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Sa Tokyo Ikinasal (1948)
Category Vintage
Label LVN

Tagalog Movie

Directed by Manuel Silos
Screenplay by Fely Constantino; Based on the play 'On To Tokyo' by Pedrito Reyes

Filipino soap opera meets Grand Opera
in a light adaptation of 'Madame Butterfly'

It is 1948, barely 3 years after the end of the Second World War yet the Filipino audiences still patronized films that, even indirectly, referred to the horrific experience that was the Japanese occupation. Sa Tokyo Ikinasal is a film version of a zarzuela called On To Tokyo by Pedrito Reyes, (one of the numerous children of Severino Reyes, aka Lola Basyang). But the story is really a Filipino adaptation of the famous opera by Giacomo Puccini - Madame Butterfly.

The original Madame Butterfly had a very simple plot - girl meets boy, girl loses boy, girl kills herself. The story featured only two major characters, the dashing U.S. Navy officer, Pinkerton, and the beautiful geisha Cio-Cio San.

Tessie Quintana as the
tragic Cio-Cio San
Sa Tokyo Ikinasal, on the other hand is a light romantic comedy, teeming with subplots. It is a satire, and the target, of course, are the Japanese. Thus, the Japanese characters are more like caricatures, speaking to each other in pidgin Tagalog or more accurately, 'Japalog' complete with stereotypical Japanese behavior, like incessant bowing, growling and grunting.

Rogelio dela Rosa, Celia Flor,
and Armando Goyena sing "Iniibig Kita…"

The Filipino version has Rogelio dela Rosa playing Carlos, the Pinkerton role. He is a Philippine navy officer and a decorated war hero. Then there is his brother, Fidel (Armando Goyena), another decorated war hero. The two brothers come home just in time to celebrate the birthday of their 'sister' Liling (Celia Flor). It is a happy reunion and there is a lot of singing, including the song Iniibig Kita by Quin Velasco. It is a beautiful song that, given a contemporary arrangement, may stil l have popular appeal.

As expected, the two brothers are both in love with Liling, but how is that possible since Liling is their sister? Their parents (Gil de Leon and Naty Bernardo) decide to finally reveal the truth about Liling. Liling is not their sister; she was adopted and now that she is of age, she is free to choose between Carlos and Fidel.

Harana Contest
Carlos: "Pakinggan mo, aking hirang…"
Fidel: "Manungaw ka't iyong malasin…"

Into this very Filipino subplot weaves the Madame Butterfly story. Liling sings again but this time she sings a famous aria from the Puccini opera. This triggers a flashback that shows Carlos and Cio-Cio San (Tessie Quintana) happy and in love in a Japanese setting overflowing with cherry blossoms.

To solve this perplexing dilemna, the father decides that the two brothers must draw lots for Liling. Carlos wins this strange raffle but decides to give way to Fidel. He pretends he has lost the 'rafffle' and must return to Tokyo anyway. Duty calls and so does Cio-Cio San.

Then the mother has a line of dialogue that says it all: Hindi maaring magpakasal si Carlos sa isang Haponesa… But Carlos leaves anyway and Liling is heartbroken for it is quite obvious she is in love with him.

Carlos returns to Tokyo with his two sidekicks, Sano and Chipopo played by the director Manuel Silos and Lou Salvador Sr. Like Pugo and Togo, Sano and Chipopo were also a popular comedy duo, especially during the Japanese occupation, when the movie industry was literally shut down and showbiz folk migrated to live stage entertainment, later given the generic term 'bodabil.'

Sano and Chipopo

While in Tokyo, Carlos reunites with Cio-Cio San but the handsome Filipino is unaware that there is a plot (another subplot) against him. An incident during the war between Carlos and Cio-Cio san's uncle, Captain Tanaka (Florentino Ballecer) has made the Japanese officer the sworn enemy of the 'hiripino' officer. He plots the murder of Carlos with a Japanese suitor of Cio-Cio San (Eusebio Gomez, the studio's favorite Japanese), and then orders Cio-cio san to kill Carlos herself.

The Japanese villains:
Florentino Ballecer & Eusebio Gomez

She agrees most unhappily but when the opportunity presents itself, she is unable to kill Carlos. Because he has failed in his mission, Captain Tanaka commits hara-kiri (or is it seppuku?), or ritual suicide.

In the meantime, in Manila, Liling is clearly unhappy about the turn of events and Fidel realizes that Liling does not love him. Happily accepting defeat, they go to Tokyo so that Liling may finally be with Carlos The poor Cio-Cio San becomes hysterical again and tries to kill Carlos and Liling, but is again unable to do so. Carlos realizes he loves Liling, not Cio-Cio San, and wishes to marry her right away, while still in Tokyo.

Liling and Fidel surprise Carlos
by coming to Tokyo

Alone and in deep pain, Cio-Cio San sings aria after aria from the opera (in Tagalog, of course), and then, like his uncle, commits hara-kiri (or is is seppuku?). Carlos' mother was right after all: The Japanese must pay for their crimes. And a Filipino must never have anything to do with the Japanese… This was in 1948. How times change…

Cio-Cio San commits ritual suicide

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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