-sam (with the help of Art Director Tung Pui-sun) designs a full range of exterior sets in the studio, including labyrinthine woods, dangerously steep cliffs, drawbridges, bamboo forests and derelict temples to match seamlessly with the location footages shot in Taiwan. The film scored, and proved there was still life to the Cantonese Cinema in the right hands.
||Cinema, Hong Kong Film Archive
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