[Philippines release date 7th March 1964, original title "Intramuros"]
Directors Gerardo de Leon, Eddie Romero Writers Cesar Amigo, Ferde Grofé Jr, “E.F.”/Eddie Romero Producer Eddie Romero Executive Producer Kane W. Lynn Music Tito Arevalo Cinematography Felipe Sacdalan
The Walls Of Hell is set in the final stages of the Battle of Manila, and filmed where it happened - behind the actual walled city of
The Walls Of Hell is initially framed through the eyes of a visiting journalist intent on capturing the true spirit of
The focus changes with the appearance of Nardo, a guerrilla from inside
At first he’s suspected to be a spy working for the Japanese, but shows the soldiers a passageway to get in to – and for civilians get out of – Intramuros. The three hundred year old catacombs, now eerie smoke-shrouded sewers, are lit in a dramatic way to resemble the corridors of Hell. In fact the entire film appears to shake; the soundtrack of sparingly-used military snare over a ceaseless artillery barrage lends a very real sense of doom, as do the wobbling cameras and ever-present smoke and fires. Director Eddie Romero once said he WISHED Filipino filmmakers could work with a B-Grade budget, and I’m sure the film is much smaller than he would have liked, but by telescoping the action to tight, claustrophobic locations, the parts add together to make a vivid whole.
The Walls Of Hell lists two directors, both enshrined as National Artists of the Philippines, and marks a truly successful collaboration between the two directors: Eddie Romero, primarily a screenwriter before moving into directing, concentrates on the actors and the unfolding drama, while the older Gerardo de Leon is more interested in frame composition and the film’s gorgeous black and white aesthetics. Ferde Grofe Jr took time off from working on George Montgomery’s tropical action films to contribute to the script which was filmed simultaneously, as Romero often did under his “Filipinas Productions” banner, as a Tagalog-language version called Intramuros. Naturally in the
It’s a gung-ho war film Filipino style by a primarily local cast and crew and with added, rather creepy sense of history by filming on the actual locations. I’m sure the Ghosts of Manila are watching as we fearlessly scale The Walls Of Hell.