Film Review: Biktima (1974)

FILMS - BIKTIMA

Release Date: June 23, 1974 (Philippines)

The Plot: – In a strange turn of events, Dolores (Vilma Santos) moves in to live with her grandfather, who has sole custody of her ever since her mother was imprisoned for the murder of Dolores’ father. Mystery unfolds as Dolores stays with her grandfather when members of the household are murdered one by one. Will Dolores escape the chaos unraveling around her or will she be the next victim? – Kabayan Central (READ MORE)

The Reviews: – Hired by Don Rafael Valdez (Joe Sison), Attorney Andrade (Leopoldo Salcedo) finally convinced Dolores (Vilma Santos) to live with her rich grandfather, Don Rafael. This is despite the warning of her aunt, Tiya Dadeng (Patria Plata) and the warning of her mother, Lourdes (Perla Bautista) who is in prison. She was framed-up and wrongfully convicted of her father’s death. When Dolores came to her grandfather’s mansion, one by one, people are starting to die. This includes her grandfather’s young wife (Elizabeth Vaughn); Monica Valdez (Celia Rodriguez); Magda (Divina Valencia); the gardener (Yoyoy Villame); and Marita (Helen Gamboa). By the time the last victim died, the surprise killer was expose, the killer was Dolores. She tried to revenge her mother’s imprisonment and her father’s death. It was also revealed that her aunt’s husband (Bert Le Roy Jr.) was the one who killed her father. Her father tried to rape their grandfather’s nurse, Marita (Helen Gamboa), she fought hard and stabbed her father. Bert Leroy Jr. framed-up Dolores’ mother who was the first person on the scene of the crime. In exchange for his silence he blackmailed Marita with sexual favors. Marita didn’t know that Dolores’ father was still alive but Leroy finished the job by stabbing him more.

Written by Jose Flores Sibal with writing credit from the film’s lead star, Vilma Santos, Biktima was surprisingly watchable. Compared to other Vilma Santos films that Nilo Saez directed like Kampanerang Kuba, he did a convincing job in ironing out the many characters of the film (maybe except for Divina Valencia’s role who was one of the first to die). This is perhaps due to the excellent cast. The one who stands out more were Celia Rodriguez and Helen Gamboa. Both gave subdued performances. Edgar Mortiz’ role as assistant investigator was just to appeal to the loyal festival followers of Vi and Bot. By this time, it was clear that Vilma’s career are heading upward while Mortiz was heading to a different path. The ending of the film, showing a bald Vilma Santos in preparation for her demise was the film’s dramatic highlight.

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FILM REVIEW: DARNA AND THE GIANTS


The Plot: The second film after the massive success of Lipad Darna Lipa (Fly Darna Fly), Vilma Santos returned as Darna/Narda in Darna and the Giants. Directed by Emmanuel H. Borlaza, Giants was about X3X (Helen Gamboa) who infected ordinary people with serum that made them giants. The giants played havoc to the city and thank goodness Darna eliminated them before demonic X3X conquered the whole world. Now paired with Don Don Nakar as Ding, Vilma radiated the screen for the second time. Kudos to the tricky special effects that made the giants realistic. Ike Lozada stole the film though. His scenes were the funniest in years. Darna used a huge church bell to defeat him. It was unclear why the fat giant, Ike, were allergic to the sound of the church bell. Darna rung the bell to great effects, making the giant Ike felt excruciating pain in his ears. Darna then threw the bell on Ike’s head suffocating him to his immediate death. That alone made everyone’s theatre tickets worth every penny! And lots of pennies as the film became the top grosser of the 1974 Christmas festival. – RV (READ MORE)

Vilma Santos Stars in “Darna and the Giants” – Darna fights Alien Invaders and battles “X3X”, an intergalactic Warrior-Queen whose science performs genetic engineering on earthlings and turns them into Giants to bring the Planet Earth to it’s knees. Until Darna eventually kicks the crap out of her and the Giants. – International Hero (READ MORE)

