FILM REVIEW: KING KHAYAM AND I


The Plot: King Kayam’s search for another wife brought him the escapee, Princess Gracia. She doesn’t want to be wed to a man, she doesn’t love so she left her kingdom and ended up in King Kayam’s kingdom. They met and fell in love. – RV

The Reviews: King Kayam is the playboy king of the Vulcan kingdom played convincingly by the younger action star,  Joseph Estrada. King Kayam has several wives (Marissa Delgado, Lucita Soriano, Rossana Marquez) with several kids, the eldest played by teen star, Dondon Nakar. But with all these wives you might think the king will be satisfied sexually, wrong! He wanted more and asked his disciple (Rod Navarro) to find him more wives. Meanwhile on the kingdom of Salamanca, a young princess named Princess Gracia is being groom to be a wife. Her king father (Ruben Rustia) and queen mother (Anita Linda) are looking for suitable husband. When the princess discovered her three suitors, she decided to eloped. Wearing an ordinary disguise clothes and with the help of her sidekick (Lorli Villanueva), they left the kingdom and reached Vulcan.  Bad luck came into them as they were caught by a bad bandits who are selling slaves into the public by auctioning them into the public market like cattle. When the disguised princess turn to be auction, she caught the attention of the king’s disciple and bought her together with her sidekick.

He brought them to the palace and excitedly present the princess to the king but the princess ugly herself with makeup and the king was turned off. The disciple then madly sent them to kitchen to work. But because of her upbringing she can’t handle the hard work and decided to change her escape tactic by cooperating. The disciple then presented her again to the king and with her real beauty caught the king’s attention. The king and the disguised princess developed a romance. The princess explained to the surprise king that she is actually a real princess and the king agreed to return her to her kingdom in exchange, she will teach him what she knows about running a kingdom. The two went into a disguise and the king saw first hand how the ordinary people in his kingdom lives. With the romance blooming, the wives headed by Marissa Delgado, who is having an affair with the disciple, planned a revolt.  The two entrapped the king.  They jailed the king.  Fortunately, Princess Gracia convinced the other wives to fight back and they freed the King.  With the freed King Kayam, he allowed Princess Gracia to return to her kingdom.  KIng Kayam asked her parent if he can marry her and they agreed. The end.

The Dance

The film started promising with funny scenes of Joseph Estrada facing his people seeking his advice or help. One was when a man presented his new product, a flying magic carpet but when the carpet didn’t fly, the king suggested, avoid a heavy/fat rider. Then a much younger veteran actress Mary Walter appeared, brought her magic lamp. She complain that the seller fooled her to buy a defected product. She demonstrated and caressed the lamp. The genie came out but instead of the expected giant gennie, a midget/dwarf genie came out. Then from this moment the film went downhill. A singing bird, a transsexual Ike Lozada (being auctioned), Rod Navarro’s over the top villain antics, all failed to sustained our attention. The weak storyline did not help. Patterned with the Hollywood film, King Kayam & I’s only saving grace was the acting of its lead stars. Joseph Estrada’s presence was commanding and convincing as the playboy king and Vilma’s charming innocence despite the sexy dance number at the end complimented Joseph’s macho image. The two did three films, although they didn’t shared a single scene in Dugo at Pagibig sa Kapirasong Lupa, King Kayam was their only film together as mature actors. Their first outing was Batang Iwahig, when Vi was just a child star and Joseph was in his early years as a bankable action star. Produced by the late, Experidion Laxa of Tagalog Ilang-Ilang Production, the film was just a mild hit, probably the main reason why there was no follow-up project for the two. Two reasons why the film failed was probably the cheap set decorations and the weak story/screenplay of Nestor U Torre, Jr. The song lyrics of Levi Celerio can’t salvaged the mostly canned music of Resti Umali either. This was despite the splendid musical number in the kitchen (when Vilma protested to the cooks that she was a princess and should be treated like one). Die-hard Vilmanians would probably considered Vilma’s dance number at the very end as the highlight of the film.

RELATED READING:
King Khayam and I (1974)
Pelikula Atbp: King Khayam and I (1974)

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Filmography: King Khayam and I (1974)

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Basic Information: Directed: Cesar Gallardo; Story, screenplay: Nestor U. Torre Jr.; Cast: Joseph Estrada, Vilma Santos, Rod Navarro, Marissa Delgado, Lucita Soriano, Rossana Marquez, Lorli Villanueva, Ike Lozada, Anita Linda, Ruben Rustia, Greg Lozano, Jose Villafranca, Rudy Manlapaz, Avel Morado, Romy Nario, Robert Talby, Arturo Moran, Robert Miller, Delia Victorino, Carmen Romasanta, Elizabeth Vaughn, SOS Daredevils, Dondon Nakar, Winnie Santos, Princess, Big 3 Sullivans, Metring David, Bayani Casimiro, Mary Walter, Ronald Rei, Boy Marco; Executive producer: Espiridion Laxa; Original Music: Restie Umali, Levi Celerio

Plot Description: King Kayam’s search for another wife brought him the escapee, Princess Gracia. She doesn’t want to be wed to a man, she doesn’t love so she left her kingdom and ended up in King Kayam’s kingdom. They met and fell in love.

