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Sierra Madre, Bundok Ng Hiwaga (1948)
Category Vintage
Label LVN

Tagalog Movie

Written and Directed by Leopoldo Salcedo

Nela Alvarez and Leopoldo Salcedo

Sierra Madre (Bundok ng Hiwaga) is an drama-packed action film starring one of the biggest male stars of the era, Leopoldo Salcedo. Salcedo was not the 'mestizo' matinee idol type, like his arch-rival Rogelio dela Rosa, but more like the 'ideal Filipino' darkly handsome, and thoroughly masculine. But for Filipinos, that was not enough, a star that big had to have been the equivalent or counterpart of some Hollywood star. Hence he was dubbed the 'Great Profile', like John Barrymore, or perha ps, more accurately, Rudolph Valentino.

Leopoldo Salcedo belonged to a very small, exclusive group of bankable male stars, among them Rogelio dela Rosa and Jose Padilla Jr; stars who were not 'owned' exclusively by any of the major studios. Salcedo, for example, could make demands that even the biggest studios could not refuse. In Sierra Madre, a story about banditry, where father and son are on opposite sides of the law, Salcedo not only played both roles, but wrote the screenplay, and was the film's director.

Sierra Madre is about a series of tragic events that befalls a newly married peasant couple, Pedro and Rosa, (Leopoldo Salcedo and Nela Alvarez). As the story begins, both are filled with optimism and hope, for they own the land they till, and are expecting their first child.

But shortly after the wedding, Luis, an old flame of Rosa's, attempts to rape her. Pedro comes home just in time to stop the rape but accidentally kills Luis. In the couple's confusion, they make a fateful decision. Rather than surrender to the town's chief of police, Teofilo (Gil de Leon), Pedro becomes a fugitive, and hides in the jungles of the Sierra Madre mountains, traditionally the refuge of tulisanes (bandits) and rebels.

Rosa urges Pedro to flee

While in hiding, Pedro mistakenly believes that Rosa has become unfaithful and is having an affair with Teofilo. In his anger and desperation, Pedro becomes a tulisan (bandit) himself, eventually achieving notoriety as the 'Kilabot ng Sierra Madre.'

'Ang Kilabot ng Sierra Madre'

Rosa gives birth to a son, Carding, who grows up believing his father died before he was born. The adult Carding (Leopoldo Salcedo) decides to enter the military academy in Baguio, but before he leaves, Rosa gives him her wedding ring. While in the academy, he meets and falls in love with Aurora (Vida Florante). They plan to marry soon and Carding gives her his mother's wedding ring.

Aurora (Vida Florante) accepts the engagement ring.

On graduation night at the military academy, after a surreal dance number by Carding and the other cadets dressed as women, Carding and Aurora decide to leave the celebration and drive around to be alone.

An unusual dance number

Ambushed by Miguel (Tony Santos)

But tragedy strikes again. They are ambushed by bandits - actually a splinter group from Pedro's original force, led by the treacherous Miguel (Tony Santos). A fight ensues and Miguel is killed. Aurora is almost raped, and like the past repeating itself, Pedro, Carding's father, saves her. Pedro does not fail to notice the wedding ring Aurora is wearing.

Shortly after, Carding seeks official permission to go after the bandits of the Sierra Madre and finish them off. Permission is granted and a fierce fight takes place between the soldiers and the rebels. More twists and turns and the film reaches the long-awaited climax, when Rosa, Pedro and Carding, mother, father and son meet again…

Leopoldo Salcedo:
The 'Great Profile' of
Philippine Movies.

NOTES: VHS versions come in plain box.
Copying is done entirely by LVN Pictures.
This vintage video is not a restored version.

( US$ 29.99 DVD )

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