Circle of Iron

Circle of Iron

4.5 2
Director: Richard Moore

Cast: David Carradine, Jeff Cooper, Roddy McDowall

     
 

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This symbol-laden drama explores the inner mythology of martial arts practice and is based on a Bruce Lee story idea. The original screenplay was written by Bruce Lee, with help from actor James Coburn and Sterling Silliphant. Lee was to take on the four-in-one role of "guide" in his film, leaving the "hero's" role to someone else. Following Bruce Lee's tragic death,

Overview

This symbol-laden drama explores the inner mythology of martial arts practice and is based on a Bruce Lee story idea. The original screenplay was written by Bruce Lee, with help from actor James Coburn and Sterling Silliphant. Lee was to take on the four-in-one role of "guide" in his film, leaving the "hero's" role to someone else. Following Bruce Lee's tragic death, the film was rewritten. David Carradine stepped in to play the mysterious guides to aspiring martial arts master Cord (Jeff Cooper). Cord lives on a desert-like world where nearly everyone he meets practices or has practised a martial art. He seeks to find the place where the true inner spirit of the martial arts is being taught. In a story which is imbued with Zen maxims and Asian philosophy, when Cord finally arrives, he finds less (and more) than he hoped for. While there are many combat and fight scenes, the general tone of the film is meditative. Cameo appearances by Roddy McDowall, Eli Wallach and Christopher Lee supply many of the film's highlights.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
As a glance at the plot synopsis should reveal, Circle of Iron is far from typical kung fu film fare. The amount of fighting is limited (and handled in a rather matter-of-fact style when it occurs), with a greater emphasis being placed on thoughtful dialogue exchanges that have a pronounced philosophical bent. Circle of Iron is not a perfect film -- Jeff Cooper is sometimes wooden in the lead role despite putting forth a strong effort, and the action isn't as impressive as it might have been had Bruce Lee (who helped write the original screenplay) still been around to choreograph it. However, Circle of Iron is still worthwhile for those who can get into its eccentric style because it is genuinely ambitious and thoughtful in a way that many kung fu-oriented films seldom are. The script is laced with many memorable bits of Zen wisdom and David Carradine turns in his most memorable screen work, tackling a quartet of different roles with wit and charisma to spare. Circle of Iron is also gorgeous to look at: it was shot on a series of stunning locations in Israel and photographer Ronnie Taylor captures them in a moody, atmospheric style that genuinely makes the film feel like a window into another world. Director Richard Moore handles the material with respect, allowing it to move at its own thoughtful pace and giving the actors room to breathe life into it (Eli Wallach's cameo is a particularly memorable bit of scene-stealing). In short, Circle of Iron is a flawed but likeably ambitious piece of work. It probably won't appease viewers used to high-octane martial arts fare but anyone who enjoyed the Kung Fu TV series is likely to appreciate this mystical, philosophy-oriented take on the genre.

Product Details

Release Date:
09/28/2004
UPC:
0827058108195
Original Release:
1978
Rating:
R
Source:
Blue Underground
Region Code:
0
Time:
1:37:00
Sales rank:
33,859

Special Features

Playing the Silent Flute: interview with star David Carradine; Audio commentary with director Richard Moore; Bruce Lee's The Silent Flute: a history by Davis Miller & Klae Moore; Alternate title sequence; Theatrical trailer; TV spots; Poster & still galleries; First draft script by Bruce Lee, James Coburn & Stirling Silliphant (DVD-ROM)

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
David Carradine Chang-Sha/The Blind Man/The Monkey Man /Death
Jeff Cooper Cord
Roddy McDowall White Robe
Eli Wallach Man in Oil
Erica Creer Tara
Christopher Lee Zetan
Anthony de Longis Morthand
Earl Maynard Black Giant
Dov Friedman Young Monk
Michael M. Vendrell Martial Artist
Zipora Peled Gerryman's Wife
Jeremy Kaplan Monkeyboy

Technical Credits
Richard Moore Director
James Coburn Original Story
Lilly Fenichel Costumes/Costume Designer
Sandy Howard Producer
Johannes Larsen Production Designer,Set Decoration/Design
Bruce Lee Original Story
Stanley Mann Screenwriter
Paul Maslansky Producer
Stirling Silliphant Original Story,Screenwriter
Bruce Smeaton Score Composer
Richard St. Johns Executive Producer
Ronnie Taylor Cinematographer
Ernest Walter Editor

Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Program Start/Bruce Lee Dedication [:37]
2. Main Titles [2:06]
3. Controlled Combat [4:48]
4. Intemperate Weapon [2:19]
5. Unlikely Allies [4:06]
6. Blind Shepherd [2:35]
7. The Other Truth [3:53]
8. Way of the Monkey [4:24]
9. The First Trial [5:51]
10. Man Against Beast [3:42]
11. Chastity [5:09]
12. Flower in the Wilderness [6:07]
13. Victory in Loss [3:18]
14. Temptation [3:09]
15. The Principles of Lust [5:22]
16. Voice of Death [3:23]
17. An Empty Vessel [7:00]
18. Barbarian Invasions [5:35]
19. Obvious to a Blind Man [5:00]
20. Facing Down the Past [3:07]
21. The Second Trial [3:26]
22. The Chosen/Facing Zetan [8:14]
23. The Silent Flute [1:45]
24. End Credits [1:40]

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Circle of Iron 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Wraith911 More than 1 year ago
Originally written by Bruce Lee as an expression of his ideas of Martial Arts. Didn't realize it was on blue ray, I bought it years ago on dvd and had watched it in the 80's origianlly. An excellent expression of the spiritual side of martial arts.
T_Clark More than 1 year ago
A beautifully imaginative tale of the seeker's quest full of martial arts combat and zen philosophy. A must own for any David Carradine fan and a classic of the early genre