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Kontrabando (1950)
Category Vintage
Label LVN

Tagalog Movie

Directed by Gregorio Fernandez
Screenplay by Armando Garces based on the original story 'G-2, Ang Tiktik ng Hukbong Pilipino by Major Amado A.

Tenyente Diego (Jaime de la Rosa) is tortured
upon discovery the he is a government spy

We hear the narrator ominously speak these words when the film Kontrabando opens: "Ang daigdig ay kasalukuyang nag-aapoy sa lagablab ng dalawang magkatunggaling simulain ng demokrasya at komunismo… lalung-lalo na sa Pilipinas na kilalang moog ng demokrasya sa Pasipiko..." (The world is presently being engulfed by the spreading conflagration ignited by the opposing forces of democracy and communism, particularly in the Philippines, the shining example of democracy in the Pacific region).

The Cold War was just beginning to heat up and the Philippines was firmly on America's side. China had just turned Communist in 1949 and the Korean War was well underway. Equally successful were the local Communists, the Huks who posed a genuine threat to the Quirino government.

Like the other major studios, LVN made notable contributions to the fight against the spread of communism but cleverly disguised these products as action films, or gangster-type thrillers, like Kontrabando.

Tenyente Diego (Jaime de la Rosa) plays a government intelligence agent, a G-2 spy, 'tiktik ng hukbong Pilipino', who penetrates the sinister world of the kontrabandista - smugglers of guns, jewelry, even opium.

But the most dangerous kontrabando of all, are Chinese Communist operatives smuggled into the country to spread the Gospel of Marxism-Leninism in the region.

Chinese communists were stereotyped to look like
laundrymen or even cooks from Chinatown

Jaime de la Rosa plays the consummate spy, dashing, well-dressed, and even equipped with a spy camera attached to his belt buckle. He gains the confidence of the alleged boss (played by Director Gregorio Fernandez himself) but some of the kontrabandista do not trust him.

Diego is recognized by a former G-2 Intelligence Agent

Naturally there is a love angle but the melodrama is toned down (and there is no singing) when Nilo falls for Celia (played by Celia Flor), the daughter of the suspicious Mr. Chua (Eusebio Gomez), who turns out top boss of the kontrabando smuggling himself.

Celia is shocked to discover the truth about her father

To add more spice to an already exotic mix, several major characters are Moros, as they were called then, since Jolo becomes one of vital drop-off points for the kontrabandista.

In Jolo, a government courier (Natoy Catindig) pretending
to be a beggar approaches Diego
and Datu Ali (Tony Santos)

The film is rather violent by the standards of the early 1950s and it is definitely a man's film, not the studio's typical output, but full of action and intrigue, perhaps inspired by the 'noir' Hollywood movies of the late 40s.

NOTES: DVD is a burned copy only but guaranteed copied from the only existing master copy.
Copying is done entirely by LVN Pictures.
This vintage video is not a restored version.

( US$ 29.99 DVD )

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