Not too long ago we had a great discussion about the greatest martial arts movies. As expected, Enter The Dragon came up quite a few times. It’s hard to find an admirer of physical culture who isn’t also a Bruce Lee fan. And there probably aren’t many Bruce Lee fans that don’t love this movie. I’ve always like reading about the stories behind films I enjoy–I’m not particularly interested in a behind-the-scenes peek at anything starring Ashton Kutcher.
But The Making of Enter The Dragon, however–right on. Written by ETD director Robert Clause, this book gives a great look at many of the actors involved, the processes that were both more and less challenging than expected, and of course, a look at Bruce Lee from an insider’s perspective.
I have not read other books about this film, but if what Clause writes is accurate, the story about the making of the film is pretty interesting in its own right.
A few subjects that stood out and a few that made me laugh:
- Lee and the scriptwriter had an increasingly antagonistic relationship. The writer would write dialogue for Bruce containing as many “Rs” as possible, since he had trouble saying the letter.
- Bruce Lee was very nervous about how the movie would be received. It was difficult for Clouse to get him to shoot on schedule.
- Many of the extras for the fight scenes came from rival gangs, so when the director would cut a fight scene, sometimes they just kept fighting.
- The scene with Bob Wall and the broken bottles had a pretty sinister backstory. Lee was injured by a mistake and was apparently plotting a lethal revenge on the actor during the reshoot as a face-saving measure.
- Chinese women who were not call girls could/would not play them in a movie, so Clouse was forced to hire real working girls and then pay them way more than the other extras, since they would be losing money otherwise. the other extras were not happy about this.
- Bruce would sit with the crew and did not want special treatment.
- The Chinese actor who played Hahn was much older than he looked and a double had to be used during the final scenes–Lee could not slow down enough for the fight to look natural with the older man.
Aside from the history, this book has some fantastic photos, many of which I had not seen elsewhere. A treat for fans of The Dragon.
Also, this was part of the Dewey Reading Project. If you’re looking for a way to expand your horizons and reading habits, take a look!