Film Achievement: Vilma and Joseph’s first film together as an adult actors and third overall. Their first film was “Batang Iwahig,” where Vilma was just a child star. The other film was “Dugo at Pag-ibig sa Kapirasong Lupa” where they did not share any screeen time.

Film Review: The film started promising with funny scenes of Joseph Estrada facing his people seeking his advice or help. One was when a man presented his new product, a flying magic carpet but when the carpet didnt fly, Estrada suggested a lighter weight rider. Then veteran actress and much younger, Mary Walter in a cameo role, brought her just bought magic lamp. She complained to the king that the seller fooled her to buy the lamp and wanted a refund. She then caress the lamp and the gennie came out but instead of the expected giant gennie, a midget dwarf came out. Then from this moment the film went downhill. A singing bird, a transexual Ike Lozada being auctioned, Rod Navarro’s over the top villain antics, all failed to sustained our attention. The weak storyline did not help. Patterned with the Hollywood film, King Kayam & I’s only saving grace was the acting of its lead stars. Joseph Estrada’s precense was commanding and convincing as the playboy king and Vilma’s charming innocense despite the sexy dance number at the end complimented Joseph’s macho image. The two did three films, although they didn’t shared a single scene in Dugo at Pagibig sa Kapirasong Lupa, King Kayam was their only film together as mature actors. Their first outing was Batang Iwahig, when Vi was just a childstar and Joseph was in his early years as a bankable action star. Produced by Experidion Laxa of Tagalog Ilang-Ilang Production, the film was just a mild hit, probably the main reason why there was no follow-up project for the two. Two reasons why the film failed was probably the cheap set decorations and the weak story/screenplay of Nestor U Torre, Jr. The song lyrics of Levi Celerio can’t salvaged the mostly canned music of Resti Umali either. This was despite the splendid musical number in the kitchen (when Vilma protested to the cooks that she was a princess and should be treated like one). Die-hard Vilmanians would probably considered Vilma’s dance number at the very end as the hightlight of the film. – RV, (READ MORE)

“…Naging very successful ang unang pagtatambal nina Vilma Santos at Joseph Estrada sa pelikulang King Khayam And I ng TIIP. Kahit bumabagyo ay hugos pa rin ang tao upang mapanood lang ang napabalitang pelikulang ito. Subalit nitong mga huling araw ng pagtatanghal ng nasabing pelikula, medyo naging mahina ang pasok ng tao. may nagsasabing talagang ganito lang ang panahon kapag magpapasko, sa halip na manood ýung iba, ipinamimili muna ng kanilang pamasko ang mga mahal nila sa buhay. At least, ang kaunting salaping gugugulin nila sa entertainment ay ipinagdaragdag nila sa kanilang Christmas savings…” – Levi, Modern Romances and True Confessions Magazine, 16 December 1974

Filmography: Ibong Lukaret (1975)

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Basic Information: Directed: Tito Sanchez; Story: Maria Theresa; Screenplay: Jose Flores Sibal; Cast: Vilma Santos, George Estregan, Alona Alegre, Nick Romano, Marissa Delgado, Rudy Fernandez, Arnold Mendoza, Daria Ramirez, Joe Sison, Franco Guerrero, Lucita Soriano; Original Music: Danny Subido; Cinematography: Ricardo Herrera

Plot Description: Vilma witnessed the traumatic death of her mother that made her crazy until she met the murderer again.

Film Achievement: No Available Data

Film Review: “…Estregan won critical acclaim for many of his performances. In 1972, he was named FAMAS Best Actor for Sukdulan, and would win two other FAMAS Awards for Best Supporting actor for Kid Kaliwete (1978) and Lumakad Kang Hubad sa Mundong Ibabaw (1980). He was nominated for the FAMAS Award three other times, as Best Actor for Lumapit, Lumayo ang Umaga (1975) and Lalake Ako (1982), and for Best Supporting Actor in Magkayakap sa Magdamag (1986). He also received a nomination from the Gawad Urian as Best Actor for Hostage: Hanapin si Batuigas (1977)…” – Wikipedia (READ MORE)