The Reviews: “…Unang ginampaman ni Vilma Santos ang papel ni Darna sa Lipad, Darna Lipad! (Sine Pilipino, 1973). Isang pelikulang may tatlong kasaysayan kung saan nakaharap nito ang palagiang kalabang sina Valentina, Ang Babaeng Lawin at ang Impakta. Sa pagkakataong ito ay mga higante naman ang kinaharap ni Darna. Masasabing, sa pagganap ng aktres bilang Darna tuluyang bumulusok ang kanyang kasikatan. Tunay na akmang-akma dito ang pisikal na kaanyuan ni Darna. Nabigyan din ito ng panibagong bihis nang umpisahan ng aktres ang paglabas sa papel ni Darna. Sa mga naunang pelikula, kadalasa’y dalagita si Narda, at nag-iibang anyo lamang ito kung nilunok na ang batong nagbibigay kapangyarihan bilang Darna. Dahilan sa si Vilma Santos ang naatasang gumanap bilang Darna ay kinailangang ito rin ang lumabas bilang Narda. Sinimulan ng nobelistang si Mars Ravelo ang pagsusulat ng Darna taong 1947 sa magasing Bulaklak. Unang isinapelikula ito ng Royal Films noong 1951 na nagtampok kay Rosa del Rosario samantalang ginampanan naman ni Cristina Aragon ang papel ni Valentina at si Mila Nimfa naman ang gumanap na Narda. Masasabing tanging si Vilma Santos lamang ang nag-iisang aktres na gumanap bilang Darna sa apat na pagkakataon. Isang uri ng pagganap na tunay na nagluklok kay Darna bilang malaking bahagi ng kulturang Pilipino. Sa bawat pagkakataong ito ay tunay na inangkin ni Vilma Santos ang katauhan ni Darna na patuloy na nagbigay aliw sa mga manonood ng sineng Pinoy…” – Jojo De Vera, Sari-Saring Sineng Pinoy (READ MORE)

“Sine Pilipino got then hot young star Vilma Santos to essay the role of Darna. But the problem was, Vilma was hesitant to wear the two-piece costume. So, during their photo shoot for the publicity photos of the new Darna movie, she wore the Darna costume on top of her body stocking. Vilma was finally convinced by producers Douglas Quijano and William Leary to lose the body stocking and wear just the costume on the day of the press conference. The press people were surprised on seeing how sexy Vilma was in her Darna costume, which was back to the original red bikini and gold stars. Lipad, Darna, Lipad! (1973) is the first and only trilogy of the superheroine. It was a box-office hit on its first day of showing and considered a turning point in Vilma’s career. It was also the first Darna movie where Darna and Narda was played by the same actress. Unfortunately, there is no existing copy left of this classic film. Vilma starred in three more Darna films: Darna and the Giants (1974) and Darna vs. the Planetwomen (1975), which were both under Tagalog Ilang-Ilang Productions, and Darna and Ding (1980) under Niño Muhlach’s D’Wonder Films. Darna and the Giants was the continuation of Vilma’s first Darna movie and Darna again wore the gold bikini costume, while Darna vs. the Planetwomen was a rebooted version of the Darna origin, with Vilma’s Narda this time portrayed as a crippled teenager who was given a magical stone by a mysterious source. The costume is back to red this time with the stars on Darna’s bra also colored red and the headpiece, all gold. Darna and Ding was the last time Vilma played Darna. Her costume this time was sexier and more revealing. In this movie, she was joined by Ding who now has his own superpowers.” – Rico J Rod (READ MORE)

“…For the second time around Vilma, proves that her first Darna was no fluke. Darna And The Giants vanquished all of her box office competitors. Very creative special effects by Tommy Marcelino consider it was made early in the 70’s. Sex kitten Divina Valencia as one of the giants as well as Ike Lozada, Max Alvarado, Zandro Zamora and many more. Vilma was the third actress to play the dual role of a teen-age Narda, Darna. Gina Pareno had two alter ego’s in her own version as well as Liza Moreno played Narda and Darna in Sputnik VS. Darna. Vilma also changed Darna’s transformation in all of her Darna films by using a flash of light instead of the thick smoke. She dons a retro version of Darna with shiny gold and red costume and matching platform boots. In this film Vilma was no hold bars. Romy V. Susara and Leody M. Diaz choreograped Darna’s awesome fight scenes. Continuing where “Lipad, Darna, Lipad” left off, Narda (Vilma Santos) and Ding (Dondon Nakar) encountered their greatest challenge yet – The Alien Warrior Queen-“X3X” (Helen Gamboa) and her alien minions. In this latest adventure, X3X terrorizes Narda’s village and captures several of the townsfolk and transforming them into mindless Giants who went on a rampage across the countryside in the hopes of conquering the earth without the use of nuclear weapons. When Narda’s suitor Romy (Romeo Miranda) is captured, the threat of the alien Queen becomes personal. With a Global threat such as this, will Darna’s courage and powers be up to the challenge? Watch and find out!! “Darna and the Giants” Also stars- Katy Dela Cruz as “Lola”, and an all-star cast of 70’s icons with cameos from Leopoldo Salcedo, Edgar Mortiz, Eddie Peregrina, Nick Romano, Lotis Key, Tony Ferrer (as Falcon) & more. “Darna and the Giants” produced by Tagalog-Ilang Ilang production and directed by Emmanuel H. Borlaza with Darna Theme composed by Sunny Ilacad (Vicor)…” – Eric Cueto (READ MORE)

