Bruce Lee is a Hong Kong legend
Few people know that Bruce Lee has only four martial arts films. These are Big Boss, Fist of Fury, Way of the Dragon, and Enter the Dragon. Before his death, the actor managed to shoot battle scenes for the films The Game of Death and The Tower of Death. The rest of the material was filmed and edited much later. Probably, the titles of these films played a dramatic role in the fate of Bruce. In fact, his acting biography begins at the age of three months.
There was not a single random event in the life of Bruce Lee. All of them, one way or another, were closely related to each other. It so happened that parents, citizens of Hong Kong, during a tour of the United States , in San Franciscoa boy was born. According to the place of birth, he automatically became a citizen of the American States. The museum has a certificate confirming the citizenship of the newborn Bruce. This determined his future fate. But his whole life conformed to ancient Chinese beliefs. In the family of Li Hui Chen, an actor of Chinese opera, and Grace Li, the first son died. According to legend, the second child should be a girl. To follow this tradition, they adopted a poor man’s daughter. The next child was a boy. After that, Bruce was born. I had to deceive the spirits by piercing the newborn’s earlobes, and calling the maiden name Baby Phoenix. Maybe that’s why Bruce’s first role was the role of a little girl in the movie Golden Gate Girl. In the next film, “Born of Man”, the little actor starred at the age of six.
In 1952, when the boy was 12 years old, he went to La Salle College. There were no boyish fights. Little Bruce Lee was a restless child. And parents often had to listen to complaints about him. After one of the fights, the boy expressed his desire to practice kung fu so that he could fend for himself. It is not entirely clear which of the parents was the decision to finance the training, but one way or another, Bruce began to study with the master Ip Man. The training sessions were very intense, and the sparring sessions were full contact. The boy had neither the strength nor the time for pranks and stupidity. But, nevertheless, since 1954 he begins to take cha-cha-cha lessons. And four years later he becomes the winner of Hong Kong in a dance competition. A notebook with records of eighty-two types of cha-cha-cha steps can be seen in the museum’s exhibition dedicated to Bruce Lee.
Right in the lobby of the Hong Kong Cultural Heritage Museum stands the golden figure of the legendary kung fu fighter Bruce Lee. For numerous excursion groups, it is considered an obligatory ritual to take a picture against its background. The exposition dedicated to the life and work of the actor is located on the third floor, where two escalators will slowly take you up. Enter into halls with muffled light passing into each other. There are several monitors in each room, which constantly show fragments from Bruce Lee films with scenes of fights. It is possible that a whole film is being shown somewhere, but if you stop to watch it, then one day will not be enough for the entire excursion. Here and there, the famous battle cry of a kung fu fighter is heard from the speakers of the monitors. In one of the halls there is a classic wooden machine for training,
Bruce Lee’s move to the United States was not entirely voluntary. That’s how the circumstances were. After becoming the winner of a dance competition, and playing several children’s roles in action films, Bruce changes his image. Stylish suit, tight tie, frizzy hair, lean, lithe figure. This type of dude was constantly attacked by street hooligans. Not passed this cup and Bruce. But the three members of the Triad did not know who they were contacting. As a result, two of them end up in the hospital. The laws of the “Triad” demanded the death of the offender. So all of a sudden, in one evening, things were packed and a ticket was bought for a steamboat bound for the United States. American citizenship, obtained at birth, came in handy. Bruce came to explore a new country with a hundred dollars in cash. He was able to find shelter and work with Ruby Chow, an old acquaintance of his mother, who ran a restaurant in Seattle. Combining work with study, Bruce graduates from college and enters the University of Washington at the Faculty of Philosophy. At the same time, he left his job in a restaurant and began teaching kung fu. Classes with the first group are held in the park, because there is no money to rent a hall.