“…1975 was another productive year for Vilma Santos as she did nine films mostly title roles like Vilma Viente Nueve, Darna Vs the Planet Women, and Ibong Lukaret. It was the “prep” stage for the years to come as she was given more mature roles like the local festival entry, “Karugtong ang Kahapon” and Celso Ad Castillo’s “Tag-ulan sa Tag-araw.” Tagulan was the first film of Vilma and Christopher De Leon. While Vilma was testing the water for more serious mature projects, Ishmael Bernal decided to return to his original forte, drama, after years of doing light comedies and television work. He came up with “Mister Mo, Lover boy Ko” and “Lumapit, Lumayo Ang Umaga.” Both films featured sexy star, Elizabeth Oropeza…” – RV (READ MORE)

“…Before he was Vilma’s leading man in Makahiya at Talahib, Rudy Fernandez played a supporting role in Ibong Lukaret. Both films were released in 1975…” – The 28th (READ MORE)

Filmography: Ophelia and Paris (1973)

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Basic Information: Directed, screenplay: Celia Diaz Laurel; Story: Mars Ravelo; Cast: Victor Laurel, Vilma Santos, Marissa Delgado, German Moreno, Rodolfo Boy Garcia, Mary Walter, Subas Herrero, Jose Villafranca, Joonee Gamboa, Andres Centenera, SOS Daredevils, Celia Diaz Laurel, Ronald Remy; Executive producer: Victor Laurel; Original Music: Ryan Cayabyab

Plot Description: No Available Data

Film Achievement: The first movie of Vilma Santos and Cocoy Laurel, the other films are: Disco Fever and Pinay American Style.

Film Review: “…As an actor, he has an enviable filmography. Among his films are “Pinay, American Style” (1979), “Disco Fever” (1978), “Waikiki: Sa Lupa Ng Ating Mga Pangarap” (1980), “Bawal: Asawa Mo, Asawa Ko” (1974), “Ophelia at Paris” with Vilma Santos, “Oh, Margie, Oh” with Margie Moran, “Impossible Dream,” “Till Death Do Us Part” and his last movie, Huwad Na Mananayaw…” – Gypsy Baldovino (READ MORE)

“…Mars Ravelo’s Ophelia at Paris: Prinsipe Paris Walang Kaparis (December 10, 1973) ay handog ng VL Productions na tinampukan nina Vi, Victor Laurel, Marissa Delgado, German Moreno, Rodolfo Boy Garcia, Mary Walter, Subas Herrero, Joonee Gamboa, Celia Diaz Laurel at Ronald Remy sa direksiyon ni Celia Diaz Laurel…” – Alfonso Valencia (READ MORE)

Filmography: Lipad Darna Lipad! (1973)

“Ding, ang bato! dali!” – Narda/Darna

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Basic Information: Directed: Emmanuel H. Borlaza, Elwood Perez, Joey Gosiengfiao; Story: Mars Ravelo; Screenplay: Joey Gosiengfiao; Cast: Vilma Santos, Gloria Romero, Celia Rodriguez, Liza Lorena, Eddie Garcia, Marissa Delgado, Ernie Garcia, Dick Israel, Ruel Vernal, Angie Ferro, Angelito, Nanette Lizares, Rod Dasco, Cloyd Robinson, Mary Walter, Adul de Leon, Bobby Roldan, Edgar Oira, Karlo Vero, Francisco Cruz, Chanda Romero, Gilda Gomez, Ellen Esguerra, Oskar Peralta, Urduja, Louie Acosta; Executive Producer: Victor Gosiengfiao; Original Music: Jonas Sebastian, Demetrio Velasquez; Cinematography: Rodolfo Diño

Plot Description: After a long period of absence, Vilma Santos resurrected the Filipino version of Wonder Woman, Darna, in a fantastic trilogy. Despite the lack of height familiar with previous Darnas, Vilma Santos’ bubbly youthful portrayal as Darna and the alter ego character Narda radiated the screen against Philippine cinema’s senior screen queens, Gloria Romero as the “Babaing Impakta (Vampire Woman),” Celia Rodriguez as “Babaing Ahas (Snake Woman),” and Liza Lorena as “Babaing Lawin (Hawk Woman).” The film was release on March 23, 1973 to a massive crowd in Metro Manila. Tagalog Ilang Ilang Production who produced the film reportedly distributed Darna dolls and Coca-cola drinks to the moviegoers. The film was a trilogy that focuses on the fights scenes between Darna and her nemesis with great effect and with the help of Darna’s equally perky young brother, Ding portrayed by child star, Angelito. The special effect that was considered way ahead of its time were in full displayed in this film. The goriness make-up, particularly Gloria Romero’s was a proof that Filipinos were creative and talented, way ahead of Hollywood or even Bollywood. – RV

