The Mighty Peking Man
|The Mighty Peking Man|
Hong Kong theatrical poster featuring Evelyn Kraft
|Directed by||Ho Meng-hua|
|Produced by||Chua Lam
The Shaw Brothers
|Written by||Kuang Ni|
|Editing by||Chiang Hsing-Lung|
The Mighty Peking Man (猩猩王 THE MIGHTY PEKING MAN) (Mandarin: Hsing Hsing Wang, Cantonese: Sing Sing Wong - literally "Orangutan King: THE MIGHTY PEKING MAN") is a 1977 film produced in Hong Kong by Shaw Brothers Studio to capitalize on the craze surrounding the 1976 remake of King Kong. The film was originally released in the US in 1980 as Goliathon.
The film was directed by Ho Meng Hua and produced by Runme Shaw; the special effects were directed by Sadamasa Arikawa, with Koichi Kawakita as assistant FX director. It starred Danny Lee and Evelyne Kraft.
|This section requires expansion. (April 2011)|
A party from Hong Kong headed up by Johnny (Danny Lee) are exploring the Indian side of the Himalayan mountains and discover the eponymous Peking Man, a gigantic ape-like creature, along with a beautiful blond wild woman named Samantha (Evelyne Kraft) whose parents had been killed in a plane crash. Samantha was raised by Utam (the Peking Man) with nothing to wear but an animal-skin bikini. Like Tarzan, she has learned both to swing through the trees on vines and to communicate with and command the jungle animals, with the exception of a venomous snake who bites her on the inner thigh requiring the hero Johnny to suck out the poison while Samantha's leopard friend fights the snake. Shortly thereafter, they fall in love.
Johnny and his partners bring Samantha and Utam to Hong Kong, where Utam goes on display to the incredulous public. While in Hong Kong, Samantha doesn't seem to prefer women's clothing and continues to wear her animal-skin bikini. Johnny, meanwhile, reconciles with the girlfriend whose romantic betrayal with his brother had been the impetus behind his sudden decision to explore the Himalayas. Samantha sees this and runs off nearly getting raped. Utam goes berserk and squashes the rapist. During Samantha's running, Utam ends up on a rampage. Utam then goes to the tallest building he can find (namely the Jardine House), and climbs it. Danny and Samantha catch up to Utam and plan to get him out of Hong Kong and back to their jungle. Utam is burned/shot to death by several helicopters in a scene greatly reminiscent of the ending of King Kong, and falls off. Samantha is killed in an explosion during the conflict and Johnny receives what appears to be a very minor gunshot wound to the lower leg.
On April 23, 1999, Quentin Tarantino re-released The Mighty Peking Man in North America through his Rolling Thunder Pictures distribution company with Miramax. Roger Ebert gave the film three stars out of a possible four in the Chicago Sun-Times, and, incidentally, actually upgraded his rating for the thematically similar Infra-Man:
"Mighty Peking Man is very funny, although a shade off the high mark of Infra-Man, which was made a year earlier, and is my favorite Hong Kong monster film. Both were produced by the legendary Runme Shaw, who, having tasted greatness, obviously hoped to repeat. I find to my astonishment that I gave Infra-Man only two and a half stars when I reviewed it. That was 22 years ago, but a fellow will remember a lot of things you wouldn't think he'd remember. I'll bet a month hasn't gone by since that I haven't thought of that film. I am awarding Mighty Peking Man three stars, for general goofiness and a certain level of insane genius, but I cannot in good conscience rate it higher than Infra-Man. So, in answer to those correspondents who ask if I have ever changed a rating on a movie: Yes, Infra-Man moves up to three stars.
Audiences were less receptive to the film, however. In its opening weekend, it grossed just $4,873 in 13 theatres ($374 per screen), and ended its run with a meager $17,368.
The film was on IFC cable television network's schedule at the end of 2008.