Enter The Dragon Trivia

Discussion in 'Articles' started by SifuPhil, Oct 17, 2012.

  1. SifuPhil

    SifuPhil Lucky Cat Is Lucky

    If you consider yourself a martial artist and have never seen Bruce Lee's epic work, Enter The Dragon, turn in your belt right now.

    The Holy Grail of Martial Arts​

    Not that it's a masterpiece of cinematic technique or absorbing dialogue – far from it. But it was a pivotal film for both Lee and the world – Lee because it finally granted him his superstar status, and the world because it brought to light the martial arts in a way previously not accomplished.

    The film is full of uncredited martial arts practitioners, some quite famous, and there is a treasure trove of trivia surrounding the film, some creditable, some not so much.

    Here's a random sampling of trivia concerning the film and its making …


    • Bruce Lee ... Lee (Lee died six days before the Hong Kong premiere of the movie.)
    • John Saxon ... Roper (John took up the study of Taijiquan after his retirement.)
    • Jim Kelly ... Williams (Kelly's first starring role was in Black Belt Jones, also directed by Robert Clouse)
    • Ahna Capri ... Tania (Hungarian Ahna had never heard of Bruce Lee or martial arts before being contacted for ETD)
    • Kien Shih ... Han (as Shih Kien) (Kien starred in over 800 martial arts films, practiced kung fu for over 50 years and did all his own stunts in ETD)
    • Robert Wall ... Oharra (as Bob Wall) (He was a karate world champion and trained with Chuck Norris.)
    • Angela Mao ... Su Lin (Guest star) (as Angela Mao Ying) (Angela is a black belt in hapkido.)
    • Geoffrey Weeks ... Braithwaite (ETD was Geoffrey's only film credit – he's totally off the radar)
    • Bolo Yeung ... Bolo (as Yang Sze) (Bolo was Chong Li in Bloodsport)
    • Li Jen Ho ... Old Man (as Ho Lee Yan) (Li has appeared in over 150 movies)
    • Pat E. Johnson ... Hood (as Pat Johnson) (9th degree black belt in Tang Soo Do, head of National TSD Congress, did martial choreography for Karate Kid series and appeared as head referee in original film)

    Some uncredited actors

    • Hidy Ochiai ... Author, actor, introduced Washin-Ryu to U.S., champion tournament fighter
    • Jackie Chan ... Thug in Prison (Actor, stuntman, martial artist – Bruce Lee breaks his neck in ETD)

    “Not the hair, not the hair!”​

    • Roy Chiao ... Shaolin Abbott (Guest star) (Deceased) (played Lao Che in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom)
    • Sammo Hung Kam-Bo ... Shaolin Fighter (Actor, martial artist, director, producer, friend of Jackie Chan, stunt coordinator for ETD)
    • Tony Liu ... Tournament Fighter (Guest star) (Fought John Saxon in ETD, has appeared in many martial arts films)
    • Mars (Cheung Wing Fat) ... Han traitor (Close friend of Jackie Chan, member of Chan's and Hung's stunt teams, and many acknowledge him as being a better martial artist than either one. Has appeared in hundreds of martial arts films)
    • Steve Sanders … BKF Assistant Karate Instructor
    • Donnie Williams ... BKF Assistant Karate Instructor (actually was a co-founder, along with Steve Sanders, of the Black Karate Foundation in Los Angeles)

    Bits and Pieces:

    The training grounds are old tennis courts. In some places, the chalk lines are still visible.

    The hall-of-mirrors set was inspired by a restaurant in Hong Kong where the producers ate lunch. Over 8,000 mirrors were used in the set-up.

    Reflections on a theme​

    Chinese-American actor Keye Luke overdubbed Kien Shih's dialogue since Kien did not speak English. Luke also narrated an earlier scene depicting the death of Bruce Lee's sister. So now we have an interesting paradox … David Carradine was cast instead of Lee in the American TV show Kung Fu. Keye Luke was Carradine's character's teacher in the series, “Master Po”. So in a way, Bruce finally gets to beat up the teacher of the guy who “beat him out”.

