Raymond Chow seemed to have the right idea when he formed Golden Harvest, and that is to recruit young new faces to create his movies. In this movie he went to Taiwan to recruit Angela Mao who was a star in their Chinese opera theater. She's barely 20 in this movie with zero movie acting experience. That's a lot of risk to take on his first movie. But he seems to have good eye for talents, and many including Angela goes on to become some of the biggest Hong Kong movie stars.
Young Jackie Chan stars in this movie as well as his buddy from Peking Opera school days - Sammo Hung. They are billed (way) below Angela Mao in this movie.
Angela Mao is the daughter of a wealthy local magnate. Her father gets poisoned, and needs a cure from a herb that grows in a valley 1000 miles away. On the way to the valley lies the Angry River that burns everything that tries to cross it.
The format is classic Hong Kong Kung Fu movie, but there's something very modern about this movie. Perhaps it's because the quality is a notch above in almost all areas of production. It probably wasn't made on a big budget, as Bruce Lee only got $10K for his first appearance on Golden Harvest's movie. Other actors probably made much much less. Compared to now where lead stars often get well above one million Hong Kong dollar, this was the real formative days of Hong Kong cinema.
This is a beautiful movie, and should be seen in its remastered DVD. Angela Mao is exceptional in her athletic abilities, as well as her martial arts skills, and beauty. She really was the golden harvest for Golden Harvest.
In this first movie from Golden Harvest, you see the dawn of the new Hong Kong cinema that continues to this day.
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