Film Achievement: Top Record-Breaking Box-office Film of 1973; The first of four Darna films starring Vilma Santos; One of Vilma Santos and Gloria Romero 13 films – (Anak ang Iyong Ina, Iginuhit ng Tadhana, De Colores, Pinagbuklod ng Langit, Anak ng Aswang, Lipad Darna Lipad, Happy Days are Here Again, Karugtong ang Kahapon, Nakakahiya?, Hindi Nakakahiya, Makahiya at Talahib, Saan Nagtatago Ang Pag-ibig?, Kapag Langit Ang Humatol) – RV (READ MORE)

Film Review: In the Silver Age era of Darna, the movie “Lipad, Darna, Lipad!” (“Fly, Darna, Fly!” 1973), played by the lovely Vilma Santos, made a new version of the story. In this time, Narda was a teenager in her late teens. She discovered the magic stone after the event of a falling star landed near her home one night. She discovered that the magic pebble gave her superpowers that made her Darna. She and her brother were the only ones who knew the secret and their grandmother was not aware of it in this version. Narda herself becomes Darna and were not two different characters. She was also not from Planet Marte but was just a champion warrior of the forces of light. Every time Darna turns back to her mortal self, the magic stone reappears in her mouth and she takes it out and hides it until she needs it again. Every time the need arises, she has to swallow the pebble again and say Darna to transform. – Silver Age Darna, Supersexyheroines website

In 1951, 2 Darna movies were made starring Rosa Del Rosario, followed by another two starring Liza Moreno in the early 60’s, one by Eva Montes and one by Gina Pareno in 1969. But it was not until 1973’s “Lipad, Darna, Lipad” starring Vilma Santos when “Darna mania” would be rekindled and made this version the highest grossing Darna movie of them all. A feat that has not been equalled to this day. In these 1970s films, Darna’s origin was slightly tweaked with a new twist yet remained faithful to Mars Ravelo’s vision. No longer a little girl, Narda was now in her late teens. Also, she herself becomes Darna, unlike the original where she just “channels” her. Only Ding knows her secret in this version unlike the original where both Ding and their Grandmother knew the secret. Also, the stone comes out of Narda’s mouth every time she changes back from being Darna; she has to swallow it every time she wants to transform (This became standard for following versions). Darna is not specified as coming from Marte, just as a “warrior of Light”. This version of Darna became most people’s idea of the character for about 3 decades. A famous catch phrase by Narda popularized by the movies and NOT the comics version is “Ding, Ang Bato!” (“Ding, the Stone!) – Nostalgia Manila blog site

LIPAD, DARNA, LIPAD (1973) – The quintessential action-fantasy Pinoy flick that appeals to all ages, from generation to generation. This movie is a major milestone for Vilma because it proved that she could really carry a solo movie and bring in the dough (up to now of course!). Vilma’s Darna franchise is the most memorable and successful of all Pinoy fantasy-action genres. Imitated but never equalled, Vilma’s Darna lives on. Unforgettable. Memorable. It grows on you. No Pinoy kid ever grows up without being a part of the Darna magic. The enormous success of Lipad, Darna, and Lipad led to three more Darna movies with Vilma Santos. As a result, the star for all seasons became the star for all Darnas—Santos played her four times, more than any other actress in the super heroine’s history.

Lipad, Darna, Lipad! were thus divided into three separate segments, directed by three different directors. In Darna’s case, the three directors were Maning Borlaza, Joey Goesiengfao, and Elwood Perez—three names that promised an adventure that could do Andy Warhol proud.

First episode: “Ang Impakta” Starring Gloria Romero as Miss Luna, Narda’s school teacher who has a dark secret. She is actually a flying blood sucking creature at night. In this thrilling episode she knows the secret identity of Narda. The most memorable part was when Ms. Luna asked Narda to help her with some paper works. Little that she know, while she was busy checking the papers Ms. Luna excused herself, she then went to the next room and transformed into a scary vampire.

Ding found out that Ms. Luna is the vampire and Narda forgot to bring the magical stone , he rushed to her sister who then was being strugled by the monster. As soon as he got there, he threw the stone to her much terrified sister and she immediately changed to Darna. Followed was the famous aerial fight scene. Nanette Medved and Bing Loyzaga tried to copy the infamous fight scene in 1990 Viva films Darna. Episode one was directed by Maning Borlaza.

