Circle of Iron (1978)

“Each moment that passes changes you. You do not . . . cannot possess even yourself. How can you hope to possess anyone or anything else?” Bruce Lee cowrote Circle of Iron (along with James Coburn!) and was reportedly set to be its star but died before production. The project languished until it was picked up by David “Kung Fu” Carradine. A notorious box office failure, the curiously entertaining (and frequently cheesy!) film, which was directed by Richard Moore, concerns a young fighter’s quest for enlightenment. It was filmed in Israel and released in 1978. You may remember star Jeff Cooper (“Cord”) as “Gangrene” in the Billy Jack flick, The Born Losers (1967). Carradine portrays just about every other character in the movie, including “The Blind Man,” “The Monkeyman,” “Chang-Sha” and “Death.” Also look for Christopher Lee as “Zetan,” Roddy McDowall and Eli Wallach. Does anyone know whatever happened to Cooper (his IMDb filmography ends in 1986)? The film’s original title as The Silent Flute. In his preface to the script, Lee wrote, “True mastery transcends any particular art. It stems from the mastery of oneself—the ability, developed through self-discipline, to be calm, fully aware, and completely in tune with oneself and the surroundings. Then, and only then, can a person know himself.”

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