GERRY DE LEON’S MOVIES_Premiere Productions & People’s PicturesAugust 3, 2014
Last July 26, I watched a beautiful play based on Apolinario Mabini’s life at the Cultural Center of the Philippines entitled “La Revolucion Filipina”. While waiting for the play to start, I walked around and saw a tarp hanging announcing National Artist in Film Gerardo de Leon’s Centennial Year. I felf rather bad missing the film series activities prepared then for him.
Four days later, I was at the Microfilm Section of the National Library researching for materials on Mabini, the current project that I am working on. I chatted with the only other person researching there at the same time, Mr. Joven Catibog. When he told me that he was researching on Philippine Movies, it sparked my interest. I used to be a researcher on Philippine Movies at the UP Film Center. I was all the more excited to know from him that Director Gerardo de Leon is his subject, and that he is helping former actress Liberty Ilagan, daughter of the famed director to gather materials and correct data for a book that she is preparing for her Dad. I was very happy to know that there is an initiative towards that end. Coming from De Leon’s daughter herself it is something one should really look forward to. Before I left, I have asked Mr. Joven to reserve a copy of the book that they will publish, whenever that comes out.
At home, before sleeping that same night, I thought again of Gerry de Leon. I remembered that I have a collection of brochures that I got from Premiere Productions. At that time, I was a student of Philippine Cinematics Arts under Prof Virginia R. Moreno who soon recruited me to work at the Film Center. Sumunod na araw, nagkalkal ako sa library namin, and lo! Of nearly 150 brochures that I collected, a dozen were megged by De Leon including FAMAS Best Picture in 1960, “Huwag Mo Ako Limutin”!
Of the 12, four are omnibus films with up to 45 stars in it. De Leon directed the “HongKong Story” in Obra Maestra,” “Bawi’t Bunot” in Viuda de Oro, and “Sa Lahat ng Dako” in Presinto 13. In Apat na Bandila De Leon’s name was credited on the first page of the brochure but on the inside pages, Artemio Tecson replaced his name. I haven’t seen any of the said films, but the versatility of the director can easily be gleaned from the types of movies he directed: Dramatic, Action, Comedy, Horror, Fantasy, Musical, Historical… They are all represented in my collection. [See below]
Some are pioneering and would surely excite the most conservative in the society: “Huwag Mo Ako Limutin” was described as “the first local picture wherein kissing scenes will be consumated.” An article in the brochure in form of a press release states: “For the first time in Filipino movies, down-to-earth kissing scenes will be seen by moviegoers who have been waiting for realistic motion pictures.” On the other hand, “Kulay Dugo ang Gabi” was described as “The First Color Horror Picture Produced in the Philippines.” “Sweethearts” was tagged as “the first Philippine motion picture to be filmed in Hollywood at its actual locale.”
I will probably be writing more in detail what they are about as the brochures are complete with synopses and all. Well, once in a while, this is what I do when I divert from my sped subjects — going to photography and Philippine movies, my other interests.