Sunday, February 28, 2021

Movie Ad of the Week: NINJA STRIKES BACK (1981)

The Hong Kong production QI QIAO FENG HUANG BI YU DAO (1979) a.k.a. BRUCE TUAN'S 7 PROMISES was released to U.S. theaters by Unifilm International beginning in 1981 as NINJA STRIKES BACK, and is not to be confused with the Dick Randall production XIONG ZHONG, starring Bruce Le, which is also known as THE NINJA STRIKES BACK.

Sunday, February 14, 2021


When DEATH MASK OF THE NINJA was first issued on videotape in March 1986 by Master Arts Video, "The finest in martial arts entertainment," it was revealed to be the Shaw Brothers production SHAOLIN PRINCE with the opening credits lopped off. Since Shaw already had a distribution deal with World Northal, which released SHAOLIN PRINCE to theaters as IRON FINGERS OF DEATH in 1984 (and then sold it to television under the same title as part of their Black Belt Theater 4 package), we're pretty sure whatever movie premiered at the Cine 42 on June 12, 1981 under the title DEATH MASK OF THE NINJA was not SHAOLIN PRINCE (which didn't open in Hong Kong until 1983). Besides, our pal Shawn Johns tells us that he saw DEATH MASK OF THE NINJA at the sleazy Westdale 4 multiplex in Phoenix in October '84, and although he can't remember what movie was actually shown that day, he does know that it definitely wasn't SHAOLIN PRINCE. So the question is, what the hell movie did get released to theaters as DEATH MASK OF THE NINJA?

Utilizing photos from THE YOUNG MASTER and SPIRITUAL KUNG FU in their deceptive ad campaign, Ivory League Pictures (run by the late Ivory Lee Harris, former print controller for World Northal) premiered something called THE JACKY CHAN CONNECTION at the Times Square theater on December 30, 1983 and then proceeded to play it all over the U.S. for the next two and a half years -- yet no one seems to know what Chan movie was really being peddled under this title. In the book Dying for Action: The Life and Films of Jackie Chan, author Renée Witterstaetter states that it's TO KILL WITH INTRIGUE, but other sources claim it's SHAOLIN WOODEN MEN. Does anyone know the true identity of THE JACKY CHAN CONNECTION?

Saturday, February 13, 2021

The Endangered List (Case File #169)


Yôsuke Natsuki (Taro)
Makoto Satô (Gale)
Somegorô Ichikawa (Gen)
Izumi Yukimura (Kayo)
Chishû Ryû (Village Priest)
Akiko Wakabayashi (Sawa)
Kôshirô Matsumoto (Tasaka)
Nami Tamura (Sato)
Mannosuke Nakamura
Jun Tatara
Tadao Nakamaru
Chusha Ichikawa
Akira Tani

Directed by
Hiroshi Inagaki

Written by
Masato Ide
Hiroshi Inagaki
Takeshi Kimura

Produced by
Tomoyuki Tanaka

Cinematography by
Kazuo Yamada

Music by
Kan Ishii
Running time: 111 minutes

A Toho production

Honolulu premiere: February 14, 1962
Los Angeles premiere: September 14, 1962
New York premiere: January 14, 1964
The Honolulu Advertiser - February 16, 1962

Los Angeles Times - September 19, 1962

South China Morning Post - October 24, 1963

Daily News - January 15, 1964

New York Times - January 15, 1964