Rest in Peace, Run Run Shaw
January 6, 2014 10:12 PM   Subscribe


The candle that burned brightest burned so very long.
posted by Artw at 10:15 PM on January 6 [6 favorites]

Wow, talk about a good run.

posted by Sphinx at 10:15 PM on January 6

Helluva run, Run Run

posted by louche mustachio at 10:22 PM on January 6 [1 favorite]

posted by Hairy Lobster at 10:26 PM on January 6

This man was responsible for so much great entertainment.

posted by dazed_one at 10:27 PM on January 6 [1 favorite]

The first time my friend and I saw his name in front of a picture, we laughed; after that, we always knew when we saw his name we were going to see a movie we loved.

posted by emcat8 at 10:28 PM on January 6 [6 favorites]

In the late 1970's, a couple of friends of mine and I got into the habit of going to a movie theater in NE Portland which ran Chinese films with English subtitles. They mainly came from Hong Kong and Taiwan, and as you might imagine they were usually pretty trashy. But there was one film we saw which was notably better than any of the others, and for years I remembered it specifically: The 36th Chamber of Shao Lin.

He was the producer.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 10:29 PM on January 6 [4 favorites]

I hit post too soon -- one thing I meant to say as well is that it's strange the NYT obit doesn't mention his association with the Ladd Company, and films like Blade Runner and The Right Stuff. I always loved that tree growing branch by branch and that "Sir Run Run Shaw in association with..." coming up on screen.
posted by emcat8 at 10:37 PM on January 6 [12 favorites]

Holy fuck, Run Run Shaw produced Blade Runner?

I didn't realize those Tyrell references were directly relevant.

Wow. Just wow.
posted by MeanwhileBackAtTheRanch at 10:39 PM on January 6


I loved the Shaw Brothers kung-fu movies when I was a teen (and let's not forget Blade Runner).
posted by MikeMc at 10:40 PM on January 6 [1 favorite]

posted by sukeban at 11:03 PM on January 6

posted by immlass at 11:08 PM on January 6

Yeah, MeanwhileBackAtTheRanch, Ladd Company produced some of the more amazing '80s films, this is from Wikipedia:
Under Warner Bros., it distributed Chariots of Fire, which won the 1981 Academy Award for Best Picture, and produced the space epic The Right Stuff, the space western Outland, Ridley Scott's sci-fi film Blade Runner, neo-noir film Body Heat and the first two Police Academy movies, amongst others.
It was really sad that even a successful franchise like the Police Academy, and Sir Run Run's financing on some of the movies, couldn't keep them afloat.
posted by emcat8 at 11:52 PM on January 6 [1 favorite]

Space Western is an odd label for outland.

Jesus. Police Academy? 1? !!!
posted by MeanwhileBackAtTheRanch at 11:59 PM on January 6

Outland is commonly described as High Noon in space, so it's not that odd.


posted by inpHilltr8r at 12:27 AM on January 7 [1 favorite]

Space Western is an odd label for outland.

That was the impression I got before I watched it.

It seems like I have never seen many of these movies, and probably never well, but I can see their legacy so:
posted by Mezentian at 12:29 AM on January 7

posted by tychotesla at 12:52 AM on January 7

Considering the sheer volume of his output, it's not unreasonable to say that he made something for everyone to enjoy.
posted by GenjiandProust at 1:08 AM on January 7

106? So those regular infusions of nubile, young, Hong Kong starlets really did work!
posted by Mister Bijou at 2:29 AM on January 7 [2 favorites]


Space Western is an odd label for outland.

If memory serves me correctly, it's a remake of High Noon IN SPACE, so why not?
posted by Gelatin at 2:33 AM on January 7

They say that his biggest mistake was turning down Bruce Lee because he wouldn't pay him $10,000 a film. And that may be, but that same year, he made The House of 72 Tenants, which outsold Enter the Dragon in the Hong Kong market, and personally, I think is the better film.

RIP Sir Run Run.

posted by PeterMcDermott at 3:04 AM on January 7

posted by Vindaloo at 4:10 AM on January 7

posted by oceanjesse at 4:12 AM on January 7

Not just the Godfather of Hong Kong film, but a direct influence on a good deal of American cinema as well. I'm glad he had a good long run.

posted by zombieflanders at 4:18 AM on January 7

posted by JoeXIII007 at 4:21 AM on January 7

He was still chairman of TVB (HK's most popular broadcaster) when he was 104. Beat that Sumner Redstone (90), Rupert Murdoch (82) and John C. Malone (72).
posted by kerplunk at 4:25 AM on January 7

Come Drink With Me is one of my favorite wuxia movies of all time.

Blade Runner is one of my favorite movies, period.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 4:33 AM on January 7 [2 favorites]

Space Western is an odd label for outland.

Have you actually seen it?
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 4:38 AM on January 7 [1 favorite]

posted by jiroczech at 4:39 AM on January 7

posted by davros42 at 5:40 AM on January 7

He was also a big name in philanthropy.

