LAST BREATH (Lee Ho/Jobic Wong, Taiwan, 1985) aka JUNGLE HEAT
There are four different edits of LAST BREATH:
1. The original Taiwan version (also released in HK - released on HK VHS and US Chinatown VHS) 2. The international version entitled JUNGLE HEAT (alternative footage - released on various uncut VHS tapes, the best one being the Japanese VHS: uncut + letterboxed. The German and UK dvd's are cut!!!) 3. A censored version for Mainland China (cut for violence but includes some alternative footage - released on VCD) 4. A version made for Thailand - which has extra footage with Thai actor Sorapong Chatree (I'm going by the trailer and the Thai film poster here as the film itself hasn't been released to home video afaik).
I'm told a 16mm copy of the Thai version is stored in the Thai film archive. Hopefully, somebody will release it to blu-ray or streaming at some point.
I love British crown colony era HK cinema, but I must admit I don't know anything about HK cinema post the Chinese takeover. I've just watched this new (2018) HK flick, HUSBAND KILLERS (directed by Fire Lee Ka-Wing), and, well, it was kinda like a burger to a meal. Tastes good, but not much substance. It was like a fun cartoon, but no depth what so ever. But, hey, I love a good burger! Just don't eat them all the time. lol. The film was fun, violent (think cartoon violence), sexy and entertaining. And towards the end it did play around with film conventions in an unusual way so that was cool.
Released on HK blu-ray (the film is subbed in English, the bonus features are also subbed – in Chinese!). Available at HK$ 65 from dddhouse.
I recently posted about a Greta Thyssen interview that never took place (see post here). And I quoted from an interview that did take place. Unfortunately, the interview didn't talk much about Greta's role in Filipino films (hence her being of interest to this blog dedicated to obscure cinema). The bit about her role in TERROR IS A MAN was all I quoted. I did post a link to the full interview, but come to think of it, everything has a tendency of disappearing from Cyberspace, and I might as well copy-paste the full interview to this ol'd blog. So here you go, Greta Thyssen talking to Mark Voger/NJ Advance Media for NJ.com in 2010.
Three Stooges' final leading lady, Greta Thyssen
(Updated April 1, 2019. Posted June 18, 2010)
by Mark Voger/NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
Many distinctions dot the career of actress Greta Thyssen, a former Miss Denmark who once doubled for Marilyn Monroe. But one in particular is doted on by fans of the slapstick trio the Three Stooges.
Thyssen is the leading lady in the 190th -- and final -- Stooges short ever released.
In "Sappy Bullfighters" (1959), Thyssen performs classic bedroom farce with the boys. The blond beauty also tried to murder the Stooges in "Quiz Whizz" and teach them manners in "Pies and Guys" (both 1958).
All three Stooges shorts with Thyssen can be seen on the new DVD set "The Three Stooges Collection Volume Eight: 1955-1959." Thyssen, who is at work on a forthcoming blog, was reached at her New York home on Saturday.
Q: When you first came to Hollywood from Denmark, did you have jobs lined up?
A: I got, I think it was, a six-month contract with MGM, even though it was the end of their big moviemaking days. So they didn't really do anything with me, and allowed me to work outside. I got offers for certain things, and I did them.
Q: How was your English when you first came over?
A: Oh, I had an accent, I guess, yeah. I still have an accent. Sure.
Q: But was it tough learning scripts in another language?
A: No, not at all. It has nothing to do with accents. It has to do with what kind of memory you have. When I began to do summer stock, often people would say, "You don't have an accent when you speak the lines." It would go away many times. But of course, I've never gotten rid of it. I never even tried to get rid of it, which I should have done.
Q: You made your film debut in "Bus Stop" (1956), and you doubled for Marilyn Monroe. Did you get to know Marilyn a little?
A: Yes, I did. And that was a time when they were really hard on her. I felt so upset for her, because everybody was speaking behind her back.
Q: In "Terror is a Man" (1959), a neat horror film, you played the wife of Francis Lederer. How do you recall that experience?
A: Well, I had to go all the way to the Philippines, so I flew there. At that time, I was married, so it was a little hard. But it was fine. He (Lederer) was nice and charming. I had a good time. It was very warm, I remember.
Q: A DVD set is out containing the three shorts you filmed with the Three Stooges. In "Pies and Guys," you received a pie in the face, which some would deem an honor. How did you respond?
A: Actually, I totally have forgotten it, so I can't tell you what it felt like. I really have forgotten it. I probably didn't like it at all, I would think.
Q: How did you keep a straight face when the boys were wearing those ridiculous "Little Lord Fauntleroy" costumes?
A: Well, first of all, when you're an actress, you're not supposed to laugh in the middle of it. So I kept my cool.
Q: You towered over those guys, which made it funny. They were not tall men, and you were, or should I say are, a tall woman.
A: No, I'm not so tall any more (laughs).
Q: What kind of working chemistry did you have with the Stooges? Were they generous to you?
A: Well, they were fine, yes. But I wasn't that interested in it. I didn't quite understand that those kind of shorts would later be so admired and loved. I didn't know that at the time. I didn't know anything about it, really, to tell you the truth. I just was offered the job, because they wanted to start, again, doing "Stooges." So there was a new producer and it was a new time. I think the original ones -- weren't they in the '30s?
Q: Yes, they were.
A: Yeah. So this was new.
Q: Could you talk about the art of comedic timing? You were working with three great screen comedians, and holding your own.
A: Well, as an actress, you know instinctively what to do. And so that's what I did.
I finally received the blu-ray release of Roman Polanski's BASED ON A TRUE STORY that I had ordered from dddhouse in Hong Kong more than a month ago. I watched it right away. I didn't know what to expect as the most recent Polanski film that I've seen is his THE NINTH GATE from 1999. I was wondering how "good" he is these days – I mean, films like ROSEMARY'S BABY, REPULSION, CHINATOWN and BITTER MOON are all masterpieces in my view.
I quite liked the film but I must admit it's what I'd call "Polanski lite". It's not up there with his big ones of yesteryear (or rather "yester-decade"). But even so it was a good little thriller. And of course Polanski is Polanski so even "Polanski lite" is good Polanski if you ask me.
I certainly have little understanding for Peter Bradshaw's stance when he basically writes off the film as being nothing but "flat" in The Guardian(link to review). He compares it to the Polanski masterpiece ROSEMARY'S BABY. Dude, everything comes off flat when you compare it to a masterpiece like ROSEMARY'S BABY! It's not a fair comparison. Besides, Polanski is in his mid-80s now and the film is made on a small budget in Europe. Context, please.
The plot deals with a successful female author – played by Polanski regular Emmanuelle Seigner (an actress that he doesn't have to pay as he's married to her, haha) – and a very persistent female fan (played by Eva Green). Dominique Pinon (from DELICATESSEN) has a small part. I'm not gonna waste any further time going into incisive plot details as nobody reads blogs anymore anyway.
Unfortunately, it seems Roman Polanski's newer films are getting hard to find in the English speaking territories because of the witch-hunt against the director due to things that happened in the 70s. I find it ridiculous that film fans have to pay for something that a film maker did (and should be punished for). BASED ON A TRUE STORY hasn't been released on dvd or blu-ray in any country that has English as its official language. Well, unless English is still considered an official language in Hong Kong. As I mentioned earlier the film was released on blu-ray in the old British crown colony. As I write this you can still get it from dddhouse. Direct link here. Several of Polanski's films are out on blu-ray (and some of them also on dvd) in HK.