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李小龍與我 (1976)
Bruce Lee and I

Reviewed by: STSH
Date: 09/08/2001
Summary: Mostly curiousity value

The first half of the story is pretty much all Betty's story. Bruce gradually gets more screen time, though he is never really more than a support character, though of course an important one.

Betty is clearly very much in control of this production, with all the consequent strengths and weaknesses. She overplays her own role, at times reaching feverish melodrama. And she takes great pains to point out a number of aspects of her own story which the public, at the time, did not want to believe.

Briefly, the HK public saw her as a destructive bit on the side, and many have never forgiven her for being there when Bruce departed. Through this film, Betty attempts to portray her r/ship with Bruce as rather more complicated. Bruce saw Betty as making the same mistakes he'd made and wanted to help set her straight. No easy task for either of them. Of course, Bruce risked having his fidelity being questioned, and Betty was not an easy woman to help.

It can be left to those better informed to comment on just how bad Betty really was, or how bad she became. But this film is no whitewash. On her way up, she lived off the favour of rich old men, and gambled away their money without shame or apology. This is pointed out in several scenes, one of which is excrutiating and long. The film also covers the sleazy treatment she received from film producers and their agents.

But I give high marks to Danny Lee's portrayal of Bruce. For much of his onscreen time, the resemblance is postively errie. He had a number of things down pat, including Bruce's cocky swaggering manner, Bruce's trademark thumb across the nose and even his wild sense of humour. Filmed in profile, with sunglasses on, or in medium or long shot, he IS Bruce. It's only when he looks straight at the camera that the illusion is shattered, and Danny looks like .... well, he looks like Danny.

The support cast is a mixture of well-known faces and unknowns. I was only able to ID three of them, but there are many. Of course, who wouldn't have wanted to be in such a tribute ?

About the nudity. Two unknown actresses and Betty's character bare at least their boobs. One is a starstruck fan (actress unknown)who follows Bruce home. He flings her on the bed without warning, she is shown topless, then nude from the back when he angrily orders her to leave. The second is another unknown with a Dana hairstyle, in bed with an old man, both topless. Betty herself does a couple of topless scenes. She is also pictured rolling around in bed (there are no actual sex scenes in this film) with Bruce at the start and near the end. There are frequent pussy shots in these scenes, but it is almost certain that a body double is being used, as these shots never show Betty's face. This is a delicious irony, and probably no coincidence, as Betty's first film job is shown to be as a nude body double.

For all its good points, there is much to be annoyed about in this film. Apart from the front and end credits being stripped off (which annoyed the hell out of me !), the English dubbing is terrible. Betty is given a cringy, whining voice, and every second sentence is joined by the words "but still". And all the voice actors use the standard straight reading technique in which they stop at every fourth or fifth word, regardless of punctuation. Ugh !

Danny's fairly convincing portrayal of Bruce notwithstanding, the acting is generally at the level of bad soap opera.

Overall, worth a look, if only for curiosity.

Reviewer Score: 5