It would not be much of an overstatement to say that every major academic institution in China and in Hong Kong has at least one building named after him.

posted by C^3 at 5:41 AM on January 7

Mr. Shaw enjoyed the zany glamour of the Asian media world he helped create. He presided over his companies from a garish Art Deco palace in Hong Kong, a cross between a Hollywood mansion and a Hans Christian Andersen cookie castle. Well into his 90s he attended social gatherings with a movie actress on each arm. And he liked to be photographed in a tai chi exercise pose, wearing the black gown of a traditional mandarin.

My god, he lived in big boss mansion from his movies. I love that he lived like this.

This is bitchin' as hell, too:

Besides producing their own films in Singapore, the brothers imported foreign movies and built up a string of theaters. Their business boomed until the Japanese invaded the Malay Peninsula in 1941 and stripped their theaters and confiscated their film equipment. But according to Run Run Shaw, he and his brother buried more than $4 million in gold, jewelry and currency in their backyard, which they dug up after World War II and used to resume their careers.

I wish we all had had such garish adventures, Mr. Shaw.

posted by ignignokt at 5:45 AM on January 7 [3 favorites]

Outland is commonly described as High Noon in space

That was even the original pitch.
posted by daveje at 6:13 AM on January 7

Came in to thank him for Blade Runner and Outland (which can really ONLY be described as a space western) and the host of variously-badged Hong Kong punch fests that made up my formative movie experiences as a kid.

I had no idea he was still alive, but today the world has a little less pizzaz.

posted by The Bellman at 6:35 AM on January 7

So much excellent entertainment. And I'd forgotten the Blade Runner thing.
posted by rmd1023 at 6:36 AM on January 7


Not only Blade Runner, but also Chinese Super Ninjas, which was campy, ridiculous, cartoonishly gory, and awesome.
posted by smoothvirus at 6:48 AM on January 7

Also the platonic ideal of a kung fu movie, The Kid With the Golden Arm.
posted by Ham Snadwich at 6:57 AM on January 7

posted by detachd at 7:00 AM on January 7

While it's more fun to talk about Shaw Brothers movies, we should all also recognize that Run Run Shaw gave away a truly ridiculous amount of money during his life to build hospitals, schools, colleges and anything else that needed building, as well as simply giving money to poor people. He made Dale Carnegie look like... well, like a self-impressed tycoon, really.
posted by mightygodking at 7:02 AM on January 7 [4 favorites]

Also highly relevant, Wu Tang movie samples, which relied almost exclusively on Shaw Brothers movies.
posted by Ham Snadwich at 7:03 AM on January 7

And let us not forget one of the weirdest b-movie mashups of all time, the 1974 Shaw Bros./Hammer co-production The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires (NSFW trailer), with Peter Cushing reprising his role as Van Helsing vs. a Chinese vampire cult led by a body-switched Dracula (sadly, not Christopher Lee).
posted by Strange Interlude at 7:21 AM on January 7 [2 favorites]

posted by mstokes650 at 7:45 AM on January 7

posted by cazoo at 7:57 AM on January 7

(While I'm sure Dale Carnegie did many fine things in his life, he was no Andrew Carnegie in the tycoon dept.)

If Run Run Shaw had done nothing but help bring Blade Runner into existent, he'd of earned a RIP dot in my book:

posted by Bron at 8:16 AM on January 7 [1 favorite]


Lookee there, Five Deadly Venoms is on the tubes in its entirety! Stilted overdubbing, mechanical fight choreography, wobbly cinematography, hackneyed plot, cornball soundtrack, ruthless sound effect editing... So, so very good.
posted by the painkiller at 8:18 AM on January 7 [4 favorites]


I feel like my comment should be out of sync with the picture. Amazing life to have led.
posted by arcticseal at 8:42 AM on January 7 [4 favorites]

Lookee there, Five Deadly Venoms is on the tubes in its entirety!

One of my favorites! They also have my fave: "Challenge of the Ninja A.K.A. "Heroes of the East"
posted by MikeMc at 10:54 AM on January 7 [1 favorite]

posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 12:17 PM on January 7

Between his wuxia films and Blade Runner, I'd have to put Sir Run Run Shaw up there with George Lucas and Stan Lee in terms of influencing my zeitgeist.

posted by MrBadExample at 12:48 PM on January 7 [2 favorites]

I used to watch the Shaw Brothers films in Canada by way of channel 29 (now FOX 29) in Buffalo every weekend (I think it was on Sunday). There were many but the Kid with the Gold Arm and Five Deadly Venoms come to mind immediately. I like how the dubs used the same voices for the same actors across movies.

I'll never forget the overly dramatic, "Number 4! Lizard!" or the strangely delivered, "You're quite right". I'm still shocked that the Five Deadly Venoms hasn't been remade (or perhaps I'm unaware of a remake).

I've always wanted to create a definitive documentary called Dub that studied the dubbing policies of films throughout history, with an episode devoted to the Hong Kong cinema.
posted by juiceCake at 1:08 PM on January 7 [2 favorites]


posted by Purposeful Grimace at 1:58 PM on January 7

posted by Minus215Cee at 9:18 AM on January 12

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