Dragon Swamp [毒龍潭] (1969)

Starring Cheng Pei Pei, Lo Lieh, Yueh Hua, Tung Li, Wong Chung-Shun , Lo Wei, Ku Feng, Chiu Hung, Fan Mei-Sheng, Simon Yuen Siu Tien, Lee Siu-Paang

Directed by Lo Wei

Expectations: Moderate. Cheng Pei Pei and Lo Wei should deliver something worth watching.

Dragon Swamp isn’t one of the greats from the Shaw Brother’s lineup of films, but it is one that incorporates many great ideas and novelty into an overall enjoyable film. Cheng Pei-Pei fans will definitely be intrigued by this title, as the star portrays two characters in the film: a mother and her daughter that look very much alike. Cheng Pei Pei showcases her ability to play both hard and soft, as the mother is a world-weary character that’s been through too much to smile, while her daughter is a happy-go-lucky girl brought up in a world of martial intrigue. Add in wonderful supporting performances from some of my Shaw Brothers favorites such as Lo Lieh, Wong Chung-Shun, Yueh Hua, and Fan Mei-Sheng, and Dragon Swamp is definitely one worth watching for anyone that enjoys an old-school wuxia film.

The film opens with Cheng Pei Pei’s husband stealing the infamous Jade Dragon Sword and her firstborn child, and due to the rules of their order Cheng Pei Pei is banished to stay in Dragon Swamp for the next twenty years. Lo Wei plays the head of the order and offers to take her infant daughter (not yet portrayed by Cheng Pei Pei) and raise her as his own. Off she goes in a little rowboat into the swamp, and before we know it, it’s twenty years later! The film takes this transition very quickly, so if you’re not paying strict attention to Lo Wei’s graying hair you might think that the next scene is Cheng Pei Pei in Dragon Swamp.

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