“…Dramatically speaking, Darna and the Giants is more consistent (and coherent) than the later Darna at Ding (the only other of the series I’ve seen to date). The early narrative focuses on the home life of Narda, the romantic advances of a local young man and the bothersome antics of Ding. There’s quite a lot of singing here (Narda’s wooer is a musician), including an amusing moment where the cast spontaneously erupts into a Tagalog reworking of Singin’ in the Rain while doing household chores. There are the expected comic interludes, like a guitar-toting suitor realizing he’s been serenading a homosexual man as opposed to an attractive rural woman, but fewer than one might imagine, and once the aliens have landed things take a more serious turn. Darna and the Giants actually shows us the aftermath of a giant attack before introducing the giants themselves, with Darna and Ding visiting an impromtu outdoors hospital for the many victims. It’s not a happy sight, as a husband watches his wife die in agony and a young woman searches futily for her lost mother. When the giants are revealed they turn out to be intolerable bullies who fight amongst themselves before being sent out to frighten the local population into submission. And frighten they do! The giants prove to be a nasty bunch, crushing people beneath their feet and using uprooted power poles to swat at them like bugs. Houses are picked up and shaken about with their occupants still inside, only to be tossed casually aside when the giant’s attention is otherwise diverted. The death on display is quite graphic for all-ages entertainment, and ensures that our sympathies are squarely with Darna when she flies in to give the over-sized miscreants their just deserves…I can’t help but wonder if there isn’t a simple political message to Darna and the Giants.

The film was released just two years after president Ferdinand Marcos instituted martial law in the Philippines. The resulting censorship of opposition opinions in the media (scripts for films had to be screened by the government before production was allowed to begin) would have prevented direct opposition to Marcos’ methods to be espoused, but the simple story of a 006giant army trampling on the rights of the general populace could easily have slipped by as pure fantasy. Even if not directly relatable to that contemporary situation, the conflict undoubtedly played well with a country occupied in the past by everyone from the Spanish to the English to the imperial Japanese. This was the big Christmas season release for Tagalog Ilang-Ilang Productions, and it’s obvious that a good deal of money was put into it. The plentiful special effects moments were devised by effects man Jessie Sto. Domingo and special photographer Tommy Marcelino. The giants are brought to life through simple photographic effects and, more frequently, the use of massive forced-perspective setups requiring hundreds of extras to run about in the background while the giants stand among scaled miniatures in the foreground. It all looks pretty quaint by the industry standards of today, but the shear enthusiasm of those involved is deserving of admiration all the same. I imagine this was quite a succesful domestic release in its time, the star power of the beautiful Vilma Santos being more the enough to guarantee healthy ticket sales. The rest of the cast is full of recognizable industry regulars. Divina Valencia [Pussy Cat, Queen of the Wild Bunch] receives second billing in spite of her few lines, but has definite screen presence as a giant in a Viking helmet. Max Alvarado, who seems to be in just about every Filipino film production since 1950, has a prominent role as a giant as well – a role he would reprise in the fantastic opener for Darna at Ding…” – Kevin Pyrtle, WTF-FILM (READ MORE)

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FILM REVIEW: Kampanerang Kuba’s religious rituals and miracles

Kampanerang Kuba started with Andang (Vilma Santos), a hunch back bell-ringer running away from the people in the market. She was accuse of stealing. When she got back from the church (where she lives and work), she was confronted and physically assaulted by Tateng (Celia Rodriguez) for no justifiable reason. Thankfully, Father Damian, the old sick priest intervened. He has long been her protector. Andang felt sad when she found out that Father Damian is leaving. On his absence, a young priest, Father Agaton (Edgar Mortiz) will take over. Aside from ringing the bell, Andang clean and feed the piglets (owned by Ellen and Tateng, they are the church’s caretakers). She normally eats with her bare hands while talking to her patron saint, Saint Martin. She talks and treats the idol along side the church’s bell towers like they are humans. Meanwhile, Tateng, the daughter of the head caretaker, Ellen (Patria Plata), is a sex maniac who loves to abuse Andang. She also seduce men in exchange of material things like jewelry.

