Bruce Lee: The Lost Interviews Review
Somewhat of a misleading title, this disc actually features just the one so-called lost interview from the Bruce Lee archives and packages it together with some interesting additional material. Recorded on 9th December, 1971 in Hong Kong following Lee's overnight success with The Big Boss he appears on the 'Pierre Burton Show', a half-hour series of interviews with the stars that take place from around the world. With the commercial breaks removed we have an unedited 25 minute interview with the late, great Bruce Lee who through his meticulously pronunciated vocabulary cultivated in sixties America delivers his personal philosophies based heavily upon Chinese ideals. This strange combination (both then and now) is not only what endears the viewer to Lee's every word, but also results in what can only be described as a Chinese hippy talking philosophy on an American chat show. Certainly unique the minutes absolutely fly by and leave you wanting for more, especially when any Bruce Lee fan will have seen this interview in its entirety, albeit pieced together through numerous sources over the years.
Presented Full Frame the quality is pretty much what you'd expect from a talk show lost to the archives and recorded over thirty years ago, not great but then not too bad either. Sound quality is where it really counts and here the disc delivers, with clear audible dialogue at all times allowing you to fully appreciate Lee's musings on life, water and his many students.
William Cheung, a Wing Chun grandmaster, friend and instructor to Bruce Lee provides an hour-long interview in which he eloquently details the art he teaches and his friendship with Bruce, one that developed at an early age. Having been both a close personal friend and instructor to Bruce you would be right in thinking that Cheung has much to say about the legend and he does just that, offering many insights to the mans life and motivations while also throwing in some amusing stories from his training days and sad truths about his later years. Presented in anamorphic widescreen this is a fine addition to the disc.
Bruce Lee's original 1964 screen test is also present on the disc, which sees him give a personal profile, strike a few poses and demonstrate some moves. Much like the main interview I'm sure most fans will have seen this before, and here it looks particularly good in terms of picture quality.
An audio interviews section includes Bruce talking with Ted Thomas (13mins) and Alex Ben Block (22mins) on radio programmes, the former sounds very good with clear audio and no major background noise, the latter sounds pretty awful and is presumably telephone based as Bruce's voice is even more washed out than the hosts. Both interviews are presented with still photo montages and even some video footage of Lee demonstrating at martial arts events. In terms of the interview content both show that Bruce had clear answers to set questions, as we see him repeat his philosophy on martial art styles and his opinion on his rise to stardom repeated here almost word for word as they are on the main Pierre Burton interview. Both are certainly worth a listen, Ted Thomas's effort more so than Alex Ben Block who seems to know nothing about Bruce, but neither are quite as essential as the other material on the disc.
The various content found on this disc will certainly be of interest to fans of Bruce Lee, with the main feature and William Cheung interview standing out as essential viewing. There is just one problem, these are extras, and no amount of 'lost and rare footage' claims can change that. Unfortunately with every Bruce Lee film having received numerous releases and re-releases on the DVD format already you can understand why this new content received a disc all to itself, if for example this content was sold to Hong Kong Legends and they threw out another re-release the fans would be just as up in arms about that as they are the pricing of this DVD. As it stands the content is good, but whether or not its worthy of your hand earned cash will depend on the individual and their need to see all things Bruce Lee.