Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Surabaya Conspiracy (1969)

1969 – The Surabaya Conspiracy (Meyers Productions/American National Enterprises)


[Also released in US cinemas as “Stoney”, in Italian cinemas as “Fino Allo Spasimo” and on Danish VHS as “Deadly Game”. IMDB lists the US TV title as “The Gold Seekers”, unconfirmed]


Director/Producer Wray Davis Screenplay Walter Anton White Based on the novel “Surabaya” by James M. Fox Executive Producers Hal Meyers, Eric Biedermann Cinematography Jules Brenner Music Charles Bernstein Editor James Decker Production Supervisor Vicente Nayve Art Director Francisco Balague Sound Levy Principe Special Sequences Cinematography William Hines Gaffer Al York


Cast “Mike”/Michael Preston (Steven Blessing), Barbara Bouchet (Irene Stone), Michael Rennie (Harvey Ward), Richard Jaeckel (Dirk), Leopoldo Salcedo (High Commissioner Suwono), Pancho Magalona (Captain Haryan), Vic Diaz (Ah Song), Paraluman (Margaret Suwono), Tony Dungan (Colonel Natursian), Vance Skarstedt (Chuck), Gerald Hardig (Jerry), Hernan Robles (Native Messenger), Andres Centenera (Van Randwyck), Bobbi Greenwood (Joan), Frank Pearson (Vern), Ernest Rohoten (Mel), Burt Raymond (Goldwell), Don Wright (Barnett), Clifford Romack (Doctor), Wolfhart Gaush (Mr Cowan), Jesse (Taxi Driver), Karl Heinrich Meyer (Irene’s Friend), Paquito Fajardo (Japanese Victim), Nick Miranda (Hotel Clerk), Jerry Reyes (Mandur), Narciso Inoncillo (Aide de Camp), Paquito Bebitez (Aide de Camp), Carlos Solano (Civilian Aide), Armando Lucero (Ah Song’s Man), Rod Francisco (Ah Song’s Man), Domingo Mendoza (Ah Song’s Man), Tina Adriano (Princess Hegoro?), Boy Ledesma (Prince Hegoro?), Atilano Corpus (General Susho), PMP Commandos, Lucky Nine Stuntmen


Ethan (1964)

1964 - Ethan (Nemours Productions)


Director/Producer Michael Du Pont Story/Screenplay Lea Kim Associate Producer Ferde Grofé Jr Cinematography “Emanuel”/Emmanuel I. Rojas Music Paul Glass Editor George Reys Associate Director? Ricardo Velazquez Camera Operator Vicente Sempio Assistant Editor? Fred Buensuceso Makeup Andrea Manahan Post-Production Supervisor Lee Osborne Gaffer Sylvestry Larrianga Orchestra Manager Martin J. Berman Flute Arthur Gleghorn Trombone Lloyd Ulyate Oboe Bert Gassman Piano Pearl Kaufman Clarinet Mitchell Lurie Violin Henri Temianka Bassoon Norman Herzburg Viola Milton Thomas French Horn James Decker Cello Raphael Kramer Trumpet Charles Brady String Bass Meyer Rubin Saxophone Buddy Collette


Cast Robert Sampson (Ethan), Eddie Infante, Joseph de Cordova, Rosa Rosal, Jennings Sturgeon (Carlos), Vicente Liwanag (Jose), Rod “Navaro”/Navarro (The Doctor), Bruno Punzalan (Alli), Henry Duval (First Thug), J.C. Sturgeon (Carding), Yvonne Nielson (The Singer), George Torres (The Moro)


Chris Koenig’s review on the Yuku forum:


About a year ago, I came across an extremely obscure film on VHS called "Ethan" made in 1964 by producer-director Michael du Pont and filmed on location in the Philippines, yet is an American production. It's a drama-exploitation film about a Catholic priest in a small Muslim town who is seduced by a woman and is almost killed by her father, resulting in the priest to abandon the Church and go off to find "himself". Honestly my plot description doesn't do the film any justice, but I do feel it is a very good film that contains a great music score and honest performances. What makes this film very interesting is some of the cast and crew: playing the woman is Rosa Rosal, who started out in early 40s Philippine cinema and still does small roles, but is heavily involved in the Philippine National Red Cross (check imdb.com for her achievements...very impressive), "Blood Island" regular Bruno Punzalan plays the woman's father, cinematographer Emmanuel Rojas worked with the legendary Geraldo de Leon. Perhaps the most interesting performer is Robert Sampson who plays the priest; Sampson is best remembered for playing the father in The Twilight Zone classic 'Little Girl Lost' and playing Dean Halsey in Stuart Gordon's "Re-Animator" (1985). Despite having a wide variety of TV and movie credits, "Ethan" is Sampson's one-and-only starring role and is quite good in the film.


The info on "Ethan" is very limited; the imdb.com even has two listings for it, one in 1964 and the other 1971. The end credits reveal a copyright date of 1964, so it's quite possible that it had a very scattered release. Its early VHS release came about in the early 90s when Genesis Home Video put it out. As with most of Genesis' releases, the picture transfer quality leaves a lot to be desired: "Ethan" was filmed in the 2.35:1 Techniscope-Technicolor format and thus the image is very badly panned-scanned. Nonetheless, I enjoyed the film so much that I decided to seek out info on it. I was able to get in touch with Ferde Grofe Jr., who was the associate producer on the film. He has been very helpful in giving me what info he has on the film. I'm also trying to get in touch with the producer-director Michael du Pont, as according to Ferde he is the one who owns the rights. So far, it's been a bit difficult to get in touch with Michael so that might take a while. Then, I was able to speak with the music composer Paul Glass two months ago and told me what he knew about the film. Now teaching in Switzerland, Paul did music for such films as "Lady in a Cage", "Bunny Lake is Missing" and "Overlord".