Second episode: Vilma also had to battle with Celia Rodriguez, who played a campy Valentina, a supermodel by day and a snake priestess by night. One scene has the actress naked in bed being caressed by a dozen snakes. Indeed, with the likes of Gosiengfao, Perez, and Borlaza at the helm, Darna is sure to get stuck in grotesque situations reminiscent of the Rocky Horror Movie. Their take on Darna is sometimes too risqué and violent for little children; but as a camp fest, the movie works.

In this episode Valentina, tried to steal Narda’s magical stone. Also, there was a scene where Valentina dressed up as Darna. I love the exciting part where Darna and Valentina battled on top of a high rise building. Darna, was almost a no match to her mortal enemy. Dangerously armed with lazer beams coming out from Valentina’s eyes, Darna was helpless and knocked down several times. Until, she stumbled upon into a piece of broken mirror and used it as a shield againts Valentina’s deadly lazer beams. Darna quickly made her looked in the mirror. Her lazer beams bounced back and she turned into a stone. From the roof, Valentina fell hard on the ground and broked into shattered pieces. Anjanette Abayarri and Cherrie Gil almost did the same scene in ” Darna, Ang Pagbabalik! ” Second Episode was directed by Elwood Perez.

Vilma Santos with co stars Ernie Garcia and Celia Rodriguez as Dr. Valentina Vrandakapoor, Phd in reptilian zoology from the University of new Delhi. Not to be overlooked is Darna’s arch-rival Valentina. Celia Rodriguez breathed new life to the term antagonist with her classy portrayal of the serpent-haired villainess. Rodriguez set a new standard by which evil women are to be judged.

Third episode: The final& episode was “Babaing Lawin” ( Hawk Woman), starring Liza Lorena as Babaing Lawin. I barely remember this one, there was this scene where Narda and Ding got caught and almost drowned in a quick sand. In Hawk Woman’s cave there’s this stream, that can make her wings disappear by walking across to it. There was also this character named Agila, a bird man played by Rod Dasco, he’s like the Hawk Woman’s mate. There was some fight scenes in the cave between Hawk Woman and and Darna. At the end of the story Darna and Hawk Woman, mend their ways. – Eric Cueto (READ MORE)

“Due to the Internet, one day soon I’m sure information on all of the cinematic obscurities of the world will be available to us, but at the moment it’s still wonderful to uncover a country’s hidden pop culture hitherto unnoticed by the rest of the planet. Take Video48, a mind-shattering trip into the uncharted realms of Filipino cinema, featuring a menagerie of stills, posters and articles from films I never even dared to dream existed! I stumbled across home-grown super-heroes such as Mars Revelo’s Darna a few years back, and Eric Cueto’s fansite provided a wealth of information on her cinematic adventures, (whilst also revealing tantalising glimpses of her on-screen contemporaries), but I certainly hadn’t realised the extent to which comic book characters pervaded the Philippine big-screen. Chances are the country was second only to Turkey when it came to cinematic Super-heroes – Darna herself has starred in 14 films and two TV series, which certainly puts Wonder Woman to shame…Sadly most of these fantasy films are unlikely to have survived – the condition of the Vilma Santos’ early Darna movies is supposedly so wretched that a DVD release has been permanently canned, and ancient VHS copies of Darna & the Giants and Darna & the Planet Women are jealously guarded by the few collectors who salvaged them from rental shops. Just as in Turkey, these films were probably considered to be as disposable as the comic books on which they were based – but I for one would go ga-ga for a double bill of this years The Dark Knight with 1973’s Fight Batman Fight (fair enough, my brain might melt out of my ears afterwards, but what a way to go…” – Poptique (READ MORE)

“…Vilma, now 20, still looking virginal and sweet kicked 70’s phenomenal superstar Nora’s butt at the boxoffice and earned her box-office wings via this monumental hit. The Emancipation of Baby Vi. Mariah Carey could not agree more. There was no turning back since then. The Fantasy Queen was born. Forty-three year old Tita Gloria gamely and bravely accepted the role of Ms. Luna, teacher by day and Manananggal by night. Movie Queen Gloria was deglamorized and became the evil incarnate as a vampire. Amalia Fuentes was the original movie queen who bravely accepted a daring role such as a vampire that won her a FAMAS statuette in Gerry De Leon’s Ibulong Mo Sa Hangin, and changed her goody-two-shoe image forever. Was she the original queen of reinvention that gave Vilma an idea to do the same via the landmark movie Burlesk Queen? Hmmm…for the first time, La Santos was billed above La Romero. Times have changed. The tables were turned. Vilma Santos is the New Box-Office Champ and Tita Glo and Company could only “bow” to the Reel/Real Queen: Ms. Rita Gomez, Helen Gamboa, Boots Anson-Roa, Barbara Perez and others did not have second thoughts to do a movie with the resurgent Vilma. Who wouldn’t want to be famous again and have fun working with the most hardworking and versatile actress? In my book, the aerial Good versus Evil fight of Vilma and Gloria as Darna and Impakta was one of the most thrilling and unforgettable scenes of my movie-going life. How I wish the movie resurfaces from Indonesia or from Timbuktu and my Vilma collection will be complete. That will be heaven! Where, oh, where is that classic movie? The Manananggal episode of Lipad, Darna, Lipad was so good that the two have to followed up their success via Anak Ng Aswang…” – Mario O. Garces (READ MORE)

