Shaw Brothers Studio, Hong Kong
The Shaw Brothers organization was started by brothers Runme and Runrun Shaw in 1924 as a movie distribution and theater chain that became the largest chain in Asia. Eventually the brothers decided that it would be more profitable to make their own films. They opened studios in various parts of Asia, producing silent films at first then graduating to "talkies".
In 1957 the brothers decided to open a studio in Hong Kong and built what would become the largest film studio in Hong Kong. The complex included film processing labs, an extensive backlot, and even dormitories for employees. The studio had its own classrooms where they trained actors in diction, action, and martial arts.
Shaws had several units filming at the same time on various lots at the studio. This enabled them to produce around 40 films a year.
In the 1970's and 80's directors such as Chang Cheh, Li Han Hsiang, and King Hu were producing costume epics, martial arts films, and modern dramas for the Mandarin and Cantonese markets.
Eventually Shaw Brothers studios began to concentrate on television and established the television station TVB, where modern film stars like Andy Lau, Stephen Chow, Tony Leung Chui Wai, and Chow Yun Fat got their starts.
For more information about the Shaw Brothers empire see the official website.
Favorite Shaw Brothers Stars
My three favorite Shaw stars from the 70's and 80's are David Chiang, Ti Lung, and Alexander Fu Sheng. These three stars, together with directors Chang Cheh and Lau Kar Leung were perhaps the best known of all the talent to come out of Shaws at the time.
David Chiang and Ti Lung were often paired by Chang Cheh in films that featured storylines about brotherhood and loyalty. Chang Cheh was credited with popularizing the male hero in Chinese films, since at the time, female sword-wielding heroines such as Cheng Pei Pei and Ivy Ling Po were what movie goers in Asia were used to seeing.