As for trying to get somebody interested in looking into the film, let me restate that. I've been trying to get a DVD company like Severin Films to take note of this, as I feel it's up there alley and I do have some info on it. I do know where a 35mm and 16mm print resides at as well. All that needs to be figured out is if Michael still owns the rights and if any other film elements like a negative is stored. But so far, despite sending e-mails to Severin suggesting this title and willing to help them out, no responses making me wonder if they are taking me seriously or not...or if they are interested...who knows? I've also e-mailed Marc Morris at his Nucleus Films website - he updates Severin's website from time to time - asking if he could pass this along to the Severin crew and so far no response. I've been considering suggesting this title to either Mondo Macabro or Code Red, but still unsure if this film is up their alley or not (Mondo Macabro possibly, Code Red maybe). I've even e-mailed Michael Felsher at Red Shirt Pictures to see if he could lend a hand in finding out who owns the rights, etc...so far, no response. However, because I'm a newbie at this field, maybe they have some doubt on my "legitimacy" and I don't blame them. But I must state that I'm not doing this for money; I'm doing this because I'm a movie-fan and I feel "Ethan" is a good film and I want to see it get a better release than what it had! But until then, who knows where this might lead...

Saturday, December 19, 2009

When Eagles Strike (2003)

2003 - When Eagles Strike (Concorde-New Horizons Corp/Premiere Productions)


[Released in the Philippines as “Operation Balikatan”]


Director/Producer Cirio H. Santiago Screenplay Michael Kinney Executive Producer Roger Corman Associate Producer Sarah Esberg Cinematography Jun Daleways, Ric Remington Music Nonong Buencamino Editor Roy Stark Production Manager “J.M.”/Jose Mari Avellana Unit Director Bobby Santiago Production Manager Jun Cleofas Assistant Director Robert Rivera Assistants to the Producer Joe Zucchero, Al Gomez Art Director Manny Samaniego 2nd Unit Cameraman Pablo Bautista Assistant Camera Robert Dalawis 2nd Assistant Camera Proceso Lazaro 3rd Assistant Camera Constantino Medes Gaffer Hermogenes Romulo Production Cashier Ma. Fe A. Balderama Production Accountants Armando Lacsamana, Malotte San Juan Script Supervisor Nelia Villaflores Production Nurse Jowana Bautista Production Secretary Baby de Leon Production Assistant Abigail Patacsil Field Soundman Jojo Jacinto Special Effects Rolando Salem Fight Instructor Ronald Asinas Assistant Fight Instructors Manny Samson, Renato Morado, Larry Correa Head Makeup Teresa Villaflor Assistant Makeup Nita Camantigue Legman Jojo Basco Armorers Rolly Sto. Domingo, Tex Molinyawe Meal Checker Al Abendano Stills Nilo Odiaman Wardrobe Head Joey Tajanlangit Wardrobe Assistants Gloria Garcia, Juvy Jorolan, Ronnie Bilinario Set Dressers Erning Delina, Roland Dionisio Utility Ambo Lastimoso, Ogie Delina, Allan Abedano, Paul Forbes Film Loader Rommel Santos Clapper Rey Remias Head Electrician Tony Cruz Assistant Electrician Albert Cabiad Crew Rolando Ramoso, Jonathan Nicolas Dolly Crew Dencio Frilles, Jimmy Cruz Grip Jojo Abedano Cineforce Unit Manager Delfin Betis Caterer Lapid Catering Service Drivers Willer Bulac, Cel Fernandez, Rey Mahinay, Richard Gallega, Bello Hagtusan, Jaime Cleofas Post Production Manager Jun “Cleopas”/Cleofas Post-Production Coordinator Mario Rapinan Special Sound Effects Bert de Santos, Steve Dava Assistant Editors Ben Tala, Erwin Tala, Edmund Tugbo Sound Mixer Neel Bruan Title Design Rolly Santiago


LOS ANGELES CREW Director Gwyneth Gibby Cinematography Henry Crum 1st Assistant Director Brian Batkin Key Grip Sunny Lee Gaffer Phil Miller Best Boy Grips Brian Christie, Kelly Price First AC Thomas Spingola 2nd AC David Lincoln Production Sound Mixer Josh Steinberg Boom Operator Mycel Stokes Script Supervisor Matt Clements Cosume Designer E. Dee Biddlecome Makeup/Special Effects Karrieanne Heisner Production Assistants Matt Conrad, Mark Messick, Witney Seibold Unit Production Manager Sarah Esberg


Cast Christian Boeving (Andrew), Nate Adams (Darren), Davee Youngblood (Tyler), Stacy Keach (General Thurmond), Jesse Vint (CIA Chief Spencer), Eddie Garcia (General Espino), Rey Malonzo (Rodrigo), Monsour Del Rosario (Ahmed), Jess Lapid Jr (Salek), Archie Adamos (Mag), Jose Mari Avellana (Ibrahim), Carlo Maceda (Dima), Nigel Hogge (Senator Barnes), Joe Zucchero (Greg), Ernie Zarate (Ramiro), James [Gregory] Paolleli (Louis), [uncredited] Patricia Javier (Teresa), “Santi”/Sanit Larrauri (Gus), Mikka Avellana (Jennifer), Robert Rivera (Killer on Motrobike), Jenor Zapanta (Anna), Orlando “Alan”/Estrada (Isagani "POW"), Brian Katkin (Military Inteligence Commander), Mel Lewis (Lieutenant Herbert)


Scott Weinberg’s review from the E Film Critic website:


One might be tempted to classify this movie as "ripped from the headlines" when in fact "ripped from the trash heap" would be an infinitely more accurate assessment.


