By Ronald Constantino
LESSONS IN – This columnist was told that young people, even young movie writers, have little idea who reigned as queens in the movies through the years. And so Highspeed is writing about movie queens of the decades past. Some kind of “lessons in cinema history.”
So students, listen!
CARMEN & ROSA – Generally conceded as movie queens of the ‘40s were Carmen Rosales and Rosa del Rosario. Carmen was more durable as she stayed in showbiz until the mid-‘60s, her last film being Sampaguita’s “Gintong Recuerdo.” Rose bowed out of the movies in the early ‘50s with Lebran’s “May Karapatang Isilang” (Spanish version “El Derecho de Nacer”). She migrated to California.
Rose was the original “Darna,” the Mars Ravelo superwoman, now being played on the big screen by Liza Soberano.
Carmen won FAMAS best actress award for “Inspirasiyon.”
While both Carmen and Rose freelanced, Carmen was identified with Sampaguita and Rosa with premiere. Rogelio de la Rosa was Carmen’s constant leading man, while Leopoldo Salcedo was Rosa’s.
The two actresses were American mestizas, Carmen (Januaria Keller offcam) and Rosa (Rose Stagner).
In the early ‘80s, Carmen and Rosa and other “Screen Immortals” received the Walang Kupas Award. Rose flew all the way from California to personally receive the trophy. Carmen was no show as at that time she was virtually a recluse.
Lino Brocka, a big fan of Rose, wanted to direct a comeback film for her, but it didn’t push through as the political situation was already volatile. In a few years, Marcos was ousted and Tita Cory took over the government.
By the way, the late Manny Fernandez wrote a bio-tribute to Carmen titled “Ang Tangi Kong Pag-ibig,” published by Danny Dolor. Manny , a dear friend of this columnist, was an ardent friend and follower of Carmen.
OTHER BIG STARS – This is not to say that there were no big stars in the ‘40s and even earlier. There were other popular actresses.
Highspeed names some of them: Rosario Moreno, Elsa Oria, Norma Blancaflor, Lucita Goyena, Rosita Rivera, Mila del Sol, Mona Lisa, Paraluman, Tita Duran, Anita Linda, Rebecca Gonzales, Arsenia Francisco, Leila Morena, Lilian Leonardo.