One time Andang caught Tateng having sex with Crispin (Dindo Fernando) inside the church, when Tateng found out that she was around, she physically abuse her. Then the following day, while feeding the piglets, Tateng verbally abuse her. Andang retaliate and the two had mud-wrestling inside pig pen. Tateng’s mother Ellen was about to join the fight when Father Agaton arrived and intervened. The next day, a group of women arrived and accused Tateng of accepting gifts from their husband that they own. When Tateng overheard the loud complaints, she quickly went to Andang and pretended she wanted to make amends and gave her a necklace. When the group of women finally faced Tateng, she lied and told them to look for the jewelry at Andang.

The women then went to Andang and accused her of stealing. Afraid of her safety, Andang went to the church’s roof telling them that if they will not stop, she will jump. Tateng convinced Andang not to jump and that she is her friend. The trusting Andang came back and was welcome by the women with physical assaults. They tied her down with a long rope and dragged her on the ground until Crispin, who riding the horse (where Andang was tied down) reached the town’s mountain hill where he threw Andang’s lifeless body. When Andang miraculously regained consciousness, she was seen talking to her patron saint, Saint Martin. He blessed her and was able to bring her back to the church. There, she was blessed by the Virgin Mary. A holy miracle happened, flower petals falls down from the sky and holy lights beams Andang. She slowly changed from the ugly hunch back girl into a beautiful woman. As turned out she became Sandra Belmonte. A woman long gone and who were once the topic of town gossips. Sandra’s two sister found her into the church the next day. Surprised and very thankful, they brought her back to their big home. Andang now assumed the identity of Sandra. Sandra as it turned out has suitor, Roel (Ernie Garcia) who she didn’t like. She also discovered that she missed her life as Andang and now sure that she is in love with Father Agaton.

Can’t control her feelings anymore, she went to the church for the Catholic ritual of confession. And with Father Agaton, she confess her love for him. Tateng overheard this, and coerced the priest to have sex with her in exchange for her silence but failed. In retaliation, she spread this information to the town’s people. Headed by Tateng’s admirer, Max Alvarado, the priest was confronted by the angry people. The priest denied the affair. The town’s people decided to tied the priest into a post and burn him. This is because the priest doesn’t want leave the church. When Sandra who was with Roel, discovered what was happening, she luckily escape madness and went inside the church to pray to Saint Martin. Her pray were answered by the sudden ringing of the church’s bells followed by a loud thunder. It started to rain killing the fire and saving the poor priest. It was a miracle. Tateng’s sinful mind cleared and she ask Father Agaton’s forgiveness, who gladly obliged. Father Agaton then search for Sandra when her suitor Roel appeared. They both went to the church tower and saw Andang instead. The end.

Kampanerang Kuba’s convoluted long story maybe attributed to the original comics material written by Pablo Gomez. A good director should iron out all the unbelievable plots specially all the one-dimensional characters. For example, Celia Rodriguez character, Tateng. She is so masochistic that viewer might wonder why she is so mean. Also, with her tower-nesque beauty, why she decided to remained in a town where everything seems to be so trivial and everyone seems loves to gossip, even the men. Nilo Saez (with Jose Flores Sibal wrote the script) failed miserably in this regard. Shot in Nagcarlan Laguna, Kampanerang Kuba showcased the old Filipino beliefs in patron saints, religious rituals and miracles. It also demonstrates that people can be so cruel, can passed judgement, and can asked for forgiveness that quick when confronted with truth. All will be forgiving without taking into account all the harm that they have done. In the real world, these people will be punished. Celia Rodriguez seems to be wooden in so many scenes but equally infuriating when she started to do her verbal and physical abuse of Andang. With limited dialogue, a young Dindo Fernando portrayed Tateng’s lover convincingly. All the other supporting roles including Perla Bautista, Ernie Garcia and others gave forgettable performances. About the two main lead, Edgar Mortiz and Vilma Santos, both did what they can to portrayed their respective roles. Edgar Mortiz seems to be trying very hard to be effective as the priest but acting is clearly not his forte. Would this be different if Jay Ilagan did this role? Vilma Santos succeed more with her solo scenes, talking to the patron saints and the bell tower, eating with her bare hands and trying to beautify her ugly face. She appeared to be gearing up for more versatile roles that requires her not to sing but to act. – RV

