Bruce Lee: The Man and the Legend

Is this the first Bruceploitation film? Released just weeks after the Little Dragon’s death in 1973 (not 1977, as Letterboxd says) and produced by Golden Harvest (which financed/distributed his four canonical films), this documentary is built around footage from Lee’s two funerals. The Hong Kong funeral is enormous, with hundreds of fans crowding the streets and a galaxy of Hong Kong movie stars (I spotted Nora Miao, Sammo Hung, Bolo Yeung, Jimmy Wang Yu, and, uh, George Lazenby). His Seattle funeral is more low-key, but the pallbearers include James Coburn and Steve McQueen (wearing jeans and a jean jacket). Lee’s wife Linda and children Brandon and Shannon are stoic presences as both. This footage is morbid but not uninteresting.

In between these bookending segments, we get long clips from Lee’s movies; short, unenlightening appearances by his teachers, students, and colleagues; a lot of rarely-seen photos (including costume tests for a proposed Shaw Brothers period film); and a tour of his very-‘70s Hong Kong mansion.

Mondo Bruce, for the obsessive fan.