In the 1960's, there was such an over production of Cantonese wu xia films (knight-errant movies with heroes possessing fantastical martial arts powers), resulting in mediocre productions which threatened the survival of the martial art film. Then one man came along, waved his magic scalpel and gave Hong Kong cinema a much needed face-lift. Appropriately, his name was King Hu (aka Hu King-chuan or Hu Jinquan). A leader among filmmakers, with his cinematic approach and fight choreographical aesthetics, Hu changed the direction of swordsman films and set the standard for all martial art stylized action movies to come. And it all started at Shaw Brothers.
Born April 29, 1931 in Beijing, China, Hu enrolled at the National Art Institute in Beijing where he developed his appreciation for traditional Chinese history and opera. Coming to Hong Kong in 1949, he serpentined through the postage-stamp colony as a proof-reader, writer, actor and graphic draftsman, getting his first cinematic job with the design department at the Great Wall Film Company which led to his acting gig as an extra in the company's production of Humiliation for Sale (1955). It was directed by Yen Chun, whose assistant at the time was future Shaws acclaimed director, Li Han-hsiang.