Genghis Khan is an epic about a foreigner with the peculiarly Filipino spirit of the bayanihan. It aspires simply to entertain and does not pretend to perpetuate any intellectual discussion on heroism and history. It concentrates on his youth, Genghis Khan as the plain Temujin before becoming the Great One. It is a dramatization of one of Conde's favorite themes, the rise to manhood which demands alertness, stamina and wit. His hero prefers brains to brawn. In a contest, he rolls a huge rock with carefully laid out sticks rather than strain his muscles by pushing it. He tattoos a map on the head of his follower so that it is concealed from his enemies. There are a few fantastic elements. He ingeniously devices a super-bow to shoot a long spear through four clumsy soldiers. One, however, marvels at the invention rather than balk at the incredibleness. There are some shortcomings such as Genghis Khan falling off a cliff to soft grass, but these are minor amidst many successes. Genghis Khan solidifies Manuel Conde's position as one of the country's finest filmmakers. His actions move toward Filipino slapstick but they are always informed with an unimposing profundity. He stands as an important cinema figure for his camera placements reveal a deep feeling for texture and movement. Manuel Conde's direction is richly assisted by Carlos Francisco's astounding set design. He does not fill the set with bric-a-brac, but uses only a few props to highlight an emotion, to bring out the inherent splendor. His production design is never glossy. Francisco combines both rags and riches to evoke a Genghis Khan whose majestic bearings are tribal in origin. There is an air of impoverished grandeur that surrounds the production. One must not forget the superb camerawork of Emmanuel Rojas, the most important black and white cinematographer of his time whose credits include Gerardo de Leon's Noli Me Tangere (1961). Genghis Khan is a testimony to three major artists of Philippine cinema and to an international figure whose contributions helped in its success.
Directed By: Manuel Conde (Under the name of Lou Salvador)
Screenplay: Manuel Conde And Carlos V. Francisco
Photographed By: Emmanuel Rojas
Music By: Juan Silos, Jr.
Edited By: Fred Buensuceso (Re-edited by Ray Heinz with narration written by James Agee and read by John Storm for the Pacific Film Association for foreign film distribution)
Production Design By: Carlos V. Francisco
Produced By: Manuel Conde Productions
Release Date: November 7, 1950
Addiitional information on Genghis Khan from The Cinema Of Manuel Conde by Nicanor G. Tiongson
© 2008 University of Santo Tomas Publishing House