Monday, March 26, 2018

Red Dragon - 1965




Red Dragon though it is of course much better known to most of you as Das Geheimnis der drei Dschunken or perhaps you know it as 009 Missione Hong Kong. This is a pretty good indication that this low grade low energy spy film is a co-production of Germany and Italy. But as was often the case in these Euro genre films of the 1960's they brought on a one-time English speaking star who was on his back nine. It was apparently released in the USA as Code Name Alpha so I have no idea where the title Red Dragon came from.




In this case it was Stewart Granger who had starred in so many adventure and swashbuckling films of the previous 20 years. At this point in his career - 52 years old and that sort of film falling out of favor - he was appearing in a bunch of German films. Among these was his character of Old Surehand based on the Karl May westerns in three films and a few other spy films - Target for Killing and Requiem for a Secret Agent. Requiem has Daniela Bianchi (From Russian with Love) and Target has Karin Dor in it. I have to admit that as mediocre as this film was I want to see these other Euro films of his. I have always liked Granger though he always feels so awfully phony in his acting.



Here he is an FBI man who is sent to Hong Kong to break up a ring that exports contraband to Red China. His partner is the lovely Rosanna Schiaffino from Italy. It is all pretty clunky with Granger getting captured constantly it seems, traditionally not being killed by his captors, escaping and then getting caught again. It is a game of who is stupider - him or the bad guys.



There is a bit of action but nothing that will make you rewind and watch again. In fact, he has one fight with a henchman played by the great HK star Yuen Siu Tien who was in many kung fu films - a few with Jackie Chan and Sammo Hung. His son is the great action choreographer Yuen Woo-ping. Of course, Granger beats him up and tosses him overboard. There was only one other face I recognized from HK films but can't recall the name - the fisherman.



The main pleasure of the film for me was simply that it takes place in HK in 1965 and there are many exterior shoots. I always love seeing old Hong Kong. It always looks so wonderful to me.

Trailer:


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