Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Cost of Making:   $15 million
$209.1 million worldwide as of August 2, 2001
U.S. Box Office Chart
May 2000, 53rd Cannes Film Festival (world
July 2000, released in Taiwan, Hong Kong,
October 2000, released in Mianland China
December 2000, released in U.S.A.
August - December, 1999
The film was entirely shot in China.
(click the map to see more details)
* Beijing, Chengde, Ming Tombs -
all Beijing (Peking) scenes
* Gansu (Gobi desert), Xinjiang -
* Zhejiang, Anhui, Huangshan (Mt. Huang) region -
southern China scenes: bamboo forest, Shu Lien's security
* Cangyanshan (Mt. Cangyan), Huangshan (Mt. Huang) -
the scenery of Mt. Wudang (Wudan)
* Beijing Film Studio - certain scenes
were filmed in the studio, including Shu Lien's security
headquarters, which had to be rebuilt in Beijing due to
Hongcun Village, Huangshan
Region, Anhui Province
Anji, Zhejiang Province
Feicui Vally, Huangshan
Region, Anhui Province
Studio: Peking streets *
Studio: kiln *
* The last two pictures are from
Meaning of the Title:
The English title "Crouching Tiger,
Hidden Dragon" is a direct
translation of the original Chinese title "Wo Hu Cang Long", which is
also the title of the novel that the film is based on. The title has a
double meaning. For one thing, it is a well-known Chinese phrase that is
often used to describe a place or a situation in which there are many
undiscovered capable people and hidden power. For another, it also
directly refers to the names of the two central characters of the
original novel: I.e., Yu Jiao Long (Jen)'s name contains the Chinese
written character for "Dragon" in it while Lo Xiao Hu (Lo)'s personal
name similarly contains the Chinese written character for "Tiger".
Meaning of the Chinese names of the main
characters (surnames are highlighted):
Yu Shu Lien:
Shu (Xiu) = graceful/elegant/beautiful; Lien = lotus;
Yu Jiao Long (Jen):
Jiao = tender/sweet/charming; Long = dragon;
Li Mu Bai:
Mu = admire; Bai - literally means white, here it should stand
for Li Bai - the greatest poet from Tang dynasty;
Lo Xiao Hu (Lo):
Xiao = small/young; Hu = tiger.
N.B. Although both Shu Lien and Jiao Long (Jen)'s surnames have been
transliterated into English as Yu, they actually are written and
pronounced differently - i.e., with different intonations - in
Novels (Crane - Iron Pentalogy):
The author of the "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" novel is Wang Du Lu
(1909 - 1977). In total, Wang Du Lu wrote 16 wuxia novels.
The most famous of these are in a sequence of five novels that are
collectively called the Crane - Iron Pentalogy. "Crouching Tiger,
Hidden Dragon" (the film) is based on the Pentalogy's fourth book. The
pentalogy describes certain linked stories of love and hate which
spanned three generations set in the late Qing Dynasty (1644 - 1911).
The names of these five novels are: "Crane Frightens KunLun",
"Precious Sword, Golden Hairpin", "Sword Force, Pearl Shine",
"Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon", and "Iron Knight, Silver Vase".
For more details, please visit Novels page
on this site.
Prequel & Sequel:
A prequel is in its early (script writing) stage of development. It will
be mainly based on part II of the pentalogy - "Precious Sword, Golden
Hairpin" - and focus on the characters of Li Mu Bai and Yu Shu Lien.
Ang Lee hopes to bring back the bulk of the CTHD on and off screen team.
Currently he's not interested in making a sequel since he thinks the
ending of the CTHD film is perfect as it stands.
Miscellaneous Movie Notes:
It's an extremely strong and sharp sword. It cuts other
weapons - be they made of more ordinary metals or wood - like a knife
cuts through butter. But it doesn't have any magic power and it's no
different from, or better than, other weapons when touched elsewhere
other than on its cutting edge. This is why in the film's second fight
between Yu Shu Lien and Jen, Shu Lien was trying to expressly hit it on
its flatter - and blunter - sides.
Wudan masters fly? The answer is probably "No". But there
(supposedly) exists this kind of martial art technique that translates
into English as Lightening Skill (Qing Gong). The martial artists who
are masters of it can leap much further and higher than ordinary people.
They may even run up on a wall and balance on a tree branch. One of the
Wudan Clan's famous techniques is its Lightening Skill. Li Mu Bai and
Jen cannot fly. But they are supposed to be good in Lightening Skills.
Re Language and
Accents:   The CTHD film was shot in Mandarin, the
official language of Mainland China and Taiwan. It certainly posed
problems for the diverse cast: Only Zhang Ziyi (Jen), who hails from
Beijing (Peking), speaks with the accent that is considered most
"proper" by Mandarin language purists (no doubt on account of Mandarin
being closely related to Beijing's dialect). Chang Chen (Lo), like most
other Taiwanese, speaks Mandarin with a Taiwanese accent. Hong Kong
actors Chow Yun-Fat (Li Mu Bai), Michelle Yeoh (Yu Shu Lien), and Cheng
Pei-Pei (Jade Fox) speak Cantonese. Chow Yun-Fat and Cheng Pei-Pei had
to polish the Mandarin which they previously knew (but spoke with a
Cantonese accent). Malaysian Michelle, who not
only did not know Mandarin but also cannot read Chinese characters, had
to learn and memorize her lines phonetically. The light accents of the
actors could be noticed in the film sometimes, but they are totally
understandable and not distracting (at least for me).
Re Special Effects:
There wasn't much computer technology used in the
making of CTHD beyond the shots of old Beijing (Peking) and digital
removal of the wires that Yuen Wo-Ping and his team attached to some of
the actors who played Jen and others to enable them to 'fly'.
N.B. Stunt doubles were used for some of the
actors (as in most action movies). On the commentary audio track of
Ang Lee and James Schamus that is a special feature of the R1 CTHD
DVD, they mentioned that everyone on the Xinjiang location shoot fell
in love with the Mongolian horsewoman who was Zhang Ziyi's stunt double
in the horse chase scenes.
( page created: 06/25/01,
last modified: 08/07/01 )