Hoping to use our current state of warfare as a hot-button issue, When Eagles Strike (also known as Operation Balikatan) is just about one of the most laughably inept war movies ever produced.


Stacy Keach (the only recognizable actor in evidence and the one who looks the most humiliated about it) leads a gang of gung-ho U.S. soldiers who have to rescue a Senator who's been taken as a POW by evil Iranians...or Iraqis. As far as this movie's concerned, they're just "evil brown people" lined up to be mowed down in an endless series of Machine Gun Moments.


Words like "Al Qaeda", "Taliban" and "Bin Laden" are strewn throughout the bargain-basement banality in an effort to make the proceedings feel topical and...well, interesting. These attempts are constantly thwarted by the atrociously nonsensical dialogue, the uproariously amateurish acting performances and a meandering plot narrative that can best be described as...retarded.


And shock of all shocks: the DVD comes courtesy of Roger Corman's "New Concorde" schlock-house. Taken as a movie worthy of the Mystery Science Theater treatment (get a few drunk, chatty friends and When Eagles Strike is a certifiable hoot) you might find something of entertainment value within.


If, however, you're looking for a solid war movie, just keep on walkin'.

Joseph Estrada filmography 1962 to 1963

JOSEPH ESTRADA Filmography 1962-1963


1962 – Mga Tigreng Taga-Bukid (Tagalog Ilang-Ilang Productions)


[Release date 9th January 1962]


Director Armando Garces Music Francisco Buencamino Jr


Cast Fernando Poe Jr, Romeo Vasquez, Joseph Estrada, Lauro Delgado, Tony Ferrer, Van de Leon, Cecilia Lopez, Lourdes Medel, Perla Bautista, Rebecca, Mariquit Soliman, Edita Vital, Max Alvarado, Corazon Noble, Arnold Mendoza, Mila Montanez, Jess Lapid, Mary Walter, Bruno Punzalan, Justina David, Rafael Jiminez, Leonora Ruiz, Dencio Padilla, Priscilla Ramirez, Pedro Faustino, Veronica Palileo, Francisco Cruz, Tony Enri, Joaquin Fajardo, Mor Nepomuceno, Alex Flores, Esteban (Steve?) Alcarado, Suzing Tiamzon, Jaime Clavel


1962 - Markang Rehas (Tagalog Ilang-Ilang Productions)


[Release date 10th March 1962]


Director Armando Garces Music F. Buencamino Jr


Cast Joseph Estrada, Perla Bautista, Mariquit Soliman, Max Alvarado, Jess Lapid, Mary Walter, Danilo Jurado, Arnold Mendoza, Rafael Jiminez, Tony Cruz, Menggay, Sammy Sarmento


1962 – Suicide Commandos (Tagalog Ilang-Ilang Productions)


[Release date 8th June 1962]


Director/Story/Screenplay Armando Garces Producer Espiridion Laxa Cinematography Fortunato Buencamino Jr Music Francisco Buencamino Jr Orchestration Restie Umali Editor Teofilo de Leon Sound Engineer Luis S. Reyes Special Effects Totoy Torrente Colour Consultant J.D. Formales Laboratory A.D. Formales Printing S. Amado Titles Marvin B. Panganiban Assistant Director Simplicio Pajarillo Production Manager Jose Laxa Assistant Production Manager Xavier Cocho


Cast Fernando Poe Jr, Romeo Vasquez (Lieutenant Raul Toledo), Joseph Estrada (Sergeant Guerrero), Lauro Delgado (Private Mendez), Tony Ferrer (Corporal Johnny Salgado), Max Alvarado (Private Turko Maximo), Jess Lapid (Private Jose Borjo), Cecilia Lopez, Perla Bautista, Rebecca, Ezar Visenio, Bruno Punzalan, Rafael Jiminez, Sammy Sarmiento, Victor Bravo, Manolo Robles, Simplicio Pajarillo, Arsenio Almonte, Totoy Torrente (General Yamashita), Bert Laforteza (Captain Yamada)


1962 - Digmaan Ng Mga Maton (Ambassador Films)


[Release date 15th June 1962]


Director Felix Villar Screenplay Johnny Pangilinan Music Tony Maiquez


Cast Joseph Estrada, Jose Padilla Jr, Gloria Sevilla, Perla Bautista, Eddie Rodriguez, Ramon d’Salva, Pugak, Zeny Buena


1962 – Apat Na Kilabot (Christopher Productions)


[Release date 19th July 1962]


Director Efren Reyes Story/Screenplay Fred Navarro Music Tony Maiquez


Cast Efren Reyes, Mario Montenegro, Johnny Monteiro, Joseph Estrada, Miriam Jurado, Leonor Vergara, Quiel Segovia, Ruben Rustia, Lito Anzures, Oscar Roncal


1962 – Walang Pagkalupig (Jasmin Tagalog Pictures/Larry Santiago Productions)


[Release date 25th July 1962]


Director Pablo Santiago Screenplay Tommy David Music Tito Arevalo


Cast Fernando Poe Jr, Joseph Estrada, Rodolfo Cristobal, Bert Silva, Paquito Diaz, Oscar Roncal, Jerry Pons, Yolanda Guevarra, Helen Gamboa, Van de Leon


1962 – Cuatro Condenados (Tagalog Ilang-Ilang Productions)


[release date 14th September 1962]


Director/Writer Efren Reyes Music Tony Marquez


Cast Efren Reyes, Romeo Vasquez, Joseph Estrada, Tony Ferrer, Cecilia Lopez, Norma Biancaflor, Ruben Rustia, Jess Lapid, Dencio Padilla, Jay Ilagan


1962 - Tondo Boy (Tagalog Ilang-Ilang Productions)


