In 1973, martial artist Bruce Lee launched himself into the American psyche with the force of one of his flying kicks as Enter the Dragon was released. Three days later Lee was dead, due to swelling on the brain.
Enter the Dragon was the last film that Lee finished, but it was not the last one he began. In fact, work began on Game of Death - a film in which the star intended to demonstrate his own martial art Jeet Kune Do ('the way of the intercepting fist') - before Enter the Dragon was offered.
|Bruce Lee in action in the yellow jumpsuit|
The latter movie, which was the first kung fu film produced by a Hollywood studio, and with a much bigger budget than Lee was used to, could not be turned down. Nevertheless, 100 minutes of Game of Death were filmed before Enter the Dragon was released.
As for Game of Death, it was only released in 1978 with a plotline altered to allow it to be completed using footage from other kung fu stars and stunt doubles with the main character's change in appearance explained away.
Despite its changes from the original project it remains a cult classic and the yellow jumpsuit which Lee wears is referenced in the costume of Uma Thurman's character The Bride/Black Mamba in Kill Bill.
Now the original jumpsuit worn by Lee is heading Heritage Auctions sale of Entertainment Memorabilia on July 17 with a relatively modest estimate of $60,000. The live sale takes place in California and internet absentee bidding is accepted until the day before.
Collectors interested in Bruce Lee memorabilia will be interested to know that there is another very rare and high quality piece on the market at the moment: an autographed notebook for an intended book entitled 'The Tao of Chinese Gung Fu' including original martial art drawings.