    Continuity, Anyone?

    Towards the start of the movie, flashbacks are used to show how each of the three stars ended up at Han's island. Williams, Played by Jim Kelly, gets into a scuffle with two police. Williams is carrying two bags, which he drops to deal with the two police. After he beats up the two cops, he jumps into their car and speeds away, lights flashing; and no bags! Now, back to Williams on a Chinese junk, heading to Han's island, with the two bags he left behind.

    In the museum when Bruce is fighting Han when they both jump towards each other Han has four blades on his hand but when he strikes Bruce across the stomach he has only three cuts.

    Man, Bruce is really cut!​

    Bruce Lee finds a secret door leading to an underground lab used by Han. To lower himself into the cave, Bruce pulls out a tiny cord from a shoulder bag. He lowers the cord into the cave. The next shot is from the cave looking up to the secret door. The cord has amazingly turned into a large rope for Bruce to climb down.

    When Han is killed by Bruce Lee and the door is spinning, you can see the belt that holds Han to the door.

    Just hangin' around …​

    When Han is fighting Williams, he knocks over a bird-cage. A few seconds later, it shows us a first-person view looking through Williams' eyes, trying to punch Han. The fist and the arm that comes on the screen to try and hit Han are white, despite the fact that Williams is black.


    During the fight scene with Ohara, Bruce Lee was actually cut quite badly on the hand. In later scenes in the film he can actually be seen with a bandage round the injured hand. There were rumors about Lee and Wall becoming real-life enemies over this, but Wall disavows this in later interviews.

    During the fight scene in the mirror room, Lee starts to punch and kick the mirrors. During several shots, Lee is wearing shoes that fully cover the top of his foot. In others, he is wearing a pair of shoes that have a V cut down the top of his foot which you can clearly see with his white socks.

    In the banquet sequence, John Saxon is shown sitting with a glass in his hand. The level of liquid in the glass fluctuates alarmingly from shot to shot.

    During the fight scene near the end of the film between Han's white-clad henchmen and the black- clothed good guys, there is a shot of a guy spin-kicking another that is shown 3 times. Many other shots are shown more than once, from close up or a slightly different angle.

    When Han steps into the scene to sit down before the first fight scene, he is wearing a blue jacket...after the fight, same scene, he is wearing a brown jacket.

    Han the Chameleon​

    When Han puts the cat on the guillotine the cat is facing away. When John Saxon picks up the cat it is facing him.

    The head of a crew-member is visible during the mirror room fight. During the part where Lee is slowly moving across a mirror (just before he turns down the corridor and Han comes up behind and slashes his back), look down the corridor where Bruce is about to turn down and you should see it. Also after Han slashes his back Lee turns around and goes back down the corridor and you can see this crew-member again but more.

    When Han's daughters/bodyguards are throwing daggers at the apples in the banquet room, one girl just blows the dagger out of her palm and impressively catches the apple in mid-air. However, a keen eye can see the wire attached to the dagger that pulls it from her hand.

    After the four guards have been killed by Bolo we see the body of one being dragged away by his feet, strangely the "dead" guard still has one of his arms raised and even raises it a bit higher a few seconds later.

    When Williams fights Han's guards in the office, at one point he kicks a guard back towards a window, the guard stumbles and then for no reason just dives backwards out the window. A bit over-dramatic.

    Hail, Britannia!

    In the UK the film was rated 'X' by the BBFC with cuts for the cinema release in 1973. Five cuts were made due to violence, including the removal of the broken bottle attack at the end of the Lee/Ohara fight.

    In 1979, the film was recalled so that a sequence in which Bruce Lee twirls and uses nunchaku could be deleted, along with another sequence in which nunchaku were seen being carried. In 1988 the video version was rated '18' with 1 minute 45 seconds cut. Three of the five violence cuts made in 1973 were waived but two were maintained (the first cut is to an off-screen neck-break - this version cuts away just as Bolo crouches to jerk and snap a poor guy's spine.