[Release date 30th September 1962]


Cast Joseph Estrada NO OTHER DETAILS AVAILABLE


1962 - Kapit Sa Patalim (Ambassador Films)


[Release date 18th October 1962]


Director/Writer Felix Villar Music Tony Maiquez


Cast Joseph Estrada, Carlos Padilla Jr, Aura Aurea, Edita Clomera


1962 - Hari Ng Mga Maton (Tagalog Ilang-Ilang Productions)


[Release date 18th November 1962]


Cast Joseph Estrada NO OTHER DETAILS AVAILABLE


1962 - Asiong Meets Alembong (Joseph Estrada Productions/Tagalog Ilang Ilang Productions)


[Release date 17th December 1962]


Director/Story Herminio “Butch” Bautista Music Clod Delfino


Cast Joseph Estrada, Lita Gutierrez, Melaca? Molina, Oscar Roncal, Vic Diaz, Vicente Liwanag, Roy Francisco, Manolo Robles, Mort Nepomuceno, Francisco Cruz, Joaquin Fajardo, Paquito Diaz, Jess Lapid, Bruno Punzalan, Vic Andaya, Joseph Polk


1963 - Pulong Diablo (Jasmin Tagalog Pictures/Larry Santiago Productions)


[Release date 2nd January 1963]


Director Pablo Santiago Screenplay Tommy C. David Music Tony Maiquez


Cast Joseph Estrada, Rodolfo Cristobal, Yolanda Guevarra, Bert Silva, Ben Perez, Paquito Diaz, Oscar Roncal, Tugak, Lilia Dizon, Van de Leon


1963 - The Big Show [5 Stories, 60 Stars] (Larry Santiago Productions/Cirio Santiago Film Organization)


[Release date 13th February 1963]


Directors Larry Santiago, Pablo Santiago, Efren Reyes


Cast Fernando Poe Jr, Joseph Estrada, Chiquito, Mario Montenegro, Carmen Rosales, Efren Reyes, Eddie Mesa, ReyCard Duet, Vilma Valera, Carol Varga, Leonor Vergara, Jose Padilla Jr, Carlos Padilla Jr and many others


1963 - Ginoong Itim (Larry Santiago Productions/Jasmin T)


[Release date 16th March 1963]


Director Pablo Santiago Music Tony Maiquez


Cast Joseph Estrada, Willie Sotelo, Leonor Vergara, Vilma Valera, Carlos Salazar, Tony Cruz Jr, Ponga, Carina Mojer


1963 – Talahib And Dario Moreno (People's Pictures)


[Release date 25th March 1963]


Director Cesar “Chat” Gallardo Screenplay Fred Navarro Music Tony Maiquez


Cast Joseph Estrada, Lito Anzures, Miriam Jurado, Carol Varga


1963 – Istambay (JE Productions/Larry Santiago Productions)


[Release date 28th April 1963]


Director Pablo Santiago Story Pepe Ejercito Screenplay “Butch”/Herminio Bautista Producer [uncredited] Larry Santiago Executive Producer Joseph Estrada Cinematography Luis Chiong Sound Engineer Flaviano Villareal Editor Segundino Ramos Assistant Director Terry Gonzales Production Manager Pepito Torres Cameraman Jose Batac Jr Sound Domingo de Dios Recordist Joe Padrega Makeup Cely Vega Special Effects Fil Lizarondo Laboratory Pacifico Torreda Printer Monico Cullado Assistant Editor Domingo Betes Stills Pedro Becud Area? Officer Armando Herrera Assistant Production Manager Henry Centenera Titles Joe Sison


Cast Joseph Estrada, Jose Padilla Jr, Paquito Diaz, Oscar Roncal, Vic Andaya, Vicente Liwanag, Joe Sison, Rafael Jimenez, Mary Walter, Arsenio Alonzo, Manolo Robles, Blackie Francisco, Bino Garcia, Maggie de la Riva [debut], Boy Alvarez, Bobby Santiago, Joseph Polk, Ben Taga, Bebong Osorio, Joe de Castro, Jane Palomar, Sonny Sto. Domingo, Rosa Rantos, Steve Alcarado, Leni Trinidad, Alex Flores, Joaquin Fajardo, Fil Lizarondo, Ben Morelos, Eva Luna, Olive Aguilar, Rudy Palma, Sandro Serrano, Ben Sanchez [poster also lists Tony Cruz Jr, not in opening credits]


1963 – Ito Ang Maynila (FPJ Productions/Tagalog Ilang-Ilang Productions)


[Release date 30th April 1963]


Director Efren Reyes Producer Fernando Poe Jr


Cast Fernando Poe Jr, Joseph Estrada, Rebecca, Melinda Molina, Paquito Diaz, Max Alvarado, Dencio Padilla, Vicente Liwanag, Manolo Robles, Tina Loy, Jay Ilagan, Danilo Jurado, Jess Lapid, Avel Morado


1963 – Patapon (Tagalog Ilang-Ilang Productions)


[Release date 24th May 1963]


Cast Joseph Estrada NO OTHER DETAILS AVAILABLE


1963 – Los Palikeros (FPJ Productions)


[Release date 23rd July 1963, sometimes listed as "Los Paliqueros"]


Directors Cirio H. Santiago, Armando A. Herrera Producer Fernando Poe Jr Cinematography Felipe Sakdalan Music Tony Maiquez


Cast Fernando Poe Jr, Joseph Estrada, Paquito Diaz, Vic Diaz, Arabella Harmon, Maggie de la Riva


1963 - Via Europa (Larry Santiago Productions)


[Release date 13th September 1963]


Director Pablo Santiago Screenplay Tommy C. David Music Tito Arevalo Cinematography Felipe Sacdalan


