(Published in Kislap-Graphic Magazine
March 12, 1958)
Parade of top pictures neatly ties up with consistent box-office pull of three big names – Gloria Romero, Nestor de Villa, Zaldy Zshornack. “Sino Ang May Sala?” leads pack with whopping record.
ONCE again, new box office champions are announced by the Kislap-GRAPHIC poll. As in the past seven years, the gate receipts of all pictures released in the first-run theaters for local movies in Manila during the past movie year were studied. The poll is based on the returns reported to the Bureau of Internal Revenue on a ten-day run of each film at Life or New Dalisay, and sometimes Center Theater. Returns from advanced showings, premieres, or previews are not included.
Generally, the weakness or strength of a picture in Manila serves to gauge its reception in the provinces, with some outstanding exceptions, of course. What’s more, the returns from Manila first-run theatres generally give back the producer more than one half or even all of the entire cost of production and promotion. Hence, the interest attached to this poll.
The 1957 gross receipts prove that local movies are getting bigger and better. Color spectacles and efforts to introduce something new paid off. In 1957, the champions made P725,293.70, with the topnotcher garnering P83,154 and the tailender grossing P49,073. Last year’s returns were bigger by P188,324.30 than those of 1956 when the top ten moneymakers totaled P536,969.40, with the top picture making P71,176 and the tenth placer P47,913.
In leather jacket, Romeo Vasquez belabors boy he doesn't like in "Sino Ang May Sala?" biggest moneymaker in 1957.
TWO new movie companies landed in the top ten with their maiden ventures: Vera Perez Pictures making the top of the heap with its debut piece, Sino Ang May Sala, and Champion Pictures making fifth with its Kandilang Bakal. What LVN has started in full scale, the full exploitation of color possibilities for local movies, paid off handsomely for all local studios. Two color pictures; namely, Paru-Parong Bukid and Turista are in the lineup, while Day of the Trumpet would have made it for Premiere too, except that, officially, it is a 1958 release and therefore not in the running.
Two “several-stories-in-one” made the grade; namely, Bicol Express and Mga Anak Ng Diyos. Each of the Big 3 movie companies can boast of a picture which was made abroad, all of them with a berth in the poll, namely Hongkong Holiday, Turista, and Sweethearts.
Sino Ang May Sala, an all-star cast, is number 1 in this year’s top ten with its total income of P83,154. Maiden venture of a new movie company, the Vera-Perez Corporation, this was released through Sampaguita Pictures. Based on a novel written by Dr. Fausto Galuran, touching on the sore problem of juvenile delinquency, this movie was hailed not only for being a grosser but also for frankly dealing with one of the social ills of the age: juvenile delinquency. Megged by Armando Garces, stars Rogelio de la Rosa, Paraluman, Gloria Romero, Ric Rodrigo, Lolita Rodriguez, Luis Gonzales, Rosa Mia, and Van de Leon all underplayed their roles to jet-propel to almost positive stardom Romeo Vasquez. The movie formally introduced the Vera-Perez Pictures to the public through an invitational premiere, which turned out to be a social event attended by no less than the former First Lady, Mrs. Luz Magsaysay.
Ric Rodrigo and Gloria Romero enact scene in "Hongkong Holiday." Gloria is Sampaguita's most valuable property.
SAMPAGUITA Pictures captured second and third places respectively with Hongkong Holiday and Paru-Parong Bukid. Hongkong Holiday was reportedly the first of the “Holiday…” series that the company plans to make every year. Grossing P82,793.40 in ten days, its run was extended to 20 days to make P132,000 for Sampaguita. This first co-production venture of Sampaguita was filmed in its entirety in Hongkong and starred Gloria Romero, Ric Rodrigo, Paraluman, and Dolphy. It was directed by Mar S. Torres and from the time its unit left Manila, a coordinated publicity was launched. The fans were invited to the airport, an early teaser was shot, rickshaws and quaint Chinese novelties were made much of . This movie was only P400 short of the winner.
Although a remake, Paru-Parong Bukid placed third with P78,070. Sampaguita Pictures’ first color production (processed at LVN color laboratory and directed by Armando Garces). This time, Gloria has Luis Gonzales as her country swain. Based on an original story by Catalino V. Flores, the movie highlighted three types of dances as introduced by Ruben Nieto. Dolphy was a star in this picture too. Fans claim that this movie proved that Gloria is several millions times lovelier in color than in black and white.
Fourth place goes to LVN’s Turista, a Nida Blanca-Nestor de Villa starrer shot in its entirety in Japan, the land of cherry blossoms. Capturing in beautiful Eastman color the picturesque country, this Felicing Constantino directed movie made much of LVN’s most popular love team’s dancing and singing fame and grossed P77,769.20. Jamin Alcoriza choreographed the dances for the local scenes, but actual nightclub scenes in Tokyo highlighted the picture. Bimbo Danao and Luisa Montesa co-starred with Nida and Nestor. Mt. Fuji and the cherry blossoms came out beautifully in color. Atsuko Kindaichi was another highlight of the movie, but she failed to come for the Premiere.
Kandilang Bakal launched Champion Pictures sensationally. This movie, based on a Pablo Gomez serial, raked in P76,677. Directed by Consuelo P. Osorio, it stars Jose Padilla, Jr., Lilia Dizon, and Reynaldo Dante. During its run, a Studebaker Champion was raffled off but the bigger attraction of the run was reportedly the accompanying short which depicted the death of President Magsaysay.
