5.9/10
1,938
51 user 41 critic

Circle of Iron (1978)

A young martial artist embarks on an adventure, encountering other martial artists in battle until one day he meets an aging blind man who will show him the true meaning of martial arts and life.

Director:

Richard Moore

Writers:

Stirling Silliphant (screenplay), Stanley Mann (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
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1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
David Carradine ... The Blind Man / Monkeyman / Death / Changsha
Jeff Cooper ... Cord
Christopher Lee ... Zetan
Roddy McDowall ... White Robe
Eli Wallach ... Man-in-Oil
Anthony De Longis ... Morthond (as Anthony de Longis)
Earl Maynard Earl Maynard ... Black Giant
Erica Creer ... Tara
Michael M. Vendrell Michael M. Vendrell ... Martial Artist (as Michael Vendrell)
Leo Whang Leo Whang ... Martial Artist
Donnie Williams Donnie Williams ... Martial Artist
Robert Gardner Robert Gardner ... Martial Artist
Tom Ascensio Tom Ascensio ... Martial Artist
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Storyline

A young martial artist, Cord the Seeker, competes for and loses the right to go on a quest for the Book of All Knowlege held by a wizard named Zetan, but he goes along the path to seek Zetan anyway. Along the way, he meets strange tests and challenges by enemies and allies - often having difficulty determining which is which. Written by Sam L. <saml75@yahoo.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

It challenges your courage, tests your manhood and throws you into an arena of life and death. See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 July 1978 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

The Silent Flute See more »

Filming Locations:

Bet Shean, Israel See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$4,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Erica Creer was cast at the last minute as Tara. See more »

Goofs

During the fight between Changsha and the Black Giant David Carradine's wig falls off after a high kick. See more »

Quotes

Cord: You were through here before!
Blind Man: [Blind man slaps Cord's face] How many times?
See more »

Alternate Versions

UK cinema and video versions were cut by 51 secs by the BBFC to remove footage of fighting staff, a throwing star and a shot of a cow receiving a karate blow to its neck. The cuts were fully waived for the 2008 Orbit DVD release. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (2004) See more »

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User Reviews

 
THE SILENT FLUTE (Richard Moore, 1978) **1/2
28 December 2007 | by Bunuel1976See all my reviews

I'd been intrigued by this one for some time due its being based on a story concocted by Bruce Lee and James Coburn; when it emerged as a "Special Edition" via the Blue Underground label, I had considered purchasing the DVD but somehow never got around to it. Eventually, CIRCLE OF IRON (as it's better-known) was even expanded into a fully-loaded 2-Disc Set…but, then, I happened upon the original disc at a local rental outlet and finally decided to check it out.

As it happened, I was somewhat let down by the film: I'm all for exotic action/adventure stuff – a genre which got something of a revival during this era – but, despite the various trimmings (martial arts, mystical overtones, plus a number of rather superfluous cameo appearances by the likes of Roddy MacDowall, Eli Wallach and Christopher Lee), THE SILENT FLUTE came across as invincibly low-brow! Besides, while David Carradine is ostensibly the star (and even gets to play four different parts for no discernible reason!), the hero proper of the narrative was played a beefy protégé of his – Jeff Cooper – whose wooden performance here really drowned the film for me!!

The plot – the winner of a martial arts tournament is assigned the task of seeking the whereabouts of a famous wizard (played by horror legend Lee) who is in possession of an all-powerful book – sounds intriguing on paper but, to be honest, the way this plays out on screen it's not terribly compelling; worse still, the denouement is a real cop-out! That said, the numerous action sequences and Carradine's characterization of a blind shepherd (himself a martial arts champion) who guides Cooper on his danger-fraught journey make the film palatable for the most part.

Despite the obvious low-budget at his disposal, too, one-time-only director Moore (his more typical credit is as a cinematographer) lends the film reasonable visual style – accentuated by the expansive Israeli locations (which constitutes the film's main asset along with Australian composer Bruce Smeaton's beautiful score). As a matter of fact, Moore admits in the disc's Audio Commentary that the main reason that seemed to have gotten him the assignment in the first place was because his background as a cameraman assured (in the eyes of the producers, at least) outstanding visuals!

THE SILENT FLUTE is, ultimately, a hodgepodge of disparate ideas (with its most bizarre element being Wallach's masochistic "Man In Oil" and his diatribe on the virtues of a life without one's own genitalia!) which don't really jell and, consequently, it works only in fits and starts...


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