Cast Joseph Estrada, Chiquito, Anna Marie, Liza Gruber


1963 – Sugapa (Kislap-Tagalog Pictures)


[Release date 25th September 1963]


Director Efren Reyes Story Cil G. Evangelista Based on the Vista Komiks serial Screenplay “Butch”/Herminio Bautista Music Tony Maiquez


Cast Joseph Estrada, Charito Solis, Stella Suarez


1963 – Kung Hindi Ka Susuko…! (Tagalog Ilang-Ilang Productions)


[Release date 25th September 1963]


Director/Story Efren Reyes


Cast Fernando Poe Jr, Joseph Estrada, Rebecca, Oscar Keesee, Victor Bravo, Manolo Robles, Johnny Long, Max Alvarado, Jess Lapid


1963 - Tres Kantos (JE Productions)


[Release date 28th September 1963]


Director Tony Cayado Screenplay Ben Feleo Music Ariston Avelino


Cast Joseph Estrada, Perla Bautista, Juanco Gutierrez, Mary Walter, Carlos Padilla Jr, Paquito Diaz, Jess Lapid


1963 - Barilan Sa Pugad Lawin (People's Pictures)


[Release date 31st October 1963]


Director Gerardo de Leon Screenplay Cesar J. Amigo Music Tito Arevalo


Cast Joseph Estrada, Liza Moreno, Lauro Delgado, Vic Diaz, Vicente Liwanag, Avel Morado, Jay Ilagan, Johnny Long


1963 – Ang Sangano At Colegiala (Tagalog Ilang-Ilang Productions)


[Release date 1st December 1963, sometimes listed as “Ang Sanggano At Ang Kolehiyala”]


Director/Story Efren Reyes


Cast Amalia Fuentes, Joseph Estrada, Max Alvarado, Jess Lapid, Arnold Mendoza, Alberto Alonzo, Mila Montanez, Victor Bravo, Manolo Robles, Nort Nepomuceno, Pablo Virtuoso, Jose Garcia, Naty Bernardo, Greg Lansang


1963 - Kilabot Sa Daang-Bakal (Luzon Productions)


[Release date 14th December 1963]


Director Felix Villar Screenplay Johnny Pangilinan


Cast Joseph Estrada, Maggie de la Riva, Paquito Diaz, Elena Mercado, Nello Nayo, Rodolfo Cristobal, Silvio Ramiro, Lydia Resma, June Bergman


1963 – Basagulero (Tagalog Ilang-Ilang Productions)


[Release date 22nd December 1963]


Cast Joseph Estrada NO OTHER DETAILS AVAILABLE

Monday, December 14, 2009

Nigel Hogge interview January 2008

NIGEL HOGGE Interview with Andrew Leavold, January 2008


Andrew: Welcome Nigel! Let's start with some background information.


Nigel: I have been in the Philippines for about 37 years, in Asia for about 44 years. I'm British, born on the Isle of Wight in England. I travelled a lot in my twenties and thirties, ended up here, and ever since I have been in the bar and restaurant business. As a sideline I appeared in a few movies, I think about 15 or 16, usually as a character actor or a bad guy, or “contrabida” as they call them here. And I enjoyed it - I had a lot of friends in the entertainment industry but I was never a serious-minded actor. I've done a lot of voice-overs for commercials over the years for a lot of products, Philippine Airlines, Toyota and sop forth. I live in Japan, I have a couple of pubs in Tokyo. I've worked in Saipan and Hong Kong. I've written and sold some scripts. I actually wrote four scripts and sold three of them. Writing is much more my hobby or my forte. I love writing. In fact I've written some books I'm trying to get published right now. Sexy Asian stories, tough guy adventure stuff. But that's really what I love doing. And I would say I'm a much better writer than I am an actor. That's not saying a lot... (rolls eyes) I'm still a bachelor, an “elderly” bachelor living in Manila. Whether I do any more movies, I don't know. I call myself the Cheapest Actor in the Philippines. That's why I think I got the jobs.


I guess your situation's unique as you didn't come to the Philippines to become an actor. Like Mike Cohen, you were a guy who ran a bar and secondered into the crazy filmmaking world.


Mostly the Cirio Santiago-Roger Corman connection, Bobby Suarez of BAS Film Productions, and a few others. I worked for Eddie Romero, I worked with Joe Zucchero a lot – he was closely associated with Cirio and Bobby – and through Joe, he used to get me into the movies.


What was your first introduction to filmmaking?


The first film I ever made...(scratches ear)...it was a Ramon Revilla, Gloria Diaz production, local Tagalog movie called Balakyot. And I played a bad guy with Ken Metcalfe and Joe Zucchero, and Dick Adair, who now lives in Hawaii, and we played four fugitives in the jungle, and I got killed by a snake. The hero, Ramon Revilla, threw a cobra at me, and it hit my chest and wrapped around my head and killed me. I think we worked for five days on that picture in Las Pinas, and that was 1973 I believe. I think it was Ramon Revilla who directed it, but I may be wrong. [Balakyot was released in 1975, and directed by Jose Yandoc] And I enjoyed the experience, I had a lot of fun, and the movie did quite well locally – Gloria Diaz at that time was a very big star, she had recently been the Miss Universe or something like that – and then I went on to make movies, mainly with the Cirio Santiago/Premiere Productions camp, mostly produced by Roger Corman and shot here. Mostly Vietnam War pictures, of which they always needed some white guys hanging around playing Ambassadors or Generals or whatever. And then Bobby Suarez came along with his BAS Productions, and we made One-Armed Executioner. I think that did quite well in the States.


Let's talk about working with Bobby. What was he like on the set?


