937 Dragon Inn

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Criterion and the films on them. If it's got a spine number, it's in here. Threads may contain spoilers.
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swo17
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 10:25 am
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937 Dragon Inn

#1 Post by swo17 » Mon Apr 16, 2018 5:11 pm

Dragon Inn

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The art of martial-arts filmmaking took a leap into bold new territory with this action-packed tale of Ming-dynasty intrigue. After having the emperor's minister of defense executed, a power-grabbing eunuch sends assassins to trail the victim's children to a remote point on the northern Chinese border. But that bloodthirsty mission is confounded by a mysterious group of fighters who arrive on the scene, intent on delivering justice and defending the innocent. The first film King Hu made after moving to Taiwan from Hong Kong in search of more creative freedom, Dragon Inn combines rhythmic editing, meticulous choreography, and gorgeous widescreen compositions with a refinement that was new to the wuxia genre. Its blockbuster success breathed new life into a classic formula and established Hu as one of Chinese cinema's most audacious innovators.

SPECIAL FEATURES

• New 4K digital restoration, supervised by cinematographer Hua Hui-ying, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
• New interview with actor Shangkuan Ling-fung
• Interview from 2016 with actor Shih Chun
• Scene analysis by author and New York Asian Film Festival cofounder Grady Hendrix
• Newsreel footage of the film's 1967 premiere in Taipei, Taiwan
• Trailer
• New English subtitle translation
• PLUS: An essay by critic Andrew Chan

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Big Ben
Joined: Mon Feb 08, 2016 12:54 pm
Location: Great Falls, Montana

Re: 937 Dragon Inn

#2 Post by Big Ben » Mon Apr 16, 2018 6:32 pm

My only connection with this film is really seeing bits and pieces of it it in Tsai Ming Liang's Goodbye, Dragon Inn which I adored. I imagine this is similar to A Touch of Zen but significantly more manageable in terms of running time? It sounds like a siege film from what I'm reading but I'm unsure how accurate that really is.

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knives
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm

Re: 937 Dragon Inn

#3 Post by knives » Mon Apr 16, 2018 6:36 pm

It's a lot less plainly philosophical working as a much more traditional action film. It still has a lot of the brains (and politics) that makes Hu's films special, but aside from Come Drink with Me it is probably the most mainstream film of his I've seen.

Werewolf by Night

Re: 937 Dragon Inn

#4 Post by Werewolf by Night » Mon Apr 16, 2018 7:02 pm

I’m a little sad that this was not delayed in order to be paired with Goodbye Dragon Inn. That film desperately needs rescue.

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whaleallright
Joined: Sun Sep 25, 2005 12:56 am

Re: 937 Dragon Inn

#5 Post by whaleallright » Tue Apr 17, 2018 12:28 am

Among other things this movie has one of the best endings ever.

dda1996a
Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2015 6:14 am

Re: 937 Dragon Inn

#6 Post by dda1996a » Tue Apr 17, 2018 2:28 am

It's not as amazing as Touch of Zen but it is possibly the most fun wuxia film I've seen after Zen. I'm still rather happy with my MoC Hu triple pack

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movielocke
Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2008 12:44 am

Re: 937 Dragon Inn

#7 Post by movielocke » Wed May 30, 2018 1:53 am

I watched this over. The weekend since it’s leaving FilmStruck on June 1. Although I watched touch of zen twice, I just wasn’t able to like it all that much, so I was surprised at how different dragon inn is, it is immediately propulsive and extremely well paced throughout, although we don’t know the characters as well in this film, i found myself more engaged by them. And yes the final death before the “the end” title card is amazing.

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domino harvey
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Re: 937 Dragon Inn

#8 Post by domino harvey » Sat Dec 01, 2018 3:42 pm

This is my third King Hu film after A Touch of Zen and Come Drink With Me and while I enjoyed those, I think this film is easily the most successful of the three. I appreciated its breathless forward momentum and effective action movie construction. I'm not sure this offers much deeper or more impressive than pure entertainment, but that's still more than a lot of other films can say. I also thought Grady Hendrix's scene analysis was a very thorough and convincing close reading of technique, and I knew I was in good hands when I realized he'd chosen the same scene I would have singled out as the film's best!

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knives
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm

Re: 937 Dragon Inn

#9 Post by knives » Sat Dec 01, 2018 11:26 pm

I'm curious, then, what you'll think of Rain in the Mountains a.k.a. A Touch of Zen 2 which has a lot of the same propulsive entertainment of this film with an actual deep storyline that deals with politics (as here which is a tad deeper than you're giving credit for) and especially religion in a fascinating way.

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whaleallright
Joined: Sun Sep 25, 2005 12:56 am

Re: 937 Dragon Inn

#10 Post by whaleallright » Sun Dec 02, 2018 1:06 am

movielocke wrote:
Wed May 30, 2018 1:53 am
And yes the final death before the “the end” title card is amazing.
It's so strange and unexpected and memorable the way that Hu stages it in extreme long shot and then moves quickly on to the brief coda. It somehow has more impact than had he cut (pun not intended) in closer and lingered over the final blow (the way that Chang Cheh sometimes does in his wuxia). In a way it reminds me of the equally abrupt and memorable curtain line to Renoir's The Golden Coach.

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