I thought I’d share a couple more of my favorite classics from Toho studios, just ’cause posting some Gojira stuff last time was so fun! I particularly enjoy how the English-speaking American actors’ lines are not dubbed into Japanese – it makes their dialogue stand out like a sore thumb.
First, leave it to Toho to take classic literature and drip goofy all over it. In the following celluloid marvel, the heart of Frankenstein’s Monster is taken from Germany to Japan in the last days of the Second World War. In a demonstration of supremely bad timing, the heart is delivered to a laboratory in Hiroshima… I’m sure you can guess the rest.
Frankenstein’s Monster, or as he is known in Japan, Furankenshutain, regenerates completely from the heart tissue, and to the surprise of everyone in the film but nobody watching the film, grows to gigantic size and takes on a monster named Baragon. Why, you ask? Well, what else does he have to do?
Starring once again the American ‘star’ Nick Adams, I bring you, for your edification, Frankenstein Conquers the World (1965):
But wait! There’s more! Skin cells from the monster somehow grow into two new kaiju, The evil, green, ocean-dwelling, people-eating (who doesn’t love Japanese?) Gaira, and the friendly, brown, land-dwelling, presumably vegetarian Sanda. The brothers, as most brothers do, have differences. Unlike most brothers, however, they tend to trample forests and cities when they tussle. Oddly, in the original Japanese, both monsters are referred to as ‘Frankensteins’, a quirk excised in the English dubbing.
Ladies and creatures, starring West Side Story‘s Russ Tamblyn, (and, you will notice, the same Japanese actress, Kumi Mizuno!) here is War of the Gargantuas (1966):
In this bonus clip, included purely because this is one of my all-time Saturday afternoon childhood matinee favorites, Gaira decides to partake of some airport food…
I suppose if my food wore clothing, I’d probably spit it out, too.
This one makes me ask a couple of questions:
At the point the giant monster begins destroying the airport, is it really necessary to encourage people to evacuate? I think they’d pretty much come to that conclusion independently.
Are there usually geishas at the Tokyo airport?
Why does Gaira hate the sun so much? To be fair, this is the case throughout the film, and probably helps to explain why the monster-on-monster action (ew!) takes place mostly at night.
Thanks for reading, that’s all for now, but never for good!