Mr Chang Cheh



Born Chang Yi Yang in Hangzhou and educated in Shanghai, director and scriptwriter Chang Cheh started scripting for films in Shanghai. But it was in Taiwan in 1949 that he helmed his first work, Happenings in Ali Shan. In 1957, he was invited by actress Li Mei to script and direct Wild Fire (1958) in Hong Kong. In 1961, he joined MP & GI as a writer; melodramas that ensued included Song without Words (1961) and Her Pearly Tears (1962). In 1962, Chang joined Shaw Brothers and made the groundbreaking classic One-Armed Swordsman (1967). The film initiated a trend of new martial arts movies that offered a stark contrast to the female-led films of the time. It also won him the title “the Million Dollar Director” and established him as a master of the martial arts genre. Chang’s subsequent productions continued to be hits: Golden Swallow (1968), The Heroic Ones (1970), Boxer from Shantung (1972) and The Blood Brothers (1973) to name but a few. These and other films made the careers of action actors like Jimmy Wang Yu, Ti Lung, David Chiang, Chan Koon Tai and Alexander Fu Sheng. Works Dead End (1969) and Young People (1972) saw Chang applying the aesthetic of violence to contemporary settings. In 1974, he set up Chang’s Film Company in Taiwan with the financial support of Shaw Brothers. Two years later, he rejoined Shaw Brothers. In 1986, he took his career to the mainland. Chang was honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Hong Kong Film Critics Association and the Hong Kong Film Awards, respectively, in 1997 and 2002.