Film poster for Dragon Inn
|Mandarin||Lóng Mén Kè Zhàn|
|Directed by||King Hu|
|Produced by||LS Chang|
|Written by||King Hu|
|Music by||Lan-Ping Chow|
|Edited by||Hung-min Chen|
Union Film Company
Dragon Inn, also known as Dragon Gate Inn, is a 1967 Taiwanese wuxia film directed by King Hu. The film was remade in 1992, as New Dragon Gate Inn, and again in 2011 as The Flying Swords of Dragon Gate.
Tsao, the emperor's first eunuch, has successfully bested General Yu, his political opponent. The general was beheaded but his remaining children have been exiled from China. As the children are being escorted to the western border of the Chinese empire, Tsao plots to have the children killed. Tsao's secret police lie in ambush at the desolate Dragon Gate Inn. Martial arts expert Hsiao shows up at the inn, wanting to meet the innkeeper. Unknown to the secret police is that the innkeeper, Wu Ning, was one of the general's lieutenants and has summoned Hsiao to help the children. A brother-sister martial-artist team (children of another Yu lieutenant) also show up to help. These four race to find Yu's children and lead them to safety.
In 1965, director King Hu left the Hong Kong-based Shaw Brothers Studio just after completing Come Drink with Me. Hu left for Taiwan where he met with Sha Rongfeng. The two created the short-lived studio called the Union Film Company. Dragon Inn was shot in Taiwan in 1966.
Modern reception of the film in Taiwan is positive. In 2011, the Tapei Golden Horse Film Festival had 122 industry professionals take part in the survey. This voters included film scholars, festival programmers, film directors, actors and producers to vote for the 100 Greatest Chinese-Language Films. Dragon Inn tied with Wong Kar-wai's In the Mood for Love (2000) for ninth place on the list. Empire gave the film four stars out five, referring to it as a "A keystone of the wuxia genre" and noted that the film "may lack plot complexity and period spectacle. But the stand-off in a remote inn is flecked with tension, wit and slick martial artistry."
Aftermath and influence
Taiwanese director Tsai Ming-Liang directed the critically acclaimed film Goodbye, Dragon Inn (2003). The film is set in a decrepit Taipei movie theater on its final night in business where it is screening Dragon Inn. The films characters either watch the film very closely or humorously distracted from it.
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