    The second cut occurs when Bolo cradles the final opponent in order to slowly break his back - the process and sound effect of this act had been shortened. The cuts to nunchakus implemented in 1979 were repeated for video.

    However, in 1991 the Board modified its policy so that the weapon was no longer removed on sight. After 1991 a number of representations of nunchaku were allowed but only when they were not actually in use. The video of ETD was resubmitted again in 1993 for widescreen release. This time the two remaining violence cuts were waived, as was the brief sight of nunchaku being carried, in accordance with the new policy. The only cut made this time was to sight of Bruce Lee twirling and briefly using the nunchaku (21 seconds cut).

    ETD was resubmitted in its uncut form in 2001 and, in accordance with the BBFC's revised policy, has now been rated '18' without cuts.

    Sheesh ...
    Spaceart, Pedro, Ryannmnzo and 3 others like this.
  3. Kevin

    Kevin Admin Staff Member

    Amazing article Phil. I've watched Enter The Dragon countless times and hadn't noticed lots of those errors. I don't know how I missed Han running off to the changing rooms to try on another jacket :)
    SifuPhil likes this.
  4. Kevin

    Kevin Admin Staff Member

    I've seen that poster a thousand times and never noticed that Jim Kelly is shown hanging in the background. If you hadn't seen the film before, it wouldn't be hard to figure out that the guy on the front with the afro is going to be killed later in the film....if not him his identical twin!

    Here's a bigger version of the poster to illustrate this :)

    KungFuBoojBJJ and SifuPhil like this.
  5. SifuPhil

    SifuPhil Lucky Cat Is Lucky

    LOL - talk about foreshadowing! (y)
  6. Gone

    Gone Guest

    I have never seen this film before.

    Actually, I ain't seen a single Bruce Lee film.. EVER.
  7. KungFuBoojBJJ

    KungFuBoojBJJ Disciple

    Have you noticed how the guy on the front doesn't look anything like Bruce Lee? :D
    SifuPhil likes this.
  8. SifuPhil

    SifuPhil Lucky Cat Is Lucky

    Yeah! And Ahna Capri doesn't look like her, or John Saxon - only Kelly looks like himself. Good eye!
  9. Ryannmnzo

    Ryannmnzo "Harmony Energy Way"

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  10. Gone

    Gone Guest

    Damn, shot myself right through the foot there (I have a habit of doing that alot)..
    Spaceart, Ryannmnzo and SifuPhil like this.
  11. Spaceart

    Spaceart Initiate

    When I saw this movie in 1973, I was shockingly naïve about Bruce Lee; I didn't even know that he had played Kato on the Green Hornet, and I barely knew of him except for a student in my dojo who told me about him while he was still alive.
    But after seeing the movie I quickly became a martial arts enthusiast, and have studied off & on for more than 40 years, eventually earning a 2nd Degree Black Belt in Shaolin Kung Fu. I really enjoyed the detailed post about all of the mistakes made during the shooting of ETD. I did notice a few details like the 3 scratches on Bruce's stomach (instead of 4), but I missed most of the other details. I saw the movie again just last night, but now I need to watch it yet again to catch all of these details.
    BTW, his book "The Tao of Jeet Kune Do" is a very good study on martial arts techniques. The movie about his life, "Dragon", is OK but historically inaccurate; he is portrayed as an innocent young boy peacefully practicing his martial arts. This is not even close to the truth: he was a child actor and an arrogant neighborhood bully who ran street gangs and fought constantly. His battle with the expert over his right to teach Kung Fu in America is also historically inaccurate: according to eyewitnesses, Lee wanted to fight with NO rules; Lee claimed that it only lasted for 3 minutes and he trounced his opponent. In truth, the fight took 20 minutes, eventually ending in a draw: his opponent, Wong Jack Man, was that good.
    I will never get over Bruce Lee's untimely death.

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