Cleopatra Jones and the Casino of Gold (1975)

R | 96 mins | Drama | July 1975

Director:

Chuck Bail

Writer:

Bill Tennant

Producer:

Bill Tennant

Cinematographer:

Alan Hume

Editor:

Willy Kemplen

Production Designer:

Johnson Tsao

Production Companies:

Warner Bros., Inc., Shaw Brothers, Ltd.
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HISTORY

Cleopatra Jones Meets the Dragon Lady was a working title for the film, as noted in an 11 Mar 1975 Var brief.
       According to HR production charts dated 23 Aug 1974 and a 19 Aug 1974 DV news item, principal photography began 19 Aug 1974 in Hong Kong. A 3 Oct 1974 Var news item stated that Cleopatra Jones and the Casino of Gold was “plagued by production problems” and announced that Chuck Bail was replacing director Don Medford. The item also explained that Stella Stevens was cast as the “Dragon Lady” after Shaw Brothers, Ltd. chiefs Run Run Shaw and Runme Shaw were unable to find a Chinese actress who spoke English. As of the 3 Oct 1974 item, the production was two weeks behind schedule, partly due to weather delays. The film last appeared in HR production charts on 3 Jan ... More Less

Cleopatra Jones Meets the Dragon Lady was a working title for the film, as noted in an 11 Mar 1975 Var brief.
       According to HR production charts dated 23 Aug 1974 and a 19 Aug 1974 DV news item, principal photography began 19 Aug 1974 in Hong Kong. A 3 Oct 1974 Var news item stated that Cleopatra Jones and the Casino of Gold was “plagued by production problems” and announced that Chuck Bail was replacing director Don Medford. The item also explained that Stella Stevens was cast as the “Dragon Lady” after Shaw Brothers, Ltd. chiefs Run Run Shaw and Runme Shaw were unable to find a Chinese actress who spoke English. As of the 3 Oct 1974 item, the production was two weeks behind schedule, partly due to weather delays. The film last appeared in HR production charts on 3 Jan 1975. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
LOCATION
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
23 Jun 1975
p. 19.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Aug 1974
p. 19.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Jan 1975
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Jun 1975
p. 9.
Los Angeles Times
27 Aug 1975
p. 13.
New York Times
12 Jul 1975
p. 16.
Variety
18 Jun 1975
p. 19.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Run Run Shaw/William Tennant Production
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
Unit prod mgr
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam crew
Cam crew
Cam crew
Lighting gaffer
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
COSTUMES
Cleopatra Jones' ward
MUSIC
SOUND
Sd mixer
Sd eff
Sd eff
Sd eff
VISUAL EFFECTS
Title des
Titles and opticals
Spec eff
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Cleopatra Jones' makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod asst
Chinese fighting instructor
Chinese fighting instructor
Unit mgr
Prod asst
Loc mgr
Floor mgr
Asst prod mgr
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stunt driver
Stunt driver
COLOR PERSONNEL
[Col by]
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on characters created by Max Julien.
AUTHOR
SONGS
"Playin' With Fire," music by Dominic Frontiere, lyrics by Kenny Kerner and Richie Wise.
DETAILS
Release Date:
July 1975
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 11 July 1975
Los Angeles opening: 27 August 1975
Production Date:
19 August 1974--January 1975
Copyright Claimant:
Warner Brothers Entertainment, Inc. & Shaw Brothers (Hong Kong), Ltd.
Copyright Date:
4 July 1975
Copyright Number:
LP44910
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Lenses/Prints
Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
96
MPAA Rating:
R
Countries:
Hong Kong, United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Matthew and Melvin Johnson, two African American drug dealers, arrive in Hong Kong, where Morgan, an American contact, leads them to a boat anchored offshore. Although Matthew and Melvin have come to meet Ms. Big, the woman who controls Hong Kong’s heroin trade, Morgan informs them that they will be dealing with Soo Da Chen, a former employee of Ms. Big’s who has broken away to form his own operation. Dubious of the change in plans, Melvin and Matthew reluctantly present Chen with $500,000 in cash, promising another half million after they receive their heroin. Shots are fired by intruders and a gunfight ensues as Ms. Big and her minions invade the boat. Melvin and Matthew offer their money to Ms. Big, who accepts it then takes the men hostage. Cleopatra Jones, a tall and strikingly beautiful African American secret agent, arrives in Hong Kong and meets her liaison, Stanley Nagel, who warns that she must cooperate with local authorities in her search for Matthew and Melvin, who also happen to be undercover agents. Disregarding Stanley’s advice, Cleopatra sets out alone. At an outdoor market, she finds an informant who claims to know the whereabouts of Soo Da Chen, but leads her into an ambush, instead. As Cleopatra fights a large group of Hong Kong locals, Mi Ling Fong, a slight but powerful woman, comes to her aid. The two women overpower Cleopatra’s attackers, and Mi Ling introduces herself as a private detective, then shows Cleopatra her martial arts studio filled with weapons. At lunch with Mi Ling’s male employees, Cleopatra solicits their help in finding Soo Da Chen, Matthew, and Melvin. Meanwhile, Ms. Big, at her casino on ... +


