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Monday, September 20, 2010


The bomba or soft-core porno film established itself as a definite genre in the early 70s, after the tremendous box-office success of the movie Uhaw, 1970, starring the original bomba star Merle Fernandez which used a melodramatic framework for its ten explicit sex scenes.

"The URIAN Anthology 1970-1977"

Uhaw, a money-raker, is nothing but a disgusting piece of pornography. An impotent husband (Lito Legaspi), his sex-starved bride (Merle Fernandez), and a most accommodating male friend (Tito Galla) make the love triangle, propped up with ten sex scenes. In the end, the husband is killed in an accident, the guilt-ridden adulteress who attempts suicide survives, and her lover waits for her in the hospital. Between start and finish are generous opportunities for the cast to exhibit their skills in histrionic acting and in the realization of sexual bliss.

Lead stars Merle Fernandez and Lito Legaspi from the movie "Uhaw"
(photo source: The URIAN Anthology 1990-1999)

There is nothing redeemable in the movie, for two reasons: 1) characterization, the basis for drama in film, is zero (we never get to know who the characters are as people, and how they relate emotionally to each other in the triangle); and 2) the movie is obviously a “quickie” which has neither script nor direction in some scenes; the canned music stops abruptly; the dialogues are fit for radio drama, not film, and overacting mars the actors’ performances.

huge commercial success is not gauge at all that it is a good film. One despairs over the audience’s inability to distinguish between quality movies and bad movies. To be blamed in this case is producer-director Ruben Abalos who hits the right formula for success--- sex. The audience, most of them already thirsty for this fare, laps it all up.

---More on the article, click images above---

Article source: “Uhaw: Unang Bomba” by Clodualdo del Mundo, Jr., originally published in Pilipino Reporter, November 10, 1970/ compiled in the book, The URIAN Anthology 1970-1979


TheCoolCanadian said...

Ouch! I posted a long message but it got deleted? What the heck? Maybe Blogger does not want long comments? He-he.

Anyway, here's my comment about UHAW (thank God I found it when I clicked back).


Uhaw – nothing but pornography?

No, no, no. I beg to disagree.

This breakthrough film by Ruben Abalos may be tethering on pornography, but its theme is quite universal, timely, and thought-provoking. Dealing with erectile dysfunction is no joke, nor it is easy to grapple with one’s nymphomania. The depiction of sex in this film (though absolutely titilating and bigger than life – like the scene where the joined sticky saliva of Merle Fernandez and Tito Gala appears like a skipping rope hanging from their mouths) is rather “Frenchy” in approach. Let me expand that by saying that I find this film quite "French New Wave"-ish in many aspects. I will not enumerate here the reasons, but many things I find in this film that are quite intriguing and powerfully evocative.

Just for fun: Let’s imagine for a while Merle Fernandez as Jeanne Moreau; Tito Galla, Jean Paul Belmondo; and Lito Legaspi, Alain Delon. Let’s also close our eyes for a second and imagine Director Abalos as Jean Luc Goddard. Dub the film in French, and voila! Uhaw – would definitely look like a French film. It would have been a smash hit at the Cannes Film fest or even bigger – at the Toronto Film festival, the biggest film fest in the world.

In 1970, you seldom hear anyone talk about ED (erectile dysfunction), but these days, everybody’s talking about it on TV, parties, and what-have-you. Why? Because this problem is quite widespread, but was swept under the rug for so long. Therefore, people who were suffering from this malady had talked about it in whispers only to avoid the stigma attached to it.

Uhaw dared to tell us about this problem. And that alone is enough reason to watch this film. Labeling this film as mere pornography is lopsided, even mean-spirited.

Without UHAW, who knows? Maybe the Filipino films would have been stuck, caught in a time warp – similar to BOLLYWOOD where the equivalent of a bed scene is watching a man and a woman running around while singing and dancing.

For people who are struggling with serious sexual problems, this film serves as an eye-opener, maybe even as an open sesame to therapies available to help them; and for the Filipino film industry, it was a liberation, a coming of age of some sort. I would even dare say that Uhaw paved the way to liberating the unconscious for breakthrough insights that the current Filipino films are tackling openly.

It would be fun to see this film on the big screen again. I must confess that I watched it when I was 12 years old in the Bicol region in 1972. And nope, I haven’t turned into a sex maniac so far. And I’m 50 now! He-he.

Video 48 said...

Nice to hear from you again, JM! What kept you busy? Thank you for your bold observations and assessments and I agree what you said.

gerard.lico@gmail.com said...

Is Uhaw still extant?

Bruno said...

I wanna watch this damn movie.

Anonymous said...

is there any existing copy of this movie? please let me know coz' i want to have one, thnaks

wayne moises said...

Classic 1970 adult oriented film vased from the novel by Clodualdo del Mundo from the comicbook story turned into a live action film starring Nerle Fernandez in "Uhaw"/"Thirst" classic film from the Philippines. Thanks for the information. From:Wayne

wayne moises said...

Do you have on Youtube & El Vibora Channel on the website soon. Thanks! From:Wayne

wayne moises said...

I want to request the classic Filipino films like Uhaw & other lost classics from the 1970's Philippine movies. Thanks for the information.From:Wayne

wayne moises said...

I am the big fan of Filipino films television & media from the Philippines. Thanks!

wayne moises said...

I love classic Filipino movies when I was six years old at the time in the Philippines my favorites like action/adventure comedy kids/teen scifi/fantasy horror/suspense/mystery western military/war historical epic & more soon on Youtube & Dailymotion in 9-25-2015.Thanks for the information. From:Wayne


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