Original film title in Malay: Taufan
Literal English translation of film title: Typhoon
Directed by T. C. Santos (Teodorico C. Santos)
Written by B. H. Chua (Chua Boon Hean) (original story)
Starring: Ahmad Mahmud, Zaiton, Salleh Kamil, Mariani
Produced by Malay Film Productions (Shaw Bros.)
Kampong Tanjong Kling?
WE HAD EARLIER WRITTEN ABOUT the Shaw Brothers’ recruitment of a new batch of directors from Philippines in our review of Kembali Saorang – directed by Ramon Estella, a Filipino expatriate director who would stay on in Singapore to make films until the mid-1960s. The Filipino director of the film being reviewed here, Teodorico C. Santos, only made one movie for the Shaw Brothers instead. His sole contribution and engagement with Malay cinema was Taufan (‘Typhoon’; the working title was Ribut di-Pulau Mutiara or ‘A Storm on Pearl Island’). The script is based on a story written by Chua Boon Hean 蔡文玄 that revolves around the toiling lives of fishermen in a kampong by the coast. When a typhoon wreaks havoc in the seas, it will cause a depletion of fishes and a loss of livelihood for the villagers. Some kampong folks thus raise the risky idea of diving for precious pearls in the surrounding waters. The village shop proprietor and moneylender Hamid (Salleh Kamil) exploits the fishermen’s predicament, and forces Fatimah (Zaiton) to marry him if her sickly father cannot repay his loans. To counter Hamid’s unscrupulous plans, Fatimah’s fiancée Amir (Ahmad Mahmud) takes the risk and embarks on a pearl-diving trip.
Taufan was shot almost entirely on location, and we had compared the scenes in the film to Ramon Estella’s Kembali Saorang, which was made and released a few months earlier in the same year. We came to the conclusion that the fishing kampong depicted in the film might in reality be Kampong Tanjong Kling at Jurong, where Kembali Saorang was also presumably shot. We could understand why this was so. It was definitely more productive to have filming completed in one location for multiple movies. In Kampong Tanjong Kling’s case, after Kembali Saorang, the fishing village and its environs also likely provided the setting for outdoor village shots in P. Ramlee’s Bujang Lapok, and Teodorico Santos’ Taufan. The first narrative feature ever to have been shot at Tanjong Kling, however, was the Rank Organisation film A Town Like Alice (1956).
Read more about Kampong Tanjong Kling in our location review of Kembali Saorang.
1. ‘He will help direct Malay film here’. The Straits Times. 8 August 1957, p. 5.
2. ‘Sutradara bangsa Filipina terkemuka berada disini untok buat film Melayu’. Berita Harian. 23 August 1957, p. 6.
3. ‘Suatu kesah mengenai penderitaan nelaya: Cherita ‘Taufan’’. Berita Harian. 3 January 1958, p .7.
4. Jurong. Singapore Infopedia. National Library Board, 2004.
© 1957 Malay Film Productions
Digital Map Source:
Great Britain. Ordnance Survey, Singapore Island, National Library of Australia, MAP G8040 1941. [http://nla.gov.au/nla.map-vn1900708]
© 2014 Toh Hun Ping