The epitome of a 1960s wuxia movie. The storyline and characters in Dragon Gate Inn are very simple, a triumph of Hu’s distinctive style. The action centres on the comings and goings of a small guesthouse, with particular attention paid to the props and set. As the film progresses, characters move in and out of the guesthouse and the fighting becomes increasingly intense. The scenes are precisely executed and varied, never once becoming repetitive, despite the close focus on the guesthouse. Hu was an expert in creating special effects to show feats of superhuman ability, producing some fast, fierce and truly jaw-dropping fight scenes. As a martial arts film, Dragon Gate Inn far surpassed anything else in its era, elevating the martial arts genre to a status far beyond what it had ever achieved before. —International Film Festival Rotterdam
King Hu (traditional Chinese: 胡金銓; simplified Chinese: 胡金铨; pinyin: Hú Jīnquán, April 29, 1931 – January 14, 1997) was a Hong Kong and Taiwan-based Chinese film director whose Wuxia films brought Chinese cinema to new technical and artistic heights. It was his films Come Drink With Me (大醉侠, 1966) and Dragon Gate Inn (龍門客棧, 1967) which inaugurated a new generation of wuxia films in the late 1960s. He is also a noted scriptwriter and set designer.
Hu was born in Beijing to a line of well-established Mandarin family originated from Da Ming, Hebei. His grandfather was the governor of Henan in late Qing Dynasty. He emigrated to Hong Kong in 1949.
After moving to Hong Kong, Hu worked in a variety of occupations, such as advertising consultant, artistic designer and producer for a number of media companies, as well as a part-time English tutor. In 1958 he joined the Shaw Brothers Studio as set decorator, actor, scriptwriter and assistant director. Under the influence of Taiwanese… read more
Cinemas greatest realization of 'Gesamtkunstwerk': a totality of arts in martial, music, theatre, painting, calligraphy and aesthetic visual design in celebration of a nation's finest culture all delineated with the modern medium of film. Operatic with grand leitmotifs in classical tradition of simulated staged-action cut with the patented technique of 'glimpse', King Hu's yin-styled wuxia (here with utmost heroic bravura) is the pinnacle of filmmaking.
Intense! The first half hour is especially spectacular, once our mysterious man shows up at the inn, and the tension that follows. The preludes to any fight scenes are just as tense and nail baiting as the action itself. The mental mind games and stand offs that leave me throwing my furniture out the window in frustration. The action scenes, especially in the second half, are fluid; utterly beautiful.