RELATED READING:
Kampanerang Kuba (1974)
Pinoy Classics Review: Kampanerang Kuba (1973)

Filmography: Phantom Lady (1974)

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Basic Information: Director: Leonardo L. Garcia; Writers: Cora M. Crisol (story), Nilo Saez (screenplay); Cast: Vilma Santos, Nick Romano, Paquito Diaz, Rodolfo ‘Boy’ Garcia, Cristina Reyes, Max Alvarado, Angero Goshi, Angel Confiado, Bino Garcia, Greg Lozano, Francisco Cruz, Angelito, Steve Alcarado, Pons De Guzman, Edward Torres, Jack Montes, SOS Daredevils, Pmp Commandos; Music: Tito Arevalo; Cinematography: Ricardo Herrera; Production Co: Silver Film Productions; Released Date: 28 February 1974 (Philippines) (IMDB)

Plot Description: Blind Vilma fights bad guys as Phantom Lady!

Film Achievement: Box Office Hit of 1974

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: Biktima (1974)

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Basic Information: Directed: Nilo Saez; Story: Laura Santos; Screenplay: Jose F Sabal; Cast: Helen Gamboa, Celia Rodriguez, Perla Bautista, Cristina Reyes, Divina Valencia, Leopoldo Salcedo, Bert Leroy Jr., Joe Sison, Tony Santos Jr., Yoyoy Villame, Tommy Abuel, Vilma Santos, Edgar Mortiz, Ike Lozada, German Moreno, Max Alvarado, Renato Robles, Patria Plata, Elizabeth vaughn, Maribel, Danny Rojo, Joaquin Fajardo, Steve Alcarado, Lope Policarpio, Romy Luartes, Lex Amores, Boy Clinton; Executive producer: Espiridion Laxa; Cinematography: Ricardo Dano

Plot Description: In a strange turn of events, Dolores (Vilma Santos) moves in to live with her grandfather, who has sole custody of her ever since her mother was imprisoned for the m rder of Dolores’ father. Mystery unfolds as Dolores stays with her grandfather when members of the household are murdered one by one. Will Dolores escape the chaos unraveling around her or will she be the next victim? – Kabayan Central (READ MORE)

A gripping whodunit with young superstar Vilma Santos at the center of a terrifying murder whirlpool! In the style of Agatha Christie, the story is about Dolores (Vilma Santos), a poor girl who has suddenly found herself a member of a strange but wealthy household, thanks to her newly-discovered sick and aging grandfather. The family members, however, get murdered one by one, making every surviving member a suspect. An all-star cast supports Vilma in this murder mystery, including Helen Gamboa, Celia Rodriguez, Perla Bautista, Edgar Mortiz, Leopoldo Salcedo, Max Alvarado, and Bert Leroy Jr. A Tagalog Ilang-Ilagn Productions presentation. – Trigon Video

Film Achievement: Entry to 1974 Manila Film Festival

Film Review: This was the ending scene (see video below) in the movie “Biktima”, Ate Vi’s entry in the 1974 Manila Film Festival. In the movie, she killed Cristina Reyes, Helen Gamboa, Divina Valencia, Celia Rodriguez, Yoyoy Villame to avenge her mother’s imprisonment who was wrongfully accused of murder. Perla Bautista played Ate Vi’s mother. I think Bobot played as a reporter. Ate Vi was caught and was sentenced to die in the electric chair. That’s why she was bald in the last scene. – moviefan808 (You Tuber)

Filmography: Tok, Tok, Palatok (1974)

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Basic Information: Directed: F. H. Constantino; Screenplay: Bert R. Mendoza; Cast: Vilma Santos, Panchito, Bentot, Pugak, Dencio Padilla, Tange, Max Alvarado, Jojit Paredes, Ike Lozada, Ponga, Rodolfo boy Garcia, Alicia Alonzo, Mary Walter, Ange; Original Music: D’ Amarillo; Cinematography: Fermin Pagsisihan

Plot Description: Vilma Santos played a twin sister…of a snake.

