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HOMECOMING FOR SUSAN
By George C. Alvarez
"She returns to home studio for romantic opus opposite Eddie Gutierrez".
"IT'S REALLY wonderful to be back. There's no place like home." Thus did Susan Roces say when she recently returned to the folds of her former mother studio to star in Portrait Of My Love.
Home for the thrice-crowned Queen of Philippine Movies is Sampaguita Studios. It was in the Valencia movie lot where she had her start in the celluloid world nine years ago. It was also here where she was laboriously and lovingly nurtured to her present enviable stature.
A mere movie fan when she was discovered in 1956 by the studio's big boss, Doc Perez, Susan hesitated at first when she was offered to appear in movies. Thinking it over, however, and getting the reluctant consent of her family and relatives after conferring with them, Susan inked her signature to a long-term contract with Sampaguita.
Ballyhooed as "the face that refreshes," Susan created only a slight sizzle when she began her acetate career. The movie queens of her studio -- and the nation's -- then were Gloria Romero and Amalia Fuentes (the latter was to prove to be her closest and sturdiest rival).
It was only when Gloria got hitched to Juancho Gutierrez and Amalia bolted from Sampaguita ranks that Susan got firm hold of her studio's crown. Starring in almost all of the major productions of Sampaguita and its twin movie company, Vera-Perez Productions, Susan blazed her way to the heights of movie popularity alongside Amalia.
Susan was placed on equal footing with her chief rival when she also joined the freelanching ranks following the expiration of her contract with Sampaguita. Before stepping out of her studio's roster, however, Susan this year still made three pictures with Sampaguita. These were Hamon Sa Kampeon, a musical comedy which was partly shot in color and in which she was paired with Eddie Gutierrez; Mga Reynang Engkantada, a whimsical fantasy wherein she starred with her kid sister Rosemarie; and Ang Maganda Kong Kapitbahay, a slapstick comedy which reteamed her with her perrenial love interest, Eddie Gutierrez.
First Freelanching Pic
Although Fernando Poe, Jr.'s first teaming up with Susan, Ang Daigdig Ko'y Ikaw was bruited about as her first freelance film, actually it was Pag-ibig, Ikaw Ang Maysala which was her maiden bow as a freelancer. This latter picture was produced by Pepito Vera Perez under the aegis of his own production firm, United Brothers. A moneymaker, the dramatic picture paved the way for Susan's successful freelancing.
Following the footsteps of the highly successful Ang Daigdig Ko'y Ikaw, Susan made five movies in an equal number of months. All blockbusters, these films were LEA's Bayan Ko, Lumaban Ka!; Ambassador's Ana-Roberta; Jafere's Dandansoy; GM's Romansa Sa World's Fair, and FPJ's Pilipinas Kong Mahal.
Regarding freelancing, with a witty mind, Susan says of it: "Freelancing has given me more freedom to move around. While the competition among freelancers is keener, at least for me, it spurs me to work harder and strive for more. Competition has made me strive to be a better actress."
Susan likewise confesses that in the freelancing field, she has found more friends and encountered new experiences. This, according to her, has given her a more wellrounded personality.
"And yet," Susan says, "Anyone sway from home gets homesick even if he enjoys his life outside. There's nothing like home sweet home, you know, specially when there is love, respect, and companionship in the house."
Susan's homecoming picture at Sampaguita, Portrait Of My Love, teams her anew with Eddie Gutierrez, with whom she has been romantically linked on and off cameras. Sampaguita's 29th anniversary presentation which is scheduled to be shown during the Yuletide season, Portrait will be filmed partly in Eastman color. It will be directed by Luciano B. Carlos who helmed the top moneymaker of 1964, Eddie Loves Susie, Susan Roces-Eddie Gutierrez starrer.
More Pics For Susan
Susan is also scheduled to make Buhay Sa Buhay, her first team-up with Joseph Estrada for the latter's own film company, Emar Pictures. The movie firm's first anniversary presentation, the color production stars Joseph as an escaped convict and Susan as his hostage.
In the story, sentenced to jail for slaying his father's murderer, Joseph escapes during a field trip after the prisoners' van meets with an accident that kills lall the convicts except Joseph. A lone guard played by Gabriel Paile also survives the accident, and through him, Joseph's prey and his four sons learn of his survival and soon set out to kill him.
For his hostage, Joseph snatches Susan who is soon to be wed to one of his enemies. He chains her to him so that she won't escape while he himself makes his dash to freedom. He treats her with respect and admiration and subsequently falls in love with her.
Right after Sampaguita's Portrait Of My Love and Emar's Buhay Sa Buhay, Susan will plunge into other stints with other companies. One of her next assignments is GM's Christmas offering which will be shot in Eastman color on location in several Oriental countries including Tokyo. Eddie Fernandez will be her leading man.
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Source: The Weekly Nation
November 29, 1965