“…This four-time FAMAS-winning actress is best remembered for her role as the slithering Dr. Valentina Vrandakapoor in the 1973 film Lipad, Darna, Lipad. In the iconic movie, she donned the reptile headdress for the Medusa-inspired character and gave Darna (Vilma Santos) hell. Although she’s been appearing in less villainous roles, Celia Rodriguez is still active in both movie and television these days. She played a supporting character in Darna’s latest TV incarnation, with Marian Rivera as the superheroine…” – Spot.ph (READ MORE)

Most Popular Darna “…Ding, ang bato!” yells Narda, the adolescent country lass, to her younger brother. Ding obligingly hands over a shiny pebble which Narda swallows to turn herself into the vivacious super-vixen, Darna. Mars Ravelo’s superheroine, clad in crimson bikinis and knee-high stiletto boots, may perhaps be the most famous local fantasy character given life on the silver screen. Though not actually considered a career-defining role, portraying Darna is, nonetheless, highly-coveted. Darna has been portrayed by no less than nine actress in 12 feature films. Rosa del Rosario first wore the scarlet two piece in May 1951. She reprised the role after three months. Liza Moreno, Eva Montes and Gina Pareno followed her. The inter-galactic pebble found its way to Vilma Santos’ throat in 1973 via the flick “Lipad, Darna, Lipad!” Santos, now a two-term mayor of Lipa City in Batangas, is probably the most popular Darna, with a total of four movies in a span of seven years. Some of these were made known to younger generations through afternoon airings on television in the late ’80s. Maybe RPN 9 should do that again so that even younger generations can marvel at Darna’s greatness, albeit antiquated, in such movies as “Darna and the Giants” and “Darna vs. the Planet Women…” – Armin Adina, Philippine Daily Inquirer, June 06, 2003 (READ MORE)

“…And so, yielding to the theory that “misery loves company,” the two failures teamed up. They picked up from where they had left off. Backed up by some enterprising businessmen who firmly believed the duo would make good next time (they were joined by Joey’s brother, Victor, and movie scribe Douglas Quijano and others), they formed Sine Pilipino and turned out the three-episode “Lipad, Darna, Lipad.” Joey and Elwood directed two of the episodes. In an interview, the two directors intimated that, depending on public reaction, it could have been their last stint in the movies. Miracles of miracles, Lipad, Darna,,,broke existing box office records at that time! But alas, despite the movie success, Sine Pilipino closed shop due to “mismanagement.” Undaunted, Elwood and Joey formed another company, this time the Juan de la Cruz Productions. Just the same, the budding outfit folded up because it had a rough time with the Board of Censors. By then, the drive against bomba movies and smut publications were massive and sustained, and the guidelines were different to those of today…” – Manny B. Fernandez, Expressweek, July 12, 1979 (READ MORE)

Darna is Not a ‘Rip-off” of Wonder Woman – “…Because of the character’s immense popularity, several other studios would license the character and produce more Darna movies throughout the next several decades. After Rosa Del Rosario, Vilma Santos (who first played Darna in 1973’s “Lipad, Darna, Lipad”) would be the most well known and the most in demand to play the character. She starred in a total of 4 Darna movies. Her 4th and final one being in 1980. For years after that, no more Darna movies were produced…” – Raffy Arcega, Comic Book Movie (READ MORE)