He was a firebrand, he had a short fuse, but he was a good guy, very friendly. We all liked him and I still like Bobby. I haven't seen him for a while now. [We all had lunch together several days later] But Bobby's career was interesting - he got mixed up with the kung fu, martial arts thing in Hong Kong. And I hope he can get back in the business and I can work with him again.


Tell me about acting in the One-Armed Executioner.


We filmed that out in Bulacan and Cavite. I don't remember a lot about the other actors in it. I remember I was Edwards and I got killed in a speedboat. I remember a helicopter came down and shot me, in the speedboat.


...with a swastika on the side!


Really? (laughs) And I nearly got my head taken off while they filmed that. The helicopter came right over the speedboat and it was like that (crouching), and BAS Films only had the helicopter for two hours, and we had to get it on Take One. Big Pete Cooper was in that one, sis foot six, and he was my henchman. He got killed, too, in the mud.


How did Bobby cast the film?


There was a group of guys – Don Gordon Bell, Jim Gaines – all the time I was operating a pub in Makati, so I was gainfully employed, but a lot of those guys would drink in my pub, so that's how I got to meet them and got involved. And don't forget Joe Zucchero and Ken Metcalfe, who were quite big in the movie industry at that time here, writing scripts and production management. I remember in those days there were about ten of us. It was just a lot of fun in those days. We weren't paid any money in particular, about $100 a day at the rate of exchange at that time, which of course wasn't THAT bad money in those days, and I worked 4-8 days on a movie. So there were a few bucks in the bank, you'd meet some petty girls on the set – it was always a good come-on. But I remember Henry (Strzalkowski) was one of the better actors, Joe Zucchero, Ken Metcalfe, they were good actors. I never considered myself an actor – I never was, had no training – but I was available, and I had a car. So I'd drive them to the set! And I never complained about the conditions.


It's never been duplicated in the Philippines, that sheer volume of films.


Because of the peso-dollar exchange rate, and because it was so easy for them to come here and make what looked like a REAL B movie – possibly C movie – and with explosions and extras and so on, it was very convenient for them. And because the exchange rate, I think it was 50 or 40 to 1 at the time. Now it's more expensive of course, I don't think they're doing that many international movies here. I don't even remember the last movie made here, I think it was 5 years ago. Of course the Vietnam War had a lot to do with it, because to film Vietnam for the Philippines was very convenient for them. 'Cause it looks like Vietnam, and the Filipinos looked JUST enough like Vietnamese that they could use masses of extras and villages and so forth. Then Vietnam movies became passé, so I guess it slowed down.


Bobby Suarez and Cirio Santiago were the guys I was involved with. There were other producers involved, but I can't remember who they were, but it was primarily Bobby and Cirio. And primarily Cirio, because of Cirio's partnership with Roger Corman, who was making movies all over the world at that time, and I think he was doing three or four a year out of the Philippines. So there were always plenty of white men needed. And white girls.


And stuntmen willing to risk their lives!


Correct. And one thing Cirio was good at was bombs. He had a guy who could make a huge explosion that in an American or British or European movie would probably cost $10,000 to stage – he could stage it for $500 in a morning. And I mean they were really massive. I got my hair singed on many occasions running away from such explosions. We all used to sit around the sets saying “We're crazy to risk our lives like this”, but these guys, they knew what they were doing. The Filipinos had a real flair for putting just the right amount of gasoline and kerosene and whatever else is used in these “bombs”. That's basically most of what I remember, sitting out in quarries getting bombed and shot at! They had a lot of weapons, old World War 2 weapons and trucks and stuff. It was interesting...


What's the difference between a Cirio set and a local movie set?


The food was better on a Cirio set. But not THAT much better. On a Bobby set? When Bobby made movies, guys were...I won't say scared of him...but because he was very volatile and he was a real taskmaster, people would really focus and concentrate, because he had a real forceful personality. But we all liked him and respected him. Cirio was very easy going, very relaxed. He had a crew that had done it countless times. They were both good guys, treated their people very well. Didn't PAY them anything, but looked after them.


But what about the level of professionalism on a local film set?


Cirio moved faster – six, seven, eight setups a day, and he wasn't that crazy about dialogue. He loved action. Tagalog movies – pretty unprofessional. It's not really for me to say, because I never tried to produce or direct a movie, I might have been as poor as they were. I think that with Tagalog movies, they were always a little nervous around “foreign” actors, of how to treat them and how far you could push them. Whereas Bobby and Cirio didn't give a shit. We were told to do something, we did it. Whereas the Tagalog movies were perhaps a little bit leery about asking a white actor to put his life on the lone for a scene.


What do Filipinos call Caucasians? Guapos?


In Japanese it's “gaijan”. Oh, you're thinking of Chinese, “gwaillo”, which is “foreign white devil”. But her we're called “pogi” which is “handsome”. (laughs) I was actually a fairly pretty child – hard to believe now, I'm 65 and I've been through the mill – but good memories. I can't remember any bad people involved, they were just decent people trying to make a buck. Trying to produce the best movie they could with very tight budgets – most of the budgets being $300-500,000, above or below the line, I don't know. And it brought real actors from Hollywood, the names of whom I've long forgotten. Guys who were on the periphery of Hollywood and were getting some TV work, and they brought them over as the stars. We would play the second-tier actors, the character actors.


So Christopher Mitchum, for instance, John Phillip Law...


Phillip Law of course was a big name at one stage. When I met him in the early Eighties, he was an ex-big star. And he was a nice guy too. Chris Mitchum I worked with at one time [on Bobby's American Commandos] – I'd always admired his dad. I remember with Chris Mitchum, all he really wanted to do was play chess. So whenever the director yelled “cut!”, Chris would run over to his chess set with whoever he was playing a game with. And he told me a couple of times that he really didn't like being an actor, and he was only really doing it 'cos they were paying him to do it with the Mitchum name. Then, “Everybody on set!” He'd look at his chess set, do his scene, run back to his chess set. And he's probably thinking about his next move during the scene. He obviously wasn't fully committed. But he was a handsome guy like his dad.


