23 September 2017 | jason_costa
The Eagle's Claw (1970)
The Eagle's Claw (1970) is an excellent Wu Xia (martial chivalry) film from Cathay studios. This is the straightforward story of Commander Lee transporting the body of Hero Feng back to his hometown. However, the Blood Raksha, Hero Feng's enemy, is intent on stopping him at all costs. Not even death has sated her hatred. She sends her minions after Lee and his daughter who are joined by the mysterious Mr Shih, played by the excellent Paul Chung. Who's side is he on? What are his motives?
This is a film of its time. The martial arts action is pretty basic. Like most films of the time it shows the influence of King Hu with lots of high jumping and swinging of swords. Hand to hand combat is generally slow and deliberate. Also it features strong female characters in their own right. While The Eagle's Claw isn't groundbreaking in any way it is well worth watching.
Cathay, along with Union Films, First Films, Men Hua and Golden Harvest all turned out many fine Wu Xia pictures in the late 60's to early 1970's. Historically they have been overshadowed by the massive legacy of Shaw Brothers. These films are much harder to find but are often well worth seeking out for fans of the genre. There are several on Amazon (Mallow Forest, Black Invitation, Swordsman of All Swordsman, Escort over Tiger Hill). When you find them they are generally not restored as well as the beautiful Shaw Bros. from Celestial. These pictures tend to be much more cinematic than Shaw's, due to Shaw's preference for filming on sets. It often gives the a more realistic feeling (imho), akin to a spaghetti western vs a Hollywood western. I recommend searching them out to all fans of the genre.