This is not a film that we are looking at, this is just wide research on the background information on films. This will help me to compare and contrast with the films that I would be looking at.
- Jet Li was originally cast to play Li Mu Bai, but turned the part down to appear in Romeo Must Die (2000). The role was next offered to Hong Kong singer/actor ‘Lai, Leon’ but he, too, turned it down.
- Ziyi Zhang studied calligraphy for several months along with her other training for the movie.
- Michelle Yeoh did not speak Mandarin, and the script was presented to her phonetically with help from Mandarin-speaking crew members – her Malaysian accent can be heard throughout. Yun-Fat Chow did speak Mandarin (his first language is Cantonese) but native Mandarin speakers thought his accent strained and overdone.
- Michelle Yeoh tore her ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) during the shooting of an early fighting sequence and had to be flown to the U.S. for knee surgery. She returned to the set at different times to film non-action scenes until the knee had recovered.
- “Crouching tiger hidden dragon” is a quote from Chinese mythology. It refers to hiding your strength from others; advice which is followed too well by the characters in the film.
- In Chinese, Lo’s name is “Little Tiger”, and Jen’s name is “Gorgeous Dragon”.
- In 2001, this became the first foreign language film to earn over $100 million in the United States.
- The film’s action choreographer, Woo-ping Yuen, was also responsible for the fighting sequences in The Matrix (1999) and its progeny.
- Tan Dun had only two weeks to compose and record the musical score.
- The Green Destiny Sword Li Mu Bai carries translates to Green Dark World Sword – a place where the dead go. The Mu in Li Mu Bai’s name translates to a kind of positive jealousy or longing – as in wanting something but probably never getting it.
- Taiwanese-born Hong Kong actress Qi Shu was originally cast in Ziyi Zhang‘s role of Jen Yu and worked on the film for several weeks, until her agent pulled her from the movie to do a Pepsi commercial in Japan. (She has since changed agents!)
- The film is an adaptation of the fourth novel in a pentalogy, or five-novel cycle, known in China as the Crane/Iron Pentalogy and written by noted wuxia (kung-fu) novelist Du Lu Wang. The novels are “Crane Frightens Kunlun”, “Precious Sword, Golden Hairpin”, “Sword’s Force, Pearl’s Shine”, “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”, and “Iron Knight, Silver Vase”. Much of the story is not about Li Mu Bai and Yu Shu Lien; they are in fact secondary characters who only become important later in the series. When a comic-book adaptation of the fourth book in the pentalogy was slated, illustrator Andy Seto re-watched the film to get inspiration for how to depict the fight scenes.
- Ang Lee comments that originally he did not wish for Shu Lien to wield the heavy two-handed straight sword against Jen. This is consistent within the movie, as Shu Lien indicates her preference of the ‘dao’, the saber with a broad, curved blade, instead of the straight-bladed ‘jian’, Li Mu Bai’s weapon of choice. The Green Destiny is itself a jian.
- The film holds the record for the most Oscar nominations for a “foreign” film. It was nominated for 10 Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Music (Song), Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay), Best Film Editing, and Best Costume Design.
- The four main actors all spoke Mandarin, but with different accents. Yun-Fat Chow had a Cantonese accent, Michelle Yeoh had a Malaysian/English accent, Ziyi Zhang had a Beijing accent, and Chen Chang had a Taiwanese accent. Because of the difficulty some Chinese-speaking markets had with the voices, some markets actually had a dubbed version (into standard Mandarin) of the soundtrack.
- #10 in the Hong Kong Film Awards’ List of The Best 100 Chinese Motion Pictures. (March 2005)
- According to old Taiwanese newspapers, in 1959 there was a Taiwanese-speaking movie called “Luo Xiao Hu and Yu Jiao Long,” an earlier adaptation of Du Lu Wang‘s novel. The old newspapers noted that this version was also a martial arts film. The leading actress, Hsiao Yan-Chiou, was originally traditional Taiwanese opera actress. After this movie released, Hsiao married, leaving “Luo Xiao Hu and Yu Jiao Long” as her last movie. This movie is thought to be no longer in existence now, and it seems to hold no connection with Ang Lee‘s “Wo Hu Cang Long” except the adaptation source.
- The Green Destiny Sword used in the movie, along with other weapons in the movie, are made in Taiwan. The swordsmith is actually a neighbor of Ang Lee in his current residence in Tainan, Taiwan.
- The stamped documents shown by Shu Lien to the guards at the city-gate before she enters Beijing shows the date “In the of 43rd year of the reign of (Emperor) Qianlong, the sixth month, the eighth day”, which is the year A.D. 1778, somewhere in June or July.
- In the first night scene, Bo meets two night-watchmen who later give two knocks on clappers/ rods, indicating that it was the 2nd watch of the night. The first watch begins at 7 p.m. and each watch is 2 hours long, so it was after 9 p.m when Jen first sneaks into Sir Te’s residence. If we were shown how many times the night-watchmen then sounds the small cymbal/gong, we would know more precisely what time it was between 9-11 p.m.
- In the hall where Shu Lien first meets Li Mubai, there are two large sets of couplets hung on the wall behind them. The inner couplet reads “(Right) The Tall (Qiao) Tree spreads thousands of branches, but don’t they have the same roots; (Left) the Long (Yangtse) River flows into tens of thousand of distributaries, but all have the same source” and is about maintaining harmony. The outer couplet reads “(Right)In Spring and Autumn sacrifices, follow the Ancient Sages’ Rites and Customs; (Left) Arraying Left and Right, trace One Family’s Generations of Continuity” and is about maintaining tradition.
- While Ziyi Zhang‘s character is obviously highly trained & skillful in martial arts, the actress herself has never had any official martial arts training at all. Instead she uses her dance techniques to learn her moves in these scenes, as if they were a dance rather than a fight (which in terms of creating & filming them is actually not that far from the truth).
Made on a mere US$15 million budget, with dialogue in Mandarin, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon became a surprise international success. After its US premiere at the Hawaii International Film Festival, it grossed US$128 million in the United States alone, becoming the highest-grossing foreign-language film in American history. It has won over 40 awards.
Also a Video Game on playstation 2.
Crouching Tiger was very well received in the Western world, receiving critical acclaim and numerous awards. The review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported that 97% of critics gave Crouching Tiger positive reviews, based on 141 reviews, while Metacritic reported the film had an average score of 93 out of 100, based on 31 reviews.