Matthew and Melvin Johnson, two African American drug dealers, arrive in Hong Kong, where Morgan, an American contact, leads them to a boat anchored offshore. Although Matthew and Melvin have come to meet Ms. Big, the woman who controls Hong Kong’s heroin trade, Morgan informs them that they will be dealing with Soo Da Chen, a former employee of Ms. Big’s who has broken away to form his own operation. Dubious of the change in plans, Melvin and Matthew reluctantly present Chen with $500,000 in cash, promising another half million after they receive their heroin. Shots are fired by intruders and a gunfight ensues as Ms. Big and her minions invade the boat. Melvin and Matthew offer their money to Ms. Big, who accepts it then takes the men hostage. Cleopatra Jones, a tall and strikingly beautiful African American secret agent, arrives in Hong Kong and meets her liaison, Stanley Nagel, who warns that she must cooperate with local authorities in her search for Matthew and Melvin, who also happen to be undercover agents. Disregarding Stanley’s advice, Cleopatra sets out alone. At an outdoor market, she finds an informant who claims to know the whereabouts of Soo Da Chen, but leads her into an ambush, instead. As Cleopatra fights a large group of Hong Kong locals, Mi Ling Fong, a slight but powerful woman, comes to her aid. The two women overpower Cleopatra’s attackers, and Mi Ling introduces herself as a private detective, then shows Cleopatra her martial arts studio filled with weapons. At lunch with Mi Ling’s male employees, Cleopatra solicits their help in finding Soo Da Chen, Matthew, and Melvin. Meanwhile, Ms. Big, at her casino on the island of Macao, tells her top aide, Mendez, to hurry up and find Soo Da Chen. She meets with three of her business associates, including Lao Di and Mr. Han, and informs them that Soo Da Chen betrayed their organization. The men, who control the poppy fields that supply Ms. Big’s heroin, claim they did not know about Chen’s ambitions. However, Ms. Big presents an item belonging to Mr. Han that was found on Chen’s boat, indicating that he was collaborating with the traitor. She instructs one of her thugs to shoot Han dead. Back in Hong Kong, Cleopatra and Mi Ling realize they are being followed by a car full of men. The car eventually crashes and burns in an ensuing explosion, and the pursuers are killed. Later, Stanley reprimands Cleopatra for reckless behavior, but she insists that someone, perhaps Soo Da Chen, is trying to kill her. Although Stanley is aware that Cleopatra is working with a local girl, Cleopatra refuses to give up Mi Ling’s name. At the casino, Ms. Big pretends to befriend Melvin and Matthew, offering them massages from a group of young girls who work for her. Once the men are out of earshot, Ms. Big tells Mendez to find and kill Cleopatra and Mi Ling. However, Cleopatra fights off Ms. Big’s thugs when they attack, then goes to a dive bar where she finds Soo Da Chen’s brother. Under duress, he reveals that Soo Da needs money before he can leave town. He also mentions that Soo Da Chen’s female boss is trying to kill him. Stanley tells Cleopatra that the thugs who chased her were affiliated with the Dragon Lady Casino in Macao, which Soo Da Chen used to visit regularly. Before leaving for Macao with Cleopatra, Mi Ling is attacked by Mendez and another of Ms. Big’s thugs; however, Cleopatra arrives just in time to fend them off. Despite Ms. Big’s hospitality, Melvin and Matthew realize they are in danger and remind Ms. Big that they need to negotiate a heroin deal. Cleopatra receives a call from Soo Da Chen’s brother that he is at a billiard hall, but when Cleopatra and Mi Ling find him, he escapes. They lose track of him, but he is caught by Mendez, who lies in waiting at his apartment. Later that evening, Mi Ling and Cleopatra go to the apartment and find two of Ms. Big’s thugs ransacking the place. When the thugs draw their guns, Cleopatra shoots the men dead. Disguised as casino patrons, Cleopatra and Mi Ling travel to Macao. At the same time, Ms. Big calls Melvin and Matthew into her office, where they watch her kill Soo Da Chen in a swordfight. Ms. Big becomes distracted when she learns that Cleopatra and Mi Ling have arrived, sending Matthew and Melvin back to their quarters and promising to deal with them later. On the casino floor, Ms. Big approaches Cleopatra and Mi Ling at a roulette table and warns the ladies that they would be wise to catch the last boat off the island, lest they be forced to stay overnight. Outside the casino, Madalyna, one of Ms. Big’s massage girls, reveals to Cleopatra and Mi Ling that Ms. Big is holding Matthew and Melvin hostage. Cleopatra looks for the men alone and instructs Mi Ling to wait for her at the dock. Roaming the alleyways behind the casino, Cleopatra is startled when she sees Madalyna’s dead body inside a barber shop. Ms. Big’s thugs chase Cleopatra through the streets, and she is eventually surrounded by an army of men. Cleopatra surrenders and follows Mendez to Ms. Big’s office. There, she reunites with Melvin and Matthew, who apologize for botching the drug deal. Mi Ling bursts in and helps Cleopatra escape, while Melvin and Matthew fend off Ms. Big’s thugs. Mi Ling’s cohorts arrive on motorcycles, driving Mi Ling and Cleopatra through the casino as they fire automatic weapons at Ms. Big’s guards, inciting chaos in the casino. Splitting up, Cleopatra goes after Ms. Big while Mi Ling fights and kills Mendez by pushing him over a balcony. Chasing Ms. Big back to her quarters, Cleopatra engages in a fistfight and stabs her to death with a sword. Returning to the casino floor, Cleopatra finds Mi Ling, Melvin, and Matthew laughing, surrounded by their fallen enemies. When Mi Ling announces that she called Stanley to bring in the authorities, Cleopatra realizes that her friend is not a private detective but a government operative like herself. The following day, Stanley tells Cleopatra that he knew she would deny outside help if he arranged it, so he secretly sent Mi Ling to assist her. Stanley, Mi Ling, and Cleopatra say their goodbyes as Cleopatra boards a plane to the United States. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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