Saturday, September 20, 2008

ON WAR GAMES AND MAKING MOVIES


Playing war games as a kid, the Japanese troops were the enemy of choice due to the glut of films and TV shows that romanticized World War II at that time. Cowboys and Indians were played sometimes, but Filipino guerillas versus the Japanese troops proved more popular among the neighborhood kids.

These games, however, were more fun when played in Subic because of my aunt's backyard with hills and mountains as backdrop. And most of all, there was the kamalig that we'd use as the Japanese garrison, which was to be invaded at all costs. The ruckus we'd make incensed my aunt and terrified her flock of geese and the chickens in the poultry that we'd get occasionally banned from playing out in her backyard.

Anyway, one morning in Subic for the weekend with my father, an uncle picked us up in his black Ford sedan that looked like an oversized Volkswagen beetle. Actually, I didn't want to go because I'd rather stay with an older cousin who was making a slingshot for me. But then my uncle said something that made me changed my mind: "We're going to where they're shooting a war movie." And suddenly, I forgot all about the slingshot.

This uncle owned some properties in Subic that had become popular to the location scouts of local and foreign movie production studios, including "Apocalypse Now." Once, he took me and my cousins to where Charito Solis had just finished doing an attempted rape scene with Max Alvarado or was it Bino Garcia? Perhaps, Martin Marfil. Anyway, her clothes were torn and frayed, while her face and entire body showed some bruises. She looked dirty as if dragged all over the rice field, but they were just make up. She smelled so nice; the mesmerizing scent lingered long after she'd passed us by. Whatever it was, it smelled better than the perfume worn by my eldest sister Fraulein and her friends. I didn't know the name of that movie. Neither did I see it in the theater.

However, on this particular Saturday, it was a more special experience, for I got to meet the film's stars, most especially its enchanting leading lady. For that alone, I was not to forget its title:
"No Man Is An Island."

When we arrived, the entire cast was lounging around waiting for the camera and lights to be positioned just right. The cast looked at us as we approached the set and the director cordially greeted my uncle. He then introduced us to Barbara Perez and Jeffrey Hunter.

We didn't stay too long because they eventually resumed shooting. The entire ambience -- the set and all those actors in their guerilla outfits and Japanese army uniforms -- were to become the characters and images of my imagination whenever playing war games with my friends or with my toy soldiers.

My eldest sister Fraulein and her friends were most impressed that I got to meet Barbara Perez in person, while my brothers were somewhat indifferent. I guess, they were jealous for not having the chance to meet her. Later on as a teenager, after seeing Audrey Hepburn in "Wait Until Dark," I walked out of Avenue Theater thinking she reminded me of Barbara Perez who was just as alluring a movie star as she.

The Eraserheads'
might have immortalized Paraluman in their "Huling El Bimbo", or at least, introduced her to their young fans (the children of Pinoy baby boomers), but nowadays I wonder if many people remember Barbara Perez.

Incidentally, Simon of Video48 had posted a wonderful article on Barbara Perez and the offers of Hollywood that she refused, including some tidbits on the movie "No Man Is An Island. Click here to enjoy it.






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posted by Señor Enrique at 7:59 AM


8 Comments:

Blogger NOYPETES said...

Wow! you shook hands with jeffrey Hunter! Corect me if I'm wrong, didn't he play the role of Jesus in one of his movies?

Barbara Perez, crush ko rin siya nuong bata pa ako. masyadong mahinhin da mga papel niya sa sine at medyo konserbatib.

Yung nabanggit mong sine na "Wait until dark" with Audrey Hepburn playing the role of a blind lady trapped in a house with a killer and with Efren Zimbalist Jr. was one of the most suspenseful movie I saw at koingkidinkly..sa Avenue Theater din! Naglakwatsa ako nuon at pumasok ako sa sine Avenue na may dalang malaking supot ng piniritong mani galing sa Quiapo. Kinabahan pa ako dahil lakwatsa lang ako at may tumabi sa akin sa orchestra seats na dalawang pulis Maynila na sa palagay ko ay nagla-lakwatsa rin sa trabaho nila o kaya big fan ni Audrey Hepburn kagaya ko. Masyadong suspenseful ang sine na ito kaya handa ako sa mga nakakagulat na eksena ng biglang tumalon sa gulat ang dalawang pulis sa eksenang dahan-dahan gumising ang killer habang natataranta ang bulag na bida sa pag-ikot sa bahay ng bigla siyang sinunggaban ng killer sa paa at close up pa sa full screen ang mukha ng nakakatakot na killer, medyo natawa akong tumingin sa dalawang machong pulis na ma-gugulatin pala, habang pinupulot nuong isang pulis ang batuta niyang nahulog sa sahig sa matinding pagka-gulat...dali-dali akong lumipat ng upuan dahil di ko mapigil ang paghagikhik ko sa nakita kong parang binabaeng kilos ng dalawang pulis ng tumili pa sila sa gulat sa eksena sa sine!