As time goes by, things start to get better and Bruce opens his first “Jun Fan Kung-Fu Institute”. Perhaps this was a key moment that later played a tragic role in his fate. A year later, a second institute opens. Everyone is taught here, regardless of their race and nationality. But even here there were some conflicts. Kung fu master Wong Jack Man challenges Bruce Lee to a duel and issues an ultimatum. In case of defeat, Bruce must close his institute, or stop teaching Americans. Maybe it would be better for him to lose, but he wins the duel. The fact is that according to ancient Chinese belief, martial arts of the East could not be taught to strangers. But this commandment was broken. After that, Bruce repeatedly told his wife that he was cursed.
Another turn in the fate of Bruce Lee occurs after demonstration performances at one of the karate tournaments. He was noticed and appreciated by Hollywood make-up artist Jay Serbing. A few months later, he spoke about Bruce to television producer Wilm Dyser. Thus began the return of the kung fu master to the screens. Bruce starred in several TV series, but he was not offered the main roles. At that time, it was believed in the West that the viewer was not ready to see a Chinese in the first roles. This upset Bruce Lee, and he decided to return to his native Hong Kong. It turned out that after the series “Green Hornet”, where Bruce played the role of Kato’s bodyguard, he became the idol of all Hong Kongers.
The Museum of Cultural Heritage has a whole gallery dedicated to this series. Images of popular characters were depicted on stickers, stripes. Comic books came out. And how many toys were made on this topic, it’s even hard to imagine. Green Hornet sets with masks and attributes of heroes, character figures, board games, candy packaging and much more.
The cinema on the third floor shows a biopic of Bruce Lee throughout the day. His whole life, from birth to the last moments. Friends and relatives, colleagues and his students talk about him. There are quite a few shots where Bruce’s first kung fu teacher talks about Bruce. The film includes fragments of paintings in which the legendary actor was shot. It shows not a fighter who destroys everything right and left, but a man who has lived a difficult life. With its joys and sorrows, victories and failures. Everyone who participated in this film speaks very warmly about it. For them, Bruce was remembered as a very energetic person with a smile on his face, a talented actor and a good friend. The schedule of sessions is posted in the lobby of the museum.
After returning to Hong Kong, Bruce Lee decides to pursue his dream of making martial arts films. It helps him a lot that the Hollywood series in which he starred made him a real superstar in Hong Kong. No one has made this type of film before. In the fall of 1971, Bruce Lee’s first Hong Kong film, Big Boss, was released. He was a resounding success. A year later, “Fist of Fury” appears on the screens, blocking the fees of the previous film. Chuck Norris, who was once a student of Bruce Lee, also takes part in the filming of the next film, Way of the Dragon. The triumph of this picture eclipsed all the others. Seeing how popular martial arts films are gaining, Warner Bros. offers Bruce to make the film Enter the Dragon. At the end of these shootings, Bruce Lee begins work on The Game of Death. Probably, the word “death” in the film’s title was another tragic mistake. The Chinese considered it a bad omen.
Despite the success of his films, Bruce Lee got darker and darker. He often began to repeat about his curse and that he would not live more than 33 years. Either the circumstances developed like that, or he really violated many sacred prohibitions, but mystical events began to occur. The mirror man, who warded off evil spirits and was Bruce’s talisman, fell from the roof of his house. And two days later, while working on the script for the film The Game of Death, the actor felt unwell and took an aspirin. After that he fell asleep and woke up no more. A thorough examination could not determine the cause of death of an absolutely healthy person. The official conclusion was intolerance to the individual ingredients that make up the tablet. More than twenty-five thousand people came to the funeral of the idol. Bruce Lee was born in 1940 and died in 1973 not having lived four months before his 33rd birthday. On the Avenue of Stars on the waterfront of the Kowloon Peninsula, a monument was erected to him.
Who knows what really happened. A tragic absurd accident or evil spirits still overtook their victim. Having punished for the fact that for the sake of money Bruce revealed to the West the secrets of ancient kung fu, and the title of the film “The Game of Death” became the final chord. Everyone will answer differently for themselves. And the exposition located in the Museum of Cultural Heritage can help answer this question. The death mask of Hong Kong legend Bruce Lee is also displayed here.