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Henry Wong's interview

February 6 2015 at 7:53 AM
LJF  (Login LJF)

 
The followings are the excerpts on Henry’s Wong interview from the Chinese edition of Chaplin Chang’s book, “The Bruce That They Knew” published in July 2013 in HK.

On lost ETD outtake footage

Q1: How much 16mm footage did you shoot for ETD outtakes?
A: I shot nearly 9,000 feet of footage which is equivalent to 20 reels.
(Note:It was to be used to make a 10-12 minute TV documentary to promote ETD prior to theatrical release. The 9,000 feet of 16mm film equated to about 5 hours of film time.)

Q2: Did you know whether Golden Harvest (GH) or Warner Bros (WB) keep any of this footage?
A: In 1973, I was supplied with the film negative for ETD’s outtake shooting. Upon completion, Fred Weintraub instructed me to edit this footage into 12 minutes outtakes. So, after finished editing the outtakes, I gave everything including the remaining unused off-cuts footage back to Fred.

Q3: They don’t know where is it now? Has it been trashed?
A: I passed the copy to Fred Weintraub and he might have passed it to someone else. Trashed? I think so... As far as I know, nobody is able to recover it. Since I don’t own the outtake’s copyright and also don’t want to keep it at my house, thus, I returned the copy…
(Note: According to Clouse’s book, “The Making of The ETD”, the footage mostly featured Bruce, was sent to a New York editing company to condense into the final 10 minutes. When the documentary was completed, the company destroyed the remaining 4 hours and 50 minutes. This had been approved by the studio. However, not one copy of the 10 minute documentary could be found).

Q4: You should’ve kept a copy of it!
A: I surely should…. you know, when Bruce passed away, that very night and the following day, someone from GH called me up and demand for the footage. They asked me to name a price for it. I apologised to them for missing the opportunity to make a fortune as the footage has been returned to the rightful owner and is no longer in my possession.

Q5: Haha…that’s 9,000 feet of film footage!
A: It includes plenty of stuff, such as interviews with Bruce (note: not BBC interview), Bruce’s rehearsing and trainings with the stuntmen etc. All of them are best quality outtakes that have been shot on location… (note: photos of Henry Wong filming Bruce, Shih Kien & John Saxon during breaks can be found on the website)

On challenges during filming of ETD :

Q6: During the shooting of ETD, have you seen any interesting happenings?
A: Oh yes, one afternoon, when we were about to wrap up for the shooting, 1 young extra insisted on challenging Bruce.

Q7: Can you please relate how it happened?
A: Bruce was coaching the young extra on how to kick properly, then, he kept pestering Bruce to spar with him. Bruce got pissed off and really taught him a lesson. The spar was over in seconds! That fellow was beaten badly. His ribs were injured (likely fractured). Bruce compensated him HK$20,000 medical fees. I saw the amount he wrote on the check which was handled over to the extra’s mother later on. Bruce doesn’t care about giving this much amount of money and the extra was sent to the hospital by someone from GH.
(Bruce would usually laughed off at most of the challenges. But every once in a while, he would have to defend his honor if the insults continued.)

Q8: There was another incident where another extra who was sitting on the wall, jumped down and challenged Bruce directly in-front of the ETD crews. Remember?
A: Yup, I co-incidentally filmed the challenge!

Q9: You did?
A: Yup, I did have the footage then… (Note: In the documentary, “Intercepting Fist (1998), Magdalena Chan, the production manager of ETD who was one of the eye witnesses, described this fight in details, along with Henry Wong.)

Q10: Too bad, someone threw that footage away. That’s Fred Weintraub!
A: I remembered Bruce (who beat the extra with a kick) came up to me and asked me whether or not I’d discard the footage. I said “no”. I’m going to develop it. Then, he asked me again whether I’ll keep it for myself. I replied “no” as I’ve already said beforehand that I’ll return it to Warner Bros who owns its copyright.

===============================================================================================================================================

According to one top executive and a film editor of GH, Raymond Chow requested Fred to send him a copy of that footage after the death of Bruce in 1973 to make the documentary, “The life and death of Bruce Lee” in 1973 (note: GH released an re-edited edition of this documentary as “The legend of Bruce Lee” in 1984). Clips of the funeral, GOD outtakes, Bruce’s Cantonese voice recording, ETD’s trophy room screen-test etc. were all inserted into the documentary but not the ETD outtakes.

As a matter of fact, the film editor told the HK press that he had earlier saw the untouched outtake film reel being sent back to the film storage warehouse of GH. It was an order given by Raymond. Raymond did not return this footage to Warner Bros. Years later, he told Fred that they were unable to locate it anymore even upon many requests by Warner Bros. (quite similiar to the TVB footage, whereby TVB Top Executive told John Little that they could not find any of them because all were destroyed but years later some Bruce's crystal clear TVB footage appeared on the Youtube). Subsequently, Fred thought he might have a copy of it in Warner’s vault but still, after extensive search, he was unable to locate any as well (wondering if they have search it thoroughly or have missed the footage with ETD Chinese characters on the reel).

Few years ago, someone working for a company in HK that own BL’s copyright confirmed the footage related to ETD have been discovered. Initially, fans were expecting this newly discovered footage to be incorporated into ETD 40th anniversary DVD but Warner Bros disappointed the fans again. Is it the long lost 10 minute ETD outtake with the 4 hours 50 min offcut footage??? or just the 10 minute outake??? Why is it not being released? When will the fans get to see it?

Anyway, too long waiting and too many disappointments already. All BL fans will believe it only when they see it!

Here are photos of Henry Wong’s shooting ETD outtake: http://postimg.org/image/eq742imf3/
(photos courtesy of Warner Bros)

 
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Responses

  • Great interview!! - Leon on Feb 6, 2015, 8:34 AM
  •  
  • Re: Henry Wong's interview - panttelis on Feb 6, 2015, 1:29 PM
    • Re: Re: Henry Wong's interview - LJF on Feb 6, 2015, 4:09 PM
    • Re: Re: Henry Wong's interview - panttelis on Feb 6, 2015, 9:44 PM
    • Re: Re: Re: Henry Wong's interview - LJF on Feb 7, 2015, 2:51 AM
    • Chaplin's book - anon on Feb 7, 2015, 5:46 AM
     
  • Re:Henry Wong Interview - rockfish on Feb 6, 2015, 5:52 PM
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  • Re:Henry Wong Interview - rockfish on Feb 6, 2015, 6:08 PM
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