Film Achievement: No Available Data

Film Review: “…That was not the first time I met her. Actually, I know her way way back when she was only 8 or 9 years old, pumupunta sila sa amin. Kasi regular customer ng Mother ko ang Mama niya sa ready made clothes, yun kasi ang business ng Mother ko noon sa Rustans. I was about 10 or 11 years old then, and while her mom is making the selection of cloth, iniiwan naman niya si Vilma sa living room namin. Minamasdan ko siya, ang ganda-ganda ng mukha niya…Maasikaso sa set, malambing, mabait lalo na sa maliliit na crew. Doon kami nagkaroon ng bonding when we were doing that film. Mabuting tao talaga si Vilma, she has a good heart and always willing to help others. We became very close, di ko makakalimutan na minsan ay nag-drive ako ng 3 hours just to see her…Let’s split it up into two. Personality and how she relates to others. Personality wise, mabuting tao siya, she is so trusting to the extend that it becomes disadvantage on her part , she trusted people so much. About relation to others, she is so approciable, a perfect politician, she’s always ready to help, not skimming, she has social conscience and will do things to achieve her goal…” – Franco Gabriel (READ MORE)

“…And so, to prove them wrong, Vilma’s manager smartly plotted follow-up recordings. Not only did Vilma record her follow-up album, she recorded a string of mini-LPs. Mini-LPs are shorter version of the big vinyl record with two songs on each side. She ventured into Tagalog songs, recording six songs that include instants hits like Isipin Mong Basta’t Mahal Kita, a theme song to a film she did opposite Filipino chess grand master, Eugene Torre; Palong-Palo, where she received a golden record award in 1974 and an up-tempo opm, Tok-Tok Palatok, another theme song from one of her comedy film with the same title opposite Jojit Paredes…” – RV (READ MORE)

“…Very few probably are aware that Ronnie was once a matinee idol in the music profession. He was the other half of the famous singing duo called The Two of Us. His partner was Jojit Paredes, the cousin of Jim Paredes, who was also a kilabot ng mga colegiala as part of the Apolinario Mabini Hiking Society, now better known as the APO. Ronnie and Jojit were schoolmates in La Salle grade school, while Jim and his then large group were from rival Ateneo…After The Two of Us, Jojit eventually disappeared from the scene (he is now in L.A. married to an American and works as an assistant administrator in a hospital), while Ronnie’s popularity lingered, especially when he and Vilma Santos began dating. Ronnie also joined Penthouse 7 as executive producer/dancer and also part of the group was Ida Ramos, who many years later would become his wife. (Ida Henares now heads GMA Artist Center.) In between, he also hosted his own variety shows on TV, primarily in the Broadcast City stations…” – Butch Francisco (READ MORE)

RELATED READING: Interview with Jojit Paredes

Filmography: Batya’t Palu-Palo (1974)

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Basic Information: Directed: Pablo Santiago; Screenplay: Fred Navarro; Cast: Fernando Poe Jr., Vilma Santos, Fred Montilla, Mila del Sol, Dencio Padilla, Robert Talabis, Vic Varrion, Janine Frias, Lorna Tolentino, Phillip Salvador, Liza Anzures, Angge, Paquito Diaz, Max Alvarado, Lito Anzures; Executive producer: Fernando Poe Jr.; Original Music: Ernani Cuenco; Cinematography: Sergio Lobo; Film Editing: Augusto Salvador; Production Design: Pete Herrera; Sound: Angel Avellana, Jun Ella; Release Date:4 May 1974 (Philippines); Production Co: FPJ Productions – (IMDB)

Plot Description: “Batya’t Palu Palo,” is a situation comedy about a rich heiress, Estella (Vilma Santos), who disguises as a lowly washerwoman in order to find out for herself the true meaning of love that she found in Berting (Fernando Poe Jr).

