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Exploring The Abandoned Shaw Brothers Studios (and Learning About a Career and a Logo)

Cinema, Movies, Photography

Hong Kong Free Press Lens Urban Exploring went poking around an abandoned movie studio:

Although unbeknownst to most, up on a windy hill on the eastern shore of Hong Kong is a site which played a pivotal role in the development of Hong Kong’s film industry. Built in 1961 by the Shaw Brothers, this massive moldering movie studio complex was operated by the Shaw Brothers under the guidance of the late Sir Run Run Shaw.

Stunning photographs and a great accompanying video. I know almost nothing about Hong Kong cinema and, until today, had never heard of Run Run Shaw. As Variety’s obituary for Shaw from last year notes, the Shaw Brothers Studios logo can be seen in the opening of Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill: Vol. 1.

His most prominent western credit on IMDb is Blade Runner, though curiously he’s listed as both “co-executive producer - uncredited” and “presenter.” Shaw is credited in the opening logo for “The Ladd Company”. A special line was added below the computerized tree, “in Association with Sir Run Run Shaw.”

I’d be curious to learn more about Shaw’s involvement with the film, which has been variously released, re-released, re-mastered, re-cut and re-distributed over the years. If there’s any one film it’s hard to get a handle on, it’s Blade Runner.

The Ladd Company logo was apparently scored by John Williams, which is a neat factoid that plunged me further down the rabbit hole. Some home video versions of Blade Runner eschew Shaw’s name under The Ladd Company tree and give him his own title card. Meanwhile, I totally didn’t start watching Ladd Company logos from various films like Police Academy and Once Upon a Time in America after learning this. Nope not me.

I’d love to know which of the Hong Kong films produced at the now dilapidated Shaw Brothers Studios to seek out first. As far as Hollywood sci-fi goes, though, I just added the Shaw produced the 1979 disaster film Meteor to my watchlist. Sean Connery, Natalie Wood, Martin Landau and Henry Fonda (!) try to stop a meteor from colliding with Earth? Sign me up. Just look at this trailer.

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