Tuesday, October 7, 2008

38 years ago tomorrow ...

On October 8, 1970, at Dongtan Beach, Jomtien, Pattaya, movie star Mitr Chaibancha was filming the final stunt for his latest film, Golden Eagle (Insee Thong).

He grabbed onto the rope ladder of a helicopter, and was borne off into the sunset, with the aircraft climbing higher and higher as the action star dangled. He lost his grip and fell to the ground.

He was 36 years old. Thailand's most iconic star, he starred in a staggering 266 movies from 1956 to 1970, many of them with his doe-eyed onscreen sweetheart Petchara Chaowarat. There's a shrine to Mitr in Jomtien.

Commemorating the 38th anniversary of the pompadoured action hero's death, Mitr will be remembered in several events in the coming weeks, with screenings of his movies and a charity concert.

The National Film Archive in Nakhon Pathom is organizing an event tomorrow at its Sri Salaya Theatre. It will also hold a series of screenings throughout the month.

Tomorrow, there will be a discussion with Mitr's co-stars, including Wassana Chalakorn and Yaowaret Nisakorn. A selection of the films in which Mitr starred, mostly with his on-screen sweetheart Petchara Chaowarat, will also be screened. Mitr’s biography, written by Inkhasak, will also be launched.

The films Nang Nok Pa and Wang Phrai will be shown. On Saturday, it'll be Om Ok Din; Rungthip on October 19 and Banthuek Rak Pimchawee on October 25.

All programs start at 1pm. For more information, call (02) 940-3855-6 ext 35 or (086) 384 5161, or see the Thai Film Foundation forum.

On November 9, there will be the "38 years of Mitr Chaibancha Charity Concert" at Siam Niramit Theatre.

Hosted by the Mitr’s Lovers Club, performers include Aranya Namwong, Umaporn Buaphueng and Surachai Sombatcharoen with his son Suthep's Junior Band. Rising star Korakan "Arm" Sutthikoset will cover "Yard Petch" from the classic musical Ngern Ngern Ngern (Money, Money, Money), which starred Mitr and Petchara.

Proceeds will benefit the National Film Archive. Tickets cost Bt2,500 at Thaiticketmajor.

(Photo via Samakkhi.ac.th; info via News.TourThailand.org and Daily Xpress, September 29, Page 7; cross-published at Bangkok Cinema Scene/The Nation Weblog)


  1. Hello Wise Kwai,

    I just thought I'd mention I wrote a short piece on a documentary film about Mitr Chaibancha on my blog today and used a quotation from your above article. Hope you don't mind.


    Jack J

  2. Thanks. I appreciate it.

    And I'm sure Rikker appreciates the link to Thai 101 as well.

    That's a nicely assembled documentary on Mitr.

    I'll try that link your blog again. I had trouble reaching the one you supplied. Not sure why.


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