Film Achievement: The success of this film resulted with a follow-up film, Bato sa Buhangin (1976), the OPM hit, used as the theme song or soundtrack of this 1974 Box Office Hit. Total Number of Fernando Poe Jr. and Vilma Santos Films: 5 – Batya’t Palu-Palo, Bato sa Buhangin, Ikaw ang Mahal Ko, Dugo At Pag-ibig sa Kapirasong Lupa, Mga Mata ni Angelita

Film Review: “…Recently, we spent an entire afternoon watching replays of three shows from Palibhasa Lalake and one from FPJ. Titled Batya’t Palo-palo, the FPJ film stars Fernando Poe Jr. with Vilma Santos as his leading lady. It presents a love story between Ronnie (Poe’s nickname) who plays a tubero working in the hacienda of the rich Saavedra family whose daughter (Vilma) he meets while she is cleaning her clothes by the river. The twist in the story comes when Ronnie mistakes Vilma for a laundry woman and she plays along, asking the women in the hacienda not to reveal her secret. Ronnie and Vilma begin to take a liking to each other while Vilma’s friends as well as Ronnie’s man Friday cooperate in keeping her secret. The parents of Vilma get wind of the situation, and are outraged that their daughter could fall for a man not in their class. Ronnie, who is unaware of all this secrecy, leaves the farm to board a bus for Manila. Vilma follows him to the station and while the bus is leaving, they get on board to their happy ending. We enjoyed this simple love story with only minimal fight scenes expected of a Ronnie Poe picture. Without question, there was definite magic in the Ronnie-Vilma team-up which kept us glued to the screen…Since these stories are re-runs of those produced many years ago, we can expect negative reactions from today’s young audience. We can already hear the words “unlikely storyline,” “ridiculous costuming” and “outdated locations.” We agree with all these accusations. However, to us such stories represent a period gone by, a part of our history that we should appreciate and be happy that some people took the pains to preserve…” – Bibsy M. Carballo, The Philippine Star, 11 March 2015 (READ MORE)

Two newly-proclaimed box office champions of Philippine movies star in FPJ Productions’ upcoming 13th anniversary presentations, “Batya’t Palu Palo,” a situation comedy about a rich heiress who disguises as a lowly washerwoman in order to find out for herself the true meaning of love. Dilineating the lead roles are Fernando Poe Jr. and Vilma Santos who star for the first time together. Now being filmed among the lush greens of Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac, “Batya’t Palu Palo” hopes to make people forget the humdrum activities of this world. A wholesome family entertainment, the flick will have Ronnie step down from his throne as the country’s number one action star to the down-to-earth role of Berting, a haceinda hand who nevertheless, catches the attention of the young rich and quiete spolied Estella. Directed by ace meg man Pablo Santiago, “Batya’t Palu Palo” is scripted by Fred Navarro, base on a story by Ronwaldo Reyes. – FPJ-Da King Blogspot (READ MORE)

“…Memories! I started reminiscing instantly. I want to ask Ate Susan (Roces, FPJ’s wife) nga for DVD copies of our three movies. I was only 21 when we made “Batya.” Ninety percent of the movie was shot in Hacienda Luisita (Tarlac) where we stayed for two months. He taught me how to swim in the hacienda’s swimming pool. We were with (co-star) Lorna Tolentino then. I admit that I didn’t know how to swim when I did “Dyesebel.” But the most memorable scene [from “Batya”] was the ending, where I ran after him, while he was aboard a train….” – RV (READ MORE)

“…Nang magkita sina Ronnie at Vilma sa first shooting day sa Montalban, Rizal, halos hindi mapatid ang batian, katiyawan at biruan. Pareho silang masayang-masaya. Sapagka’t at long last daw, natuloy din ang kanilang pagtatambal pagkalipas ng halos kulang sa isang taong paghihintay na ma-vacant si Vilma sa dami ng pelikulang ginawa. As sa simula ng siyuting, akala mo hindi sila magkakilala. Dibdiban ang acting at dialogue. Sunod-sunod ang take ng iba’t ibang angulo. Kalahating araw silang walang biruan at nang matapos ang maraming eksena ay saka lamang sila muling nagtawanan. “Mahirap na,” sabi ni Vi, “Kailangang makarami ng scenes para naman makabawi sa akin ang FPJ. Biruin naman ninyong ang tagal din ang ipinaghintay nila sa akin. Nagpapasalamat ako sa napakahabang patience nila. Kung tulad ng iba, baka pinalitan na lamang ako ng ibang leading lady. Masyado silang professional sa pakikipag-deal, lalo na si Ronnie kaya nahihiya man ako sa atraso, hindi naman makapag-back out doon sa mga naka-schedule ko na. Dapat na tapusain ko rin para walang magalit na producer sa akin…” Letty G. Celi (READ MORE)

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