Sam Jones in Driving Force, I did a scene with. I think I played a cop. I was only in one scene. And on that movie, I have no idea what was going on with the movie. I have a feeling, and I may be speaking out of turn here, that they were trying to get rid of money. I remember I had one scene in the movie, or maybe two, out in Kalamba. I was wearing a policeman's uniform, I arrested Sam Jones, gave him a ticket, warned him, and THAT took eight days to shoot. They could have done it in one day. And we all felt like there was something going on, like they were trying to spend tax dollars, because that was ridiculous. There was something going on on the set but I was uninvolved. And they paid me every day, $100 a day, and I'd sit around the set doing NOTHING.


The Australian producer of Driving Force, Tony Ginnane, also produced A Case Of Honor with Timothy Bottoms.


I had a big scene with him. I played the Russian Colonel or Major in the Intelligence, and we had a group of American Vietnam War prisoners in front of us, and I had to drive up in a jeep, get out, and they were all sitting out on the grass, an I had to lecture them - that they will be released "only if you work for the future of the USSR" or something. That was Eddie Romero's direction. Also a very slow but delightful man - wonderful, sweet, charming person. I always regretted that, if there was any movie I'd ever made where I might have got some work because of a part and the performance I'd given, maybe it was that one. Because I was OK in that. I would remember my lines for some reason. I would never remember my lines in any other movie. In that one I had quite a large speech to make for almost a minute, and I got it right! I must've been drunk (laughs). And I'm sorry A Case Of Honor never went anywhere. I have no idea what happened to it.


I guess it got lost in the shuffle...


Pity, because it was done with some care by Eddie Romero. I never knew much about the movie industry itself, I never really got involved. It was all a bit complicated for me. I was just hired on as an actor.


You were also involved in a couple of movies from Bobby's twilight years.


I was involved in a movie called Obsessed, which I thought the working title was Angel or Angela, because that was the name of the leading actress, a very pretty 18 year old American girl - I think she was American - living in the Philippines. And I would go to Bobby's house in Bulacan where we filmed a lot of the interiors and some exteriors. At that time I had a Ford Mustang, and for the tiny price that Bobby paid me as an actor, that included my car. I was the Police Detective Lieutenant or Captain. And again it looked like it would go quite well - it was a kind of Exorcist type movie. And suddenly I did a scene in the Glorietta Mall here in Makati, and at the end of the shooting Bobby came up to me and said, "I don't think there'll be any more shooting. I've run out of money." I think he said something like that to me. "And I'll call you if I need you again." And it was in the middle of the movie. Pity, because I had quite a large part in that. (Shrugs) It wasn't to be. And I didn't see Bobby for a few years after that. But we'd talk on the phone sometimes.


Bobby did get an international sale on his previous film, Red Roses For A Call Girl.


I was in that! My God I've been in more movies than I thought... I played a bodyguard or a henchman, and I beat up the leading actress, threw her into a room, threw her onto a bed. I didn't rape her....But I had to guard a girl that was involved with the German mafia. Something about drug running. We shot that largely in Makati, and I know I played some kind of thug. The stars were two German actors. There was a long period of inactivity afterwards, Bobby got a little bit ill too. Heart attack, or a weak heart, and he had to have an operation. And he kind of disappeared.


Recently Cirio called you in to do a war film, When Eagles Strike.


I did, I think it was three years ago, which was the last picture I did, playing Senator Barnes, I think because of my thinning locks. I got kidnapped by the Abu Saiya, the guys from Mindanao, and I spent a lot of time running through the jungles escaping. And I acted with that very good actor who's Bert Avellana's son, Jo Mari - he was playing the Muslim chieftain who was going to cut my head off. I was kneeling in front of him pleading for my life. We shot that way out in Rizal province. And that was the last picture I did. Again, my connection was largely through Joe Zucchero, my American friend here, who was very much involved with Cirio. I was much more of a restaurateur - you're sitting in one of my restaurants now [Panama Jack Cafe on Makati Avenue]. Joe started off as a professional Hollywood editor and he came out here and made a TV series way back in '67, '68, and was here a long time working in the movie industry. And because of the money pool drying up, he left.


Inside Nigel's Panama Jack Cafe


I remember meeting Ken [Metcalfe] in the late Sixties when I visited Manila, and they were working with George Montgomery. He made about 8-10 pictures [in the Philippines]. I never met Montgomery, that was just before my time - I was in the Philippines in '71 from Vietnam. It was the late Sixties when they made the Montgomery pictures. Joe went on to work with Cirio. I remember Cirio telling me in '73 or '74 when I first worked with him, that he had already done about 70 Tagalog pictures. Of course his dad was the founder of Premiere Productions.


You did voice-overs on Ferde Grofé Jr's war documentaries?


Joe and I brought that film library here and Joe operated it for six or seven years, then we sold it and shipped it back to Seattle about two years ago. I was Joe's partner in that company. I was a financier - didn't make any money. Joe made a living off it for a number of years but then our orders didn't come fast enough to make it work. I lost a little bit of money - not a lot. I did the voice for Battle Of Manila and another documentary about Corregidor [Corregidor: The Rock].


There are still some of those guys who are still around - Henry Strzalkowski, Nick Nicholson...


I've lost touch with a lot of them. Ken died four or five years ago of brain cancer in the States.


And Robert Marius died a few years ago.


God, I haven't thought about Robert Marius in years!


