‘Enter the Dragon’ Turns 40: What You Didn’t Know About Bruce Lee
Linda Lee Cadwell remembers her late husband Bruce Lee, seen left in 'Enter the Dragon,' 1973 (Photo: Everett/Getty)
Behind every great man is a great woman, and for martial arts legend Bruce Lee, that woman was Linda Emery, who married her dashing gongfu teacher in the mid-'60s. Linda and Bruce were husband and wife until July 20, 1973, when Bruce died of cerebral edema at the age of 32 ... just six days before the Hong Kong release of what many consider to be his greatest cinematic achievement, "Enter the Dragon."
Upon the 40-year anniversary of both the premiere of "Enter the Dragon" (which is now available in a 40th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray) and the untimely death of its star, we spoke with Linda Lee Cadwell (who has since remarried) about her late husband's legacy and how his abilities and philosophies have inspired countless others to reach their full potential — and beyond.
BRYAN ENK: Does it feel like 40 years have passed since "Enter the Dragon" was first released?
LINDA LEE CADWELL: [Laughs] No, I was actually quite shocked when I realized, "40 years?!" It's a lifetime, to be sure. And like you, a lot of the people who admire "Enter the Dragon" and Bruce were not even born at the time when he was alive. That does put it in perspective and makes it seem like 40 years have passed.
BE: "Enter the Dragon" is considered to be one of the best martial arts films of all time, if not the best. What do you feel have been the most influential aspects of the film over the past four decades and what has made it stand the test of time so well?
LLC: Well it certainly is the gold standard of martial arts films and certainly inspired the genre altogether. I think it's quite obvious really that the outstanding thing about "Enter the Dragon" was Bruce. The storyline is really nothing spectacular and the technical qualities are fine, but the thing that makes it really stand out is of course Bruce. And the parts of it that people admire so much are on different levels — a person can look at "Enter the Dragon" and admire the physicality of it, the combat, the choreography inspired and performed by Bruce, or they can take it a step further and see that there are bits of philosophical wisdom in it, also inspired by Bruce.
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BE: Do you have a particularly good behind-the-scenes memory from when the film was in production, something that happened on or off the set?