Gina Pareño – “…Mara­ming naging Darna sa kani-kanilang panahon pero ang unang inabot naming lumabas na Darna ay si Gina Pareño. Aba, kung nakita ninyo si Gina noong panahong iyon, ang ganda talaga niya at hanep ang katawan. ’Tapos ang maraming Darna movies na napanood namin, ang star ay si Vilma Santos, na nagsimula sa Lipad, Darna, Lipad. Iniba ang title dahil ang sinundang pelikula na Takbo, Vilma, Dali ay naging isang napakalaking hit din noong panahong iyon. Aba, isipin ninyo, noong panahong iyon ay nakakagawa ng isang pelikulang black and white sa halagang P120,000 lamang. Eh kinse pesos lang ang sine noon. Ang Darna ni Vilma kumita ng tatlung daang libong piso sa Metro Manila pa lamang at kakaunti pa ang sinehan noon ha. At kung titingnan naman ninyo si Vilma nung nag-uumpisa — maganda, sexy, at maputi. Kung negra ka, ano ang hitsura mo kung magsusuot ka ng costume ni Darna? Baka mapagkamalan ka pang lumilipad na tuko? Pagkatapos ni Vilma, marami ring naging ibang Darna, pero honestly ni hindi na namin napanood ang mga pelikula. Hindi dahil nagsawa kami sa Darna movies ha. In fact, hanggang ngayon mahilig pa rin kami sa super heroes. Nanonood nga kami ng anime eh. Pero hindi namin nagustuhan ang iba…” – Ed de Leon, Pang-Masa, 08 Oct 2013 (READ MORE)

Valentina – “…Iba talaga si Direk Maryo J. dahil he brings out the best in his actors,” says Katrina, whose daughter Katrence turned one year old last Wednesday. “Dito sa ‘Magkano Ba ang Pag-ibig’, tatlo kaming aktres na nag-Valentina ang nagkasama-sama. Una si Tita Celia Rodriguez na nag-Valentina kay Gov. Vilma Santos sa ‘Lipad Darna Lipad’ in 1973. Then si Alessandra de Rossi na nag-Valentina on TV to Angel Locsin’s Darna noong 2005, at ako na nag-Valentina kay Marian Rivera sa 2009 version ng ‘Darna…” – Mario Bautista, Journal, 23 September 2013 (READ MORE)

Intergalactic Warrior – “…There were comic-inspired franchises that never travelled beyond their own borders, such as the Darna series from the Philippines in the 1970s – she was an intergalactic warrior disguised as an earthling – and which helped actress Vilma Santos turn the fame she achieved into a political career that still sees her serving as governor of Batangas province…” – Matt Scott, South China Morning Post, 20 April, 2014 (READ MORE)

Sa paggawa ng pelikula, kung maringgan man ng pagdaing si Vilma Santos ay bihirang-bihira. Nangyayari lang ito kung ipagpalagay nating siya’y may dinaramdam, hapong-hapo at talagang hindi na makakaya ng katawang humarap sa kamera kahit ibigin niya. Gayon man, kung nagkataong napakahalaga ng eksena at kinakailangang gawin niya, khait anong sama ng pakiramdam niya’y humaharap siay sa kamera. At sa pagtungo niya sa set o location, lagi siyang nasa oras. Kung maatraso ma’y saglit lang. Ganyan ka-professinal si Vilma Santos. Ngunit sa Lipad, Darna, Lipad ay dumaraing siya. Hindi sa hindi niya enjoy gawin ito. Ang totoo’y sa pelikulang ito lang siya na-involved. Ibig na niyang matapos na ito’t makita ang pinagpaguran niya. Talaga palang mahirap gumawa ng costumes picture. Lalo pa’t kung tulad nito! Una ang naging suliranin namin ay ang Darna costumes ko. Kasi kinakailangan maging maliksi ang kilos ko bilang Darna, kaya kailangang alisin na ang padding. Kaso nga lilitaw naman ang malaking bahagi ng aking katawan. Mabuti na lang at sumang-ayon ang aking fans. “Pangalawa, nag-aalala ako sa mga eksenang bakbakan namin nina Gloria Romero, Celia Rodriguez at Liza Lorena. Kasi baka masaktan ko sila nang di sinasadya. Ang pangatlo ay ang likas ng pagkatakot ko…sa mga ahas. Kasi may bahagi roong tungkol sa Babaing Ahas, si Valentina. Dito, laging kailangan ang ahas sa mga eksena. Mga sari-saring ahas. Maliliit at malalaki. At makamandag! Ang pinakamahirap sa lahat ay ang pag-su-shooting. Kailangan naming tapusin ito anuman ang mangyari. Kaya nasasagap ko ang lamig ng gabi at init ng araw. At ang suot ko nga’y labas ang malaking bahagi ng katawan! At alam n’yo namang kailang lang ay naospital ako dahil sa respiratory defects!” Ito ang daing ni Vilma Santos sa pinakamahirap niyang pelikula, ang Lipad, Darna, Lipad. Ngunit mahihinuha naman ninyo na ang pagdaing niya’y parang paglalambing lang. Dinaraan pa nga niyang lahat sa biro. Pagka’t ang tutoo, mahal na mahal niya ang pelikulang ito. Dahil ito nga ang pinakamahirap. At sa isang artista, kung alin ang pinakamahirap ay siya namang pinakamasarap! – Cleo Cruz, Love Story Magazine, 1973

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Filmography: Wonder Vi (1973)

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Basic Information: Directed: Arsenio Bautista; Screenplay: Romeo N. Galang; Cast: Vilma Santos, George Estregan, Marissa Delgado, Nick Romano, Romy Diaz, Angelo Ventura, Bebong Osorio, Ely Roque, Paquito Salcedo, Jesse Lee, Mel Morado, Zeny Miranda; Original Music: Ernani Cueco; Cinematography: Fredy Conde

Plot Description:  Action hero ala-Tarzan, Wonder Vi fights goons in Wonde4r Vi!

