Circle Of Iron – 2-Disc Special Edition (aka The
B- Sound: B- Extras: C Film: C
had developed the TV series Kung-Fu
as a star-vehicle for himself, but the network and studio thought he was “too
Chinese” to play Chinese and David Carradine became Caine instead. Fortunately for Lee, he started making
feature films and became a sensation. As
his former TV series became a hit, he was making among the best and most
remembered of the first Martial Arts cycle of films in the 1970s like Enter The Dragon. He was working on a project called The Silent Flute when his untimely
death shocked the world.
made to capitalize on a Lee craze that followed his loss, the film (also known
as Circle Of Iron, the title this
new DVD set from Blue Underground is being issued under) was finally made in
1978 and Carradine was hired to play multiple roles ala Peter Sellers in
Kubrick’s 1965 classic Dr. Strangelove. It does not work, making this more confusing
than coherent and never works itself out.
Did Lee really plan to do all these roles?
Cooper runs around as Cord, the Beastmaster-looking
protagonist who goes on a so-so quest for truth and enlightenment. This includes philosophy that might make
sense if it was more thought out, but is half-witted, screwy, suspect and
incomplete. Even the first draft has
issues in that respect, but it gets worse with the final film. Many post-Lee Martial Arts films tried this
on a yellow pulp book level, but this film really thinks it knows what it is
talking about when it definitely does not.
forgettable and even appearances from Roddy McDowall, Christopher Lee and Eli
Wallach make this nothing more than a curio.
However, it is the kind of alternate cinema Blue Underground specializes
in, especially now that Anchor Bay has become Starz with their self-productions
on an upswing. Blue Underground expects
a cult rediscovery of the film and even if this critic does not like the film
which is possible considering how they have gone all out for this set.
anamorphically enhanced 1.66 X 1 image has its share of grain and shows its age
at times, but it is also often colorful, clean and nicely shot by Ronnie
Taylor, fresh off of Ken Russell’s film of The Who’s Rock Opera Tommy (1975) and does a nice job of
shooting the film with a certain energy that helps it out. The case claims a new High Definition
transfer and we believe them, which means we look forward to its release in
either HD format. The original theatrical
monophonic sound is here in Dolby Digital 2.0 English and French, but the
upgraded Dolby Digital 5.1 EX and especially DTS ES 6.1 showing off Bruce
Smenton’s score and preserving the spirit of the sound mix by not tampering
with the dialogue or sound stems.
include a full length audio commentary hosted by director Richard Moore, theatrical
trailers and TV Spots on DVD 1, while DVD 2 has Playing The Silent Flute - Interview with Carradine, The Producer - Interview with
Co-Producer Paul Maslansky, Karate Master
- Interview with Martial Arts Coordinator Joe Lewis, audio interview with co-writer
Stirling Silliphant, Bruce Lee's The
Silent Flute: A History by Davis Miller & Klae Moore, Poster/Still
Gallery and a DVD-ROM of the first draft script by Lee, James Coburn &
Silliphant. At least this is
- Nicholas Sheffo