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John Woo’s The Killer$
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Kenneth E. Hall

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9789622099562

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789622099562.001.0001

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Production History and Background

Production History and Background

(p.19) 2 Production History and Background
John Woo’s The Killer

Kenneth E. Hall

Hong Kong University Press

Woo came to The Killer with a diversified background in Hong Kong filmmaking. In addition to John Woo's apprenticeship with Chang Cheh, he had worked as a contract director for Golden Harvest. Woo's career had taken a downturn by the mid-1980s due to a series of unsuccessfully realized comedies. One of the reasons for the film's Western success may be its increased stylization relative to A Better Tomorrow; The Killer foregrounds allusions to European and Hollywood filmmaking in ways that the former film did not. Its conscious allusion to Melville as inspiration would also tend to generate interest in Western cinephile circles. The general tone and texture of The Killer fit more closely with the noir tradition than does A Better Tomorrow, which borrows more specifically from melodrama and the Hollywood gangster genre.

Keywords:   The Killer, Hong Kong, John Woo, Golden Harvest, Chang Cheh, comedy, gangster genre, A Better Tomorrow

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