1937 witnessed the founding of a local film production company named after the country’s National Flower.
In 1938, Sampaguita Pictures exhibited its maiden offering to the public starring Elsa Oria and burgeoning matinee idol Rogelio dela Rosa. The film titled Bituing Marikit became a box-office success, giving the fledgling production outfit its first instant hit during the period referred to as the formative years of Philippine Cinema.
Bituing Marikit’s commercial success encouraged Sampaguita Pictures to churn out film projects in quick succession. By the time the company formally closed in 1982, Sampaguita Pictures has produced hundreds of films covering interesting eras in our history.
With the local film industry at present being given up for dead by critics, the importance and significance of past movies continue to elicit interest from both old and new generations.
One of the personalities constantly sought by students on the subject is German "Kuya Germs" Moreno—a former janitor-turned-stage actor who was also part of Sampaguita Pictures during its dominant years.
That’s why the offer tendered by Q Channel 11 for Moreno to host a program revisiting classic films funded by the long defunct production company came as a welcome surprise.
Kuya Germs (German’s showbiz monicker) described Pinoy Cine Klasika as more than just a program exhibiting well-loved black and white ’60s flicks. To make the show even more interesting, he will insert important trivia, information, and back stories about each featured film.
"Maybe ’yong iba pagtatawanan nila, maybe ’yong iba maiiyak din sila and maybe ’yong iba comparing the movies before saka ngayon, e, merong mga istorya na kung ikukumpara mo ngayon ibang-iba at papaano umarte ’yong mga artista, kung papaano ’yong kagandahan ng mga artista noon. Talagang marami silang matututunan at hindi nila pagsisisihan," Kuya Germs told PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal).
He added, "Kagulat-gulat na maraming nagpupunta na estudyante sa akin asking about these. So anong iisipin mo? May interes sila dahil hindi naman nila pag-aaksayahan ng panahon na puntahan ako para tanungin tungkol sa mga bagay na ’yan."
Pinoy Cine Klasika will debut on Easter Sunday (April 4) featuring Dance-O-Rama starring Susan Roces, Jose Mari Gonzales, Rosemarie Sonora, Pepito Rodriguez, and Dindo Fernando.
Succeeding films to be shown are Bituing Marikit (April 11), Rosemarie Sonora, Pepito Rodriguez and German Moreno’s Bahay Kubo Kahit Munti (April 18), and the Dolphy, Panchito, Susan Roces, and Jose Mari Gonzalez’s starrer, Beatnik (April 25).
Rekindle Philippine Cinema at its best with Pinoy Cine Klasika on Q Channel 11 every Sunday at 2:00 p.m.