In the UK most of the fans emerged from the WEEKEND Late Night Kung Fu Cinema In America the kung fu movies most definitely became a cult following amongst many Kung Fu cinema-goers of the early '70s in New York. However, our American counterpart was not exposed to the independent company's on a large scale as we were in the UK simply because the UK was in control of Hong Kong. Most of the American collectors were exposed to SHAW BROTHERS movies and the great Jimmy Wang Yu movies.
TThe most sought-after movies amongst the Americans today are still SHAW BROTHERS movies "and too right to" SHAW BROTHERS movies are still today the best. We Brits had access to SHAW BROTHERS via Hong Kong contacts, and we were hunting movies such as 2 ON THE ROAD, WARRIORS 2, and PRODIGAL SON. The Americans were hunting down movies such as 5 VENOMS, MASTER OF DISASTER (aka TREASURE HUNTERS), and ONE ARM BOXER starring Jimmy Wang Yu.
The American die-hard collectors were fanatical about Gordon Lui whom they called MASTER KILLER. Whilst we in the UK was crazy about Liang Kar Yan who we in the UK named him BEARDY. Make no mistake we in the UK all loved Gordon Lui just as much, however, we named him SANTA aka SANTE from the movie 36 CHAMBERS OF SHAOLIN. It's interesting to know that Kung fu movies also reached the WEST INDIES such as Jamaica where Liang Kar Yan was nicknamed THE BRIGADIER.So many Hong Kong Movie favorite stars got nicknames from both sides of the continent. The Brits became the leaders in Kung fu movies in regards to what we call INDEPENDENT flicks (this means various company's except for the big names) whilst our American counterpart became the masters in SHAW BROTHERS movies that was all dubbed in English.
Even as late as the late 90's the Americans had SHAW movies English Dubbed we Brits couldn't get hold of, and these were days of Collectors hoarding movies strictly for trading purposes like precious gems by the American collectors.
The Americans had mainly English dubbed movies whilst we were in the UK we had Kung Fu movies in the original language namely Mandarin with English subtitles.
The cinemas in the UK and US were bombarded with kung fu movies in most of the main cities such as London in the UK and New York in the US. Then it spiraled out to all the major cities in the US and UK in the mid ’70s especially after the release of Fist Of Fury and The Big Boss with Bruce Lee in all the major cities of the world.
Hong Kong production companies promoted major distributions operation throughout the world with English dubbed Kung Fu movies on VHS & Betamax throughout the mid-’80s that started the early Kung Fu Collectors era.
FLK started as a VHS store in 1992 selling VHS RARE KUNG FU Movies, and we became a well-known store in Clapham, London, UK. Many collectors came to our shop to buy RARE VHS tapes for several years.
Our main customers were from the US up until this very day. It's fair to say the US has the largest fans base in the world besides the UK, Germany, France, Italy, and Netherlands.
Many collectors were engrossed by the classic action scenes of the late '70s/'80s due to the excellent choreography that emerged. However, the 60's/70's was not overlooked for its' diverse compilation of Chinese actors displaying classic swordplay. And of course, there was PUNCH AND BLOCK. A large collection of classic SHAPES & PUNCH & BLOCK movies emerge hand in hand with the CLASSIC SWORDPLAY movies. The question is which of the 2 cities had the most popular titles in the mainstream, by far it was the Americans.
The American Kung Fu movie-goers of '70s '80s were struck by PUNCH & BLOCK while we in the UK were enticed by SHAPES & CLASSIC SWORDPLAY. The die-hards in the UK became more familiar with PUNCH & BLOCK after a streamline of releases in the early '80s. Our American counterparts were overwhelmed by Punch & Block movies with big HK names such as Jimmy wang Yu, Lo Lieh and Chan Sing was introduced to them on the mainstream. SHAW BROTHERS started to release the GREAT SHAPES classic's such as Gordon Liu Classic movies MARTIAL CLUB, (with the famous alleyway fight scene) and many more such as:-The WARNER BROTHERS early SHAW releases in the UK.
The Germans, French, Italians hit the GENRE by storm with many releases in the '70s that was unknown to the rest of the world. In saying this the censoring organisations were brutal in Germany and this made many fans reluctant to collect German versions of Kung Fu movies. The US was hell-bent on Pan & Scan aka Fullscreen whilst the Germans. French and Italian releases were widescreen letterbox picture quality.
Collectors became very conscious in regards to many movies being CUT due to various countries having different censoring rules. The US and French movies were not so frivolous on CUT scenes movies as the GERMANS who basically butchered a large majority of their releases and the UK who were concerned with EXTREME VIOLENCE in Kung Fu movies such as the Bruce Lee releases that had Cut Nunchaku fight scenes CUT.
Till this day many fans are in pursuit of the famous SAW IN THE HEAD scene that was alleged to be CUT from THE BIG BOSS.
Then we had movies with dual endings specifically for different audiences in different countries such as Jimmy Wang Yu’s Zatoichi and the One-Armed Swordsman, which had one ending where Jimmy Wang Yo kills Zatoichi for the Chinese audience and the other with Zatoichi killing Jimmy Wang Yu for the Japanese audience.