Kung Fu: Season 3, Episode 3

A Small Beheading (21 Sep. 1974)

TV Episode  -   -  Adventure | Drama | Western
8.0
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A swashbuckling sea captain (WILLIAM SHATNER) and his wife (FRANCE NUYEN) involve Caine (DAVID CARRADINE) in a macabre plot to return him to China and certain death.

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Title: A Small Beheading (21 Sep 1974)

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Cast

Episode complete credited cast:
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Capt. Brandywine Gage
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Lady Chi Ching
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Ellie Crowell
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Philip Ahn ...
Master Kan (as Phillip Ahn)
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Ywang Kyu
Kenji Shibuya ...
Pan Chao (as Kinji Shibuya)
Jeanne Joe ...
Ta Hsia
Yuki Shimoda ...
Man
Frances Fong ...
Woman
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A swashbuckling sea captain (WILLIAM SHATNER) and his wife (FRANCE NUYEN) involve Caine (DAVID CARRADINE) in a macabre plot to return him to China and certain death.

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21 September 1974 (USA)  »

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4:3
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This episode reunites William Shatner and France Nuyen, 16 years after they co-starred on Broadway in "The World of Suzie Wong" (neither was cast in the film version), and six years after their memorable Star Trek episode "Elaan of Troyius". It also inspired Shatner's short-lived 19th Century TV series Barbary Coast (1975). See more »

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William Shatner and France Nuyen reunited
17 August 2010 | by (Youngstown,Ohio) – See all my reviews

Season 3 Episode 4- One of the third season's best entries, this KUNG FU episode reunites William Shatner and France Nuyen, who first starred together on Broadway in 1958's "The World of Suzie Wong," but are best remembered for the memorable STAR TREK episode "Elaan of Troyius." Shatner here plays Captain Brandywine Gage, who has journeyed from China to America with his bride, Lady Chi Ching (Nuyen), the niece of the Emperor, and sister of the nephew that was killed by Caine in response to his shameful murder of the blind Master Po (Keye Luke, represented only by archive footage depicting his death). Captain Gage discovers Caine working as a farmhand on the ranch of Ellie Crowell (Rosemary Forsyth), showing him a document written by the Emperor himself, promising a pardon for the killing of his nephew, on the condition that Caine accompany the Captain back to China and sacrifice the little finger off his right hand, the 'small beheading' promised in the title. Captain Gage also shows Caine a ring that belonged to Master Ywang Kyu (James Hong), who had treated at the temple a man named Liu (Yuki Shimoda) who had foolishly gambled away his little finger for the promise of 4 pieces of silver. Reluctant to accept aid, Liu finally allowed Master Kyu to amputate only after the loss of his right hand and arm became a certainty, brought on by the sight of a black crow, which the injured man believed to be a demon come to claim his life. Captain Gage informs Caine that the idea of sacrificing the finger was Master Kyu's, who has since died performing a life-saving benefit for the Emperor. Lady Ching does not hesitate to shoot Caine the first time she sees him, but is later convinced that his black crow represents the forgiving spirit of her dead brother, revealing her husband's deception. It's a pleasure to see Shatner, adopting a Scotch accent, totally unrecognizable behind red hair and muttonchop whiskers, and his final showdown with Caine provides a fitting climax. It's understandable how this may have inspired his 1975 series BARBARY COAST, also set in the 19th century, which allowed him to don different disguises every week (unfortunately, it did not extend beyond one season). Along with Nancy Kwan, France Nuyen was one of the best known Asian actresses to appear on KUNG FU, and supplies a touch of elegance despite her initial hatred for Caine. As for the ubiquitous James Hong, this was perhaps the largest part he enjoyed in his 8 episodes, and the only time he portrayed a Shaolin Master (both Richard Loo and Victor Sen Yung also played Shaolin Masters). As Ellie, Rosemary Forsyth provides the strongest love interest that Caine ever encountered during the show's three year run, agonizing over why he should remain with her, but denying her feelings to Lady Ching. An entry that seems to have everything, with an exceptional cast. Next up- "The Predators"


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