Left: Against background of cherry blossoms, Nestor de Villa and Nida Blanca smile in Turista," one of the top ten. Right: Shirley Gorospe does a split for Zaldy Zshornack, Premiere's hottest star, in "Sweethearts." In this picture, Zaldy rocked 'n' rolled with Lisa Gaye, Hollywood celebrity.
Sixth place goes to Bicol Express, Premiere’s all-star movie, with P72,095. This Premiere moneymaker is a 7-in-1 affair, handled by seven different directors with seven different casts for seven different little stories that take place as the Bicol Express runs from Manila to Bicol.
The star roll includes Zaldy Zshornack, Pancho Magalona, Efren Reyes, Leopoldo Salcedo, Eddie del Mar, Danilo Montes, Cesar Ramirez, Tita Duran, Alicia Vergel, Olivia Cenizal, Tessie Quintana, Cielito Legaspi, and Carol Varga, under the following directors, Gerry de Leon, Eddie Romero, Cirio Santiago, Chat Gallardo, Teodorico Santos, Efren Reyes, and Josefino Cenizal. This was Premiere’s anniversary presentation for 1957.
Sweethearts which stars the real life sweethearts Zaldy Zshornack and Shirley Gorospe netted P63,990. Shot in Hollywood by Gerry de Leon it is perfect romantic fodder for the teenagers of the country. Hailed as a probable new Tita-Pancho love team, Zaldy and Shirley sang, danced, and romanced to their fans’ delight. Lisa Gaye was another attraction in the picture and the Zshornack die-hards simply swooned when Zaldy rocked ‘n’ rolled with the American queen of the rock ‘n’ roll. All the famous spots in Hollywood reached the local movie fans via this movie, and how they lapped it up.
Mga Anak Ng Diyos, another Vera-Perez smash hit, landed eighth with P50,790. This is a trilogy held together by a common factor, the orphanage where each of the three principal characters came from. Handled by three different directors, Mar S. Torres, Armando Garces, and Conde Ubaldo, Lolita Rodriguez, Rita Gomez and Gloria Romero were starred. Susan Roces and Romeo Vasquez, the company’s first star for the year, guested.
Ninth place goes to the very popular radio serial Krisalis written and directed by Susana de Guzman, with P50,218. This movie stars Nestor de Villa with Charito Solis. Sharing star billing are Delia Razon and Jaime de la Rosa. Krisalis marked the first radio premiere to be held.
LVN once again comes in for 10th spot, with Sebya, Mahal Kita another popular radio serial which was rushed by Nestor de Villa and Nida Blanca before they enplaned for Tokyo for Turista. Based on the radio show made popular over CBN by Sylvia La Torre, Sebya also stars comedians Pugo and Bentot, members of the original radiocast. This musical made P49,073, only P651.60 ahead of Tingnan Natin which missed making the top ten. This last was also a Nida-Nestor starrer, shot in color and for Magnascope screen. Its playdate greatly affected its returns – Dec. 20 to Dec. 29. Any movie that comes out from the 15th to the 23rd of December generally suffers a slump from which it is difficult to recover no matter how terrific the picture is.
Other pictures which made above forty thousand pesos but fell short of the top ten were Veronica, Pretty Boy, Bituing Marikit, and Pusakal.
A REVIEW of the poll reveals Gloria Romero as the movie queen of Sampaguita Pictures in 1957. She starred in all of the company’s box office champions, opposite Ric Rodrigo, Luis Gonzales or Juancho Gutierrez. At LVN, Nestor de Villa is proving he can stand on his own, for he was the leading man in all three moneymakers, opposite either Nida Blanca or Charito Solis. The consistent star for Premiere Productions is Zaldy Zshornack, labeled the hottest star of the company. He was in all the box office champions of the company. Now he may be ranked side by side with Efren Reyes and Pancho Magalona, the top attractions of the company.
Just to show how effective local pictures are, it was reported that a boom in trips to Tokyo and Hongkong took place with the release of the two big co-production deals of LVN and Sampaguita. While it may be true that young stars like Gloria, Nestor and Zaldy brought in the money, it cannot be denied that Rogelio de la Rosa, now a senator, is also an important factor in the success of Sino Ang May Sala. He was one of the many stars who graced its outstanding cast.
Most of the stories which became moneymakers last year were original stories, later on serialized either in a magazine or over the radio. Looks like comic strips have passed their heyday. Only Kandilang Bakal made it.
Badjao, Philippine movies achievement for 1957, romped away with the best director, best photography, best screenplay award, at the recent film festival in Tokyo, and although it did not make the top ten, it gave local movies prestige. Time and again, the present movie colony has been invited to show at Edinburgh, Cannes, New York, and elsewhere.
TOP TEN LOCAL MOVIES OF 1957
1. SINO ANG MAY SALA? (Vera-Perez)
2. HONGKONG HOLIDAY (Sampaguita)
3. PARU-PARONG BUKID (Sampaguita)
4. TURISTA (LVN)
5. KANDILANG BAKAL (Champion)
6. BICOL EXPRESS (Premiere)
7. SWEETHEARTS (Premiere)
8. MGA ANAK NG DIYOS (Vera-Perez)
9. KRISALIS (LVN)
10. SEBYA, MAHAL KITA (LVN)
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