Editor's note: This is the second in a four part series. The first part can be found if you click here
Despite the early success of Golden Harvest in the local market, Chow still harbored a desire on making it big in Hollywood with a new Chinese star. In the mid-70s, he was involved in a series of co-productions with British and Australian film companies of hybrid genre films with Cantonese and European stars. The best known of these titles were Stoner and The Man From Hong Kong, the latter featuring ex-007 George Lazenby as a kung fu fighting criminal kingpin with Jimmy Wang-Yu (a role originally written for Bruce Lee) as his nemesis, a relentless, Dirty Harry-styled HK cop. The movies were good fun but all died at their respective box-offices.
|Jackie Chan, pre-Golden Harvest, Drunken Master|
|Jackie Chan, Battle Creek Brawl|
Raymond Chow and Jackie Chan returned to Hong Kong where both were determined to make big names for themselves in the Cantonese movie industry. Hollywood could wait...
1980-1995: A Golden Era.Raymond Chow and Leonard Ho carefully planned and plotted the growth of Golden Harvest, and watched it become the biggest movie making entity since the heyday of the Shaw Brothers and Cathay dream factories from the 1950s and 60s.
In the vanguard of this expansion was Jackie Chan as star and director Chan’s films were often a ground breaking and death defying mix of action and comedy. His creative inspiration was a curious blend of Buster Keaton and Peking Opera, with a grab bag of influences in-between. The public loved Chan and his films. They also liked his screen family: a repertory of stars including Sammo Hung, Yuen Biao and Maggie Cheung.
|A Chinese Ghost Story|
The 1980s which saw the continuing rise of Golden Harvest also witnessed the decline of the Shaw Brothers Film Studio. By the early 80s, Run Run Shaw and his business partners were investing heavily in Hong Kong television and developing the TVB commercial network. In hindsight, Chow and Shaw had avoided what could have been a protracted and damaging corporate stoush. In what appeared to be a tacit agreement, both businessmen decided to concentrate on their core activities and not seriously encroach on each other's markets. Golden Harvest did, however, benefit from the stars whom were being created by the now popular TVB studio. Future big screen names such as Chow Yun-Fat, Cherie Chung, Stephen Chow, Tony Leung Chiu-Wai and many others, all began their careers with TVB, which ultimately created a Hong Kong talent pool from which Golden Harvest selected the best.
|The Soong Sisters|