Robert hung himself. Very sad.


I didn't know Robert had stayed in the Philippines. I thought he'd gone back to Germany. Pretty young guy, quite pleasant.


He was in American Commandos too.


There was a working group of us that Cirio or Bobby would just call, 'cause we were available, and we knew more or less what was expected of us. Whenever I acted in a Cirio movie, having done my scene I would turn to Cirio and go, "......?" And he'd go (hand on face) and he'd shake his head and walk away. Which is really good for my confidence. And he said, "The only reason I employ you, Nigel, is that you're cheap." Which I thought was nice...he was a great joker. But it was true! He said, "You're a friend of Joe's, THAT's why I hire you!"


I don't know too much about Dick Adair.


Delightful guy, wonderful artist, sketcher, has been living in Hawaii with his lovely Filipina wife Margot for the last 25 years. When we started Dick was also involved with Joe and Cirio and in the movies, but his wife didn't want to stay in the Philippines. She wanted to leave, so they emigrated to Hawaii. And Dick has been writing, sketching for the Honolulu Post, and Margot is a high school teacher. And I visited Dick in Honolulu about 12 years ago, he then had cancer of the throat, and they took out his thorax or whatever it is [tharynx?], so he has a voicebox. But he's fine. He sends me a Christmas card each year.


The impression I get is that the movie making caper was fun.


It WAS fun. It was our life, you know, and living in the Philippines in those days, you could live on $500-$800 a month, live a perfectly reasonable life as a foreigner here, as an expat, and those movies helped us. I was making money in a restaurant so at least I had some kind of income coming in, but a lot of those guys were full-time movie actors, and they got by. Joe got by making movies here for 25-30 years. And of course, poor Ken who was a very good actor...all gone now. Now you tell me Marius is gone too. Not surprised to hear it, 'cos it's been a lot of years. But I guess I'm one of the last ones still standing here in this country. No great shakes, but still willing to do movies, as long as the dialogue is not too much. I tell the directors, "Make my dialogue less than three lines, then I can remember it." Any more than three, I start to (slaps head), "Hello?" And I lack the confidence now, at my age, being able to give a decent performance physically.


You still have a very Shakespearian voice!


Well I do a lot of commercials, voiceovers. That's my talent, 'cos they don't have to see my face. I have the kind of face they say is "weather-beaten" or "well used by life".


A perfect face for radio?


There you go! Thank you! That is exactly what I've got. But I'm good for playing bad guys in local movies, 'cos they think that's what bad guys look like.


A white goon?


Yep, I'm a white goon. And I can play it well enough that it's halfway believable. I have a Roman nose - roman all over my face!


Life now is obviously a lot different than in the Seventies and Eighties.


It's a lot more expensive to live here. Manila's more polluted, tougher I think to get by. The Filipinos have a very hard time, there's a lot of poor people. It's a more brutal city I think than it was then, simply because of economics. And not being a young man now, obviously, the party's over to a large extent. Or the rather carefree life we used to live. But then again, a lot of guys in late middle age look back and it always looks like days were better in the past. But they forget the bad times.


Tell me about "the party". What was life like off the film set?


Being in the club business at one stage, me and a partner of mine were running seven or eight restaurants, bars, nightclubs. We had a lot of ladies working for us, big hostess clubs. My whole life was night time - I worked nights until 3-5 on the morning. I would sleep most of the day, so I'm a very experienced night crawler. But those days are over, I get to bed by midnight now and get up at 8 in the morning. That's what I mean by the party being over - I can't drink, I can't smoke, I can't chase girls quite like I was once able to. It's still a party town, but I'm completely out of the social scene now. I don't go to other people's bars or restaurants or parties, I just couldn't be bothered. There are so many functions going on inside the expat community - I don't even know the expats. I think some of them remember me from the Seventies and Eighties, even into the Nineties...


Then again I spend time in Tokyo, I have a couple of pubs up in Tokyo. So I spend about a third or a quarter of the year in Japan. Because I'm gone a lot from here, I just don't mix anymore. I don't have the interest to get out and drink and meet people like I used to. I'm sure if I was more social I would get parts in movies here. I don't even know what's being made anymore in the Philippines. If anything, they come so seldom. There was a movie made in Subic recently called Salty about a crocodile, I wasn't even invited for a part. I'm not even called anymore. And again, being in my mid sixties I can only play elderly guys, so that takes out a lot of the action movies. I can't be cast really as a soldier anymore, or as a bodyguard (laughs).


Club owner?


Club owner, I can play. I can play a saloon keeper, a Senator, a drug lord. I can play an uncle, an Ambassador, an elder brother, a father....a grandfather!


Manila seems like it was a Wild West town.


It was! Before Martial Law came in - I got here in '71, and Martial Law was declared at the end of '72 by Marcos - and even during the early days of Martial Law, it really was a really wild and woolly place. Most people carried guns. I almost got shot a few times, being in the bar business. When a guy didn't want to pay a bill he usually pulled a gun out instead. So I had to give away a lot of free food! 'Cos I'm a devout coward. I'd say, "It's on the house." It was a wild, wild city. But I don't think it was any more wild than a lot of other cities. I think every city has a Red Light District.


It's like those guys were living out a movie villain fantasy.


I think I did. I think I saw myself as a Hugh Hefner of the East for a while...that fantasy kept me going for a long time!


I think of Manila as a Dream City, where you're living a dream that's so far removed from...


...the reality of any other place! Absolutely, I agree with that. I spent a lot of time here, way too many years beside a swimming pool. And I swam every day, I lived like a ling. Like a little Lord. And much more that I deserved! I have a business partner who says, "Nigel, for a little boy from some little English country town, you've been laid more times than you should have been." And I agree!