Lot 760: Incredible color vintage glossy 5 x 3.5 candid photo of Lee and John Saxon on the set of the 1973 martial arts classic Enter the Dragon, signed and inscribed in black felt tip, "To my friend Edmond, Peace, Love, Brotherhood, Bruce Lee," adding his 'Loong' character below his signature, which represents the Chinese character of a dragon. The left border of the photo bears the processing date stamp, "MAR 1973." In fine condition. Accompanied by a letter of provenance from the original recipient, in part: "One day I arrived while Bruce was still there, and saw some of the filming of the scenes with Bruce and John Saxon during the tournament…I was introduced to Bruce on a later occasion, and spent one evening watching the night filming, staying on set till 3 am in the morning, chatting with him between takes. We sat on a stonewall, with an animal handler who was there both to look after the Alsatian guard dog and the cobra that had cameo appearances in the movie…In our conversations, Bruce and I spoke about many things—the details of movie making, his philosophies of martial arts styles being limits to movement, and the difference between fighting and filming…Bruce would have had to treat me kindly…as I was a relative of his host, but he was surprisingly friendly and we really got on extremely well. I was quite an overweight teenager, with no ambition of being able to fight or being able to learn martial arts at all. That's why I never asked him to teach me anything. This was probably unusual and intriguing for him, as pretty much everybody asked him to teach them either martial arts, or some secret technique for self defence. He did advise me that if I were attacked, I should kick the assailant in the shin and run, and I think it was probably good advice! Another reason for his genial attitude would be that the set was very private—there were no members of the public present at all, so he could relax and not be mobbed by adoring fans. I was interested in the whole process of filmmaking, able to keep completely still and quiet during takes, so our conversation was just like two people introduced at a party—very calm and light hearted."Edmond Hui was 14 years old when filmmakers from Warner Brothers arrived at his family's compound in March of 1973. A sprawling coastal property in Tai Tam, Hong Kong, the estate consisted of a trio of adjacent mansions—Stanley Lodge, Tytam Villa, and Palm Villa. While scouting locations to film the various tournament scenes in their upcoming feature, Enter the Dragon, the production crew took notice of the grass tennis courts abutting the Palm Villa and made arrangements with the family to film there. After each day of school, Hui raced home with the hopes of viewing Lee in action, but often arrived when the crew had left or had already begun packing up. His persistence paid off, however, and it wasn't long before he managed to photograph and actually spend time with his martial arts hero. Lee selected this particular photo to sign among the many others that Hui had taken during the shooting.Enter the Dragon was the first Chinese martial arts film produced by a major Hollywood studio, and sadly, the final completed film of Bruce Lee, who would die at the age of 32 from a cerebral edema six days before the film's release on July 26, 1973. On the charismatic star power of Lee, the film grossed over $21 million in ticket sales, and has since gone on to become one of the most iconic and influential films of the 1970s. Given the proximity of Lee's death to the film's release, signatures on items directly related to Enter the Dragon remain exceedingly rare, with this photograph potentially being the only one extant. As an original candid photograph of Lee on the set of his most famous film, this one-of-a-kind picture stands as a true keystone collector's piece, and an item coveted by both cinephiles and martial arts enthusiasts alike.
RR Auction's Fine Autographs and Artifacts Auction 467
Wednesday, 13th January 2016
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