Film Achievement: Box Office Hit of 1973!

Film Review: “…There was a time in the 70s, particularly in 1973 and 1974, when a spate of Pinoy fantasy films featuring Pinoy superheroes graced our big screens. I think it was Vilma Santos’ Lipad Darna Lipad that started it all. It ushered in this wave of so-called trend in fantasy movies. Besides Darna, Vilma came up with Wonder Vi (1973), Phantom Lady (1974) and Vivian Volta (1974); Nora Aunor had Super Gee (1973) based on a popular komik serial; Superman and Batman had their local counterparts in Zoom, Zoom Superman (1973) with Ariel Ureta and Fight Batman Fight with Victor Wood. Vilma came out with another sequel of Darna titled Darna and the Giants, also in 1973; Dolphy had his own version of Captain Barbell in Captain Barbell Boom (1973). It was the movie, Supergirl (1973) which starred Pinky, that made a major impact among the moviegoers that time. It was a surprise hit that year. It was reshown several times due to insistent public demand…” – Simon Santos (READ MORE)

Filmography: Hindi Nakakahiya (1976)

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Basic Information: Directed: Luis Enriquez; Story: Ric Torres; Screenplay: Ric Torres Luis Enriquez; Cast: Eddie Rodriguez, Vilma Santos, Gloria Romero, Marissa Delgado, Ernie Garcia, Renato Robles Nello Nayo, Patricia Mijares; Original Music: Rudy Arevalo; Cinematography: Hermo U. Santos

Plot Description: A sequel to the box office hit about a May-December romance. Young Vilma Santos is reunited with old flame Eddie Rodriguez. Though already engaged to another man, Vilma finds herself falling in love again with the elderly gentleman. She is confused and mixed-up. Eddie’s presence makes it even harder for her to judge objectively her own feelings, but all’s well that ends well. Co-starring Gloria Romero, Marissa Delgado, Ernie Garcia, Renato Robles, Nello Nayo, and Patricial Mijares. Produced and directed by Luis Enriquez. – Trigon Video

Film Achievement: One of Vilma Santos and Gloria Romero 13 films – (Anak ang Iyong Ina, Iginuhit ng Tadhana, De Colores, Pinagbuklod ng Langit, Anak ng Aswang, Lipad Darna Lipad, Happy Days are Here Again, Karugtong ang Kahapon, Nakakahiya?, Hindi Nakakahiya, Makahiya at Talahib, Saan Nagtatago Ang Pag-ibig?, Kapag Langit Ang Humatol) – RV (READ MORE)

One of film projects Rodriguez and Santos collaborated. (Ex-Wife 1981 (director), Halik sa Kamay Halik sa Paa 1979, Hindi Nakakahiya 1976 (director), Ikaw Lamang 1971, Kasalanan Kaya? 1968, Nakakahiya? 1975 (director), Simula ng Walang Katapusan (director) 1978) – RV (READ MORE)

Film Review: Luis Enriquez aka Eddie Rodriguez first directed a young Vilma Santos in 1968 Kasalanan Kaya, another love triangle genre starring the dramatic trio of Marlene Dauden, Eddie Rodriguez and Lolita Rodriguez. Vilma received an early acting recognitions from this film by receiving a FAMAS Nomination for Best Supporting Actress. When Enriquez directed Vilma again, it was a calculated risk that allowed a still young Vilma into a bikini-clad lead role opposite his director himself, Eddie Rodriguez. The film, Nakakahiya, a may-december affair between an older man and a young woman was an entry to 1975 Bacolod City Film Festival. Aside from making the the film a smash hit, Vilma received the festival’s Best Actress. Enriquez will direct Vilma in five more films, the last one was ExWife in 1981 where surprisingly Luis used in film credits his screen name, Eddie Rodriguez. Theri total number of colloborations were seven (Ex-Wife 1981, Halik sa Kamay Halik sa Paa 1979, Hindi Nakakahiya 1976, Ikaw Lamang 1971, Kasalanan Kaya? 1968, Nakakahiya? 1975, Simula ng Walang Katapusan) – RV (READ MORE)