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The Glory and the Glamour: Reminiscing the Golden Years of Philippine Cinema

20 March 2020

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The Glory and the Glamour: Reminiscing the Golden Years of Philippine Cinema

Philippine movies have never been so vividly defined by Hollywood glamour than in the fifties. It was an era when stars dressed the part, on and off the screen, and when a good reputation was golden, on which plum roles and prime billing depended.

Before you are heard, you are first seen: this was the unwritten rule of the day, according to the late veteran actor Leopoldo Salcedo. Cut in the mould of Cary Grant, Salcedo said that they had to always talk, dress, and conduct themselves like the glamorous figures that the public expected them to be. Rosa Rosal, who behaved and dressed in the grand Hollywood tradition, said that their production company required them to look their glamorous best all the time and gave them allowances or salary advances so they could buy new gowns.

A contract star of LVN Pictures, Delia Razon said they were always invited to formal parties at the Manila Hotel or on the huge grounds of the studio. Some occasions called for costumes, some for Filipino dress. “Once, [then] Prince Norodum Sihanouk [King of Cambodia, until his abdication in 2004] came to present Lilia Dizon her Best Actress Award at the Asian Pacific Film Festival. On that occasion, it was I who greeted the prince and put a lei around his neck. Doña Sisang [de Leon, owner of LVN] often assigned Rosa [Rosal] and me to greet guests,” Razon said.

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Image credit: Sampaguita Pictures

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