HK Cinema

I always had the impression that Chinese/HK cinema basically began in the 1960s with the Shaw Studio kung-fu films. These are certainly the films that most of us were familiar with growing up in the USA. Saturday afternoon TV was filled with these old kung-fu films. It turns out that this is far from the case. Stephen Teos book Hong Kong The Extra Dimensions is invaluable in dispelling these notions.

In fact, there has been a rich and diverse film industry in China since the very beginning of the 1900s. They produced all types of films from musicals to dramas to martial art fantasies. Unfortunately, many of these early films are extremely difficult if not impossible to find on video. Hundreds of films are likely to have been lost forever.

The main Chinese film center was in Shanghai, but as early as 1909 silent films were being made in HK.  Over time there were many factors that slowly led to HK becoming the dominant movie center of China. The following milestones will try and map out in a general way the events, people and films that made this happen and that made HK film the amazing and exciting phenomenon that it is.

The information displayed here was culled from a number of sources that I would like to note. The major one for films before 1970 was Stephen Teo's wonderful book - Hong Kong - The Extra Dimensions. Others that were very useful were Bey Logan's HK Action Cinema, From Bruce Lee to the Ninjas, Deadly China Dolls and certain issues of Eastern Heroes. I must also confess to not having seen all the films that are referred to, but certainly hope to.

If anyone has any additions or comments, please feel free to forward your thoughts.