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CollectionsShaw Brothers' MoviesThe Shaw’s StoryShaw Brothers (Hong Kong) Limited
Shaw Brothers (Hong Kong) Limited

As the new Shaw Studios took shape, Run Run Shaw also implemented American-style studio routines to standardize film production and ensure the smooth operation of the production line. These included: 1) replacing live recording with dubbing. This effectively eliminated the language barrier and allowed actors of different provincial origins to work together, which helped enlarge the talent pool and speed up the filming process, hence reduce costs; 2) carrying out work during daytime as far as possible, and tightening control over frontline production work; 3) creating new divisions for screenwriting and planning, opening actor’s training courses and organizing weekly workshops on production and screenwriting; 4) streamlining studio routines to speed up workflows.

Run Run Shaw made aggressive moves in the filming world during the few years after relocating to Hong Kong, and found himself in direct and vigorous competition with Loke Wan Tho, head of the Singaporean filmmaker Motion Pictures & General Investment (MP&GI). The rivalry between Shaw Bros. and MP&GI ushered in an era of grand studio productions in Hong Kong. Both companies, using Hollywood’s assembly-line production model, engaged in all the three major activities of production, distribution and screening. By implementing the “vertical integration” industrial principle in filmmaking, the companies were able to make multiple films in the studio simultaneously, thus enabling large-scale output of quality films for their respective franchised cinema lines. The competition turned white-hot, with wave after wave of high-profile talent poaching and both companies making films with similar themes. In 1964, after years of rivalry, Shaw Bros. and MP&GI finally signed an agreement of cordiality and agreed to cease the vicious competition. Sadly, just three months after the signing of the agreement Loke Wan Tho and his wife were killed in an aeroplane crash, taking with them MP&GI’s glory days. Shaw Bros., by contrast, continued to shine under Run Run Shaw’s leadership.

  • The front entrance of Shaw Studios

  • Photo of Shaw Run-run with his wife and son
The Shaw’s Story

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