Pero sa totoo lang, talagang nakaktawa parati ang kilos ng mga nagugulat, lalo na pag mga lalaki..pero machong pulis? medyo doble ang katatawanan!

September 20, 2008 10:46 AM  

Anonymous bertN said...

I remember Barbara Perez with her wide, beautiful eyes but she was not my favorite female movie star then. I like the ones with a little more meat...like Charito Solis LOL.

September 20, 2008 12:45 PM  

Blogger Amadeo said...

Jeffrey Hunter was one of the matinee idols during our youth - together with the likes of Tab Hunter, Robert Wagner, etc.

Stars who banked on their physical features, and for this Jeffrey Hunter got the nod as the first person to portray Jesus Christ shot frontally. Before that, Hollywood typically would shoot Christ either from the back or just his voice. The movie was King of Kings.

I do remember his coming to the old homeland for the shooting of the subject movie.

Was not as lucky as Eric to have met him and he did die early.

I do not know what affinities Hunter had for the Pacific area, but I do recall seeing him in another B/W war film where his role was that of an adopted son to a Japanese family in Hawaii and the war finding him and his Japanese brother at opposite sides.

September 22, 2008 12:27 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Lol .... ako din Pete nag-cutting ng araw na yon! Kasama ko classmate na may passes sa Avenue Theater galing sa tatay niyang pulis.

Oo nga, nakakagulat ang eksena na yon, ako nga din medyo napatayo sa upuan ko, he. Pero yung dalang pulis na nakita mong nagulat sa sinehan ay may nakakatawa't nalaglag pa ang batuta ... hehehe.

May pagka-Maria Clara nga ang dating ni Barbara Perez. Crush ko sya noon :)

September 22, 2008 7:44 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Well, I can understand and appreciate your choice of female leads, bertN ... hehehe. Miss Solis was definitely a voluptuous woman, and those signature rape scenes in her movies assured the careers of many character actors who specialized in such nasty and villainous roles :)

September 22, 2008 7:48 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Wow! Thank you for the trivia, Amadeo. Incidentally, would Troy Donohue fall under the same category? My sister used to adore him back then.

My meeting Jeffrey Hunter involved more than a handshake. He actually got a kick omy my newly-buzzed head and called me "kayl-bow," while rubbing my head with the palm of his hand. Everyone got a good laugh when I asked him if he made three wishes while rubbing my almost bald head ... hehehe.

I met him again a couple of weeks later in Manila as he was coming out with a group of people from my aunt's house who made many costumes for stage and film productions. She lived near our house. I was coming home from school that afternnon and I called out Jeffrey's name and waved at him. He was happy to see a familiar face and immediately asked me to come over and had our picture taken by a photographer who was with them. Unfortunately, I couldn't find that photo anymore :(

September 22, 2008 7:57 AM  

OpenID bw said...

I love playing war games when I was a kid man. It was the ultimate thrill :)

You just rekindled my memory that made me chuckle when I read this post - Max Alvarado, Bino Garcia and Martin Marfil ! The triumverate of the infamous villains and goons of Pinoy movies. Gosh, I wonder how many times these dudes got killed in the movies ! Methinks they got killed in every movie they appeared LOL :)

When I was a kid I watched the war movie Merril's Marauders and I thought Jeffrey Hunter was in that movie. I could be wrong :)

September 23, 2008 9:40 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

When I was a kid, BW, I'd rather play alone with my toy car than play with my brothers as Max Alvarado or Bino Garcia or Martin Marfil. Assuming one of those roles would doom me to an early demise ... hahaha.

Playing war games was the bomb!

September 24, 2008 3:40 PM  

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