Back in the 1960’s Bruce Lee wrote a script treatment for a movie idea with James Coburn called The Silent Flute. Coburn and Lee were to co-star in the film together, but the film project fell apart before Lee’s death, and it obviously never got made. Now the film is in the hands of producer Paul Maslansky and he plans on developing it as a new martial arts film... again. This will be his second attempt.
Now, Maslansky has only made one film prior to this. The film was called Circle of Iron and it was made in 1978. It definitely wasn’t a very good film, but it starred David Carradine, and was also based on this same story treatment. If you remember Carradine got the role in the Kung Fu TV series over Lee.
Maslansky says that this new film “will be an epic martial arts adventure film that promises to honor Bruce Lee’s original artistic and philosophical conception. It also promises to reach new levels of action and adventure never before seen in martial arts Fimmaking.” His first attempt at making it sure didn't.
My question is can a guy that only made one prior bad film over 30 years ago actually get this film made? Lee’s character in the film had him playing multiple roles, those role ended up being played by Carradine in Circle of Iron. The new film is also being written by Maslansky, based on the script treatment by Lee and here’s the story rundown.
A martial artist rebel named Cord embarks on a quest for the Book of Enlightenment, which is kept by the mysterious Zetan. He must pass various trials along the way that educate him in Zen philosophy. Among the characters that he runs across are a blind flute-player, a monkey chieftain, a death character, and the leader of a gypsy tribe (all played by David Carradine), who acts as a reluctant mentor to Cord. Some trials involve combat, while others involve riddles or encounters with unusual characters, such as a man who has been standing in a barrel of oil for 10 years in an attempt to remove the lower half of his body so he is no longer distracted by his genitals. Cord successfully passes all trials and is able to view the Book of Enlightenment. He discovers that each page in the book is a mirror, showing him that the secret to enlightenment and all knowledge is already within himself. He then returns to the outside world to himself become a mentor for later seekers.
I guess we’ll eventually find out if this film ever actually goes into production. This is a project that Maslansky obviously just can't let go of.
Here's the trailer for the original film Circle of Iron: