The Challenge/Fun Facts

From The Grindhouse Cinema Database

< The Challenge
  • The modern Japanese architectural complex, the setting for the film's big finale, as well as being seen on the film's main movie poster and prominently on home video covers, was the International Conference Hall in Kyoto, Japan.
  • The name for the two fabled swords was "The Equals". One was engraved with a warrior's visage whilst the other was engraved with the image of a beautiful woman.
  • First top-billed lead role in a feature film of actor Scott Glenn.
  • Publicity for this picture stated that much of the movie was filmed on the grounds of the ancient Sokokuji Temple which had remained unchanged for 700 years.
  • Technical advisor Ryû Kuze had previously, according to the movie's publicity, had choreographed hundreds of Japanese film fights.
  • The movie featured a number of actors in supporting roles well known from American television such as Calvin Jung, Clyde Kusatsu and Donna Kei Benz.
  • Second and final collaboration of Japanese actor Toshirô Mifune and director John Frankenheimer. The first had been Grand Prix (1966) about sixteen years earlier.
  • This American martial arts film's cinematographer, Kôzô Okazaki had about eight years earlier shot another Hollywood movie featuring Japanese culture which was The Yakuza (1974) which featured ninjas.
  • Third and final collaboration of composer Jerry Goldsmith and director John Frankenheimer. Their earlier two movies were 1966's Seconds (1966) and 1964's Seven Days in May (1964).
  • Debut produced screenplay of writer Richard Maxwell who co-wrote the film's script.
  • Ian Moffat worked on the film's screenplay uncredited. The picture was the second and final of two collaborations of Moffat and director John Frankenheimer who had previously co-written Black Sunday (1977) for Frankenheimer.
  • This was just the second movie from production house CBS Theatrical Films, a theatrical division of CBS Television, whose existence was short-lived.
  • In Australia, the film was cut to garner and 'M' rating for its theatrical distribution but the uncut 'R' (18+) rated version was released on home videocassette there.
  • Billed as Steve Seagal, later an actor and movie star, Steven Seagal worked on this movie as technical advisor and martial arts coordinator. The Sept-Oct 1982 edition of Coming Attractions (USA) magazine said that Seagal was "recognized in Japan as a shihan, or 'master of masters' of the combat arts".
  • Actor Toshirô Mifune, according to publicity for this picture, was a student of such martial arts as aikido, kendo, karate and kenjutsu as well as being an excellent handler of Japanese samurai swords.
  • Star Billing: Scott Glenn (1st), Toshirô Mifune (2nd) and Donna Kei Benz (3rd).
  • This movie represents one of four films released around the same time in the early 1980s where a character was buried in sand with only his head shown above ground-level. It was Scott Glenn in this film, whose character Rick spends five days in it, whilst the others were Caligula (1979) and Leslie Nielsen in Creepshow (1982) and David Bowie in Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence (1983).
  • Toshirô Mifune portrayed a character, Toru Yoshida, who had a similar sounding first name to his own.
  • First feature film in about three years that was directed by John Frankenheimer whose last picture had been 1979's Prophecy (1979).
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