I'm back to watching all the Toho monster and SF movies that I didn't get to when I was on that Godzilla binge some time ago. I was so drunk on the big G that I forgot when it was. Luckily I have a blog, and a spreadsheet, to keep track of my memory. Now if only I wasn't too lazy to open that file. I have the Classic Media version of Rodan which comes in a two pack with War Of The Gargantuas. They both come with Japanese and US versions. I also have a Video Dakaiju fansub vhs tape that I copied to a DVDR. It looks pretty poor compared to the CM dvd but I'm keeping it for the different translation.
Sora no Daikaijū Radon 空の大怪獣 ラドン or Radon, Giant Monster From The Sky came out in December 1956 and it not only introduced a new monster to the kaiju scene but it did it in color for the first time. There's no Godzilla but don't worry the two will tear up some scenery later. In the US the movie was called Rodan! The Flying Monster when the King Brothers first released it in August of 1957, later it was shortened to Rodan! It was directed by Ishirô Honda who directed some of the better kaiju movies. The special effects are done by Eiji Tsuburaya, a guy who did some of the better Japanese monster film effects. The Japanese version runs about 82 minutes and the US version runs 72-74 minutes.
The beginning of the movie has become my favorite part of the film. I enjoy the day to day of the miners going down into the coal mine near their small village. A couple of men get into a fight starting their shift. The fight gets broken up, they get yelled at and sent off to work. Everything goes along well and then there's a call to the office. One of the shafts is flooded and two men are missing. Shigeru, an engineer, goes down the tunnel with a couple of other men. They find one of the men, dead, floating in the black water. First they think it was murder. The dead man was one of the two guys fighting that morning. His opponent is missing and believed to be in the tunnel. They bring the body out and that creates quite the hub bub amongst the villagers. That evening a small monster appears and there's a lot of running around and gun shooting. More of the creatures appear and people are killed. Scientists, press and police all show up. The little critters are identified as some sort of prehistoric bug. Shigeru gets trapped in the mine and finds a giant egg. Rodan pops out and Shigeru escapes but looses his memory. He's found, all confused. Before he can regain his memory, and warn people about the giant monster, Rodan makes his appearance. The city is attacked by Rodan who is joined by a second creature. Both escape but the military find them on Mount Aso. The militay bombs a volcano into existence. The eruption catches one beast and knocks it into the fiery lava. The other tries to escape, but weakened, it gives up and falls into the lava with the first one. The humans watch as the creatures burn, shrieking and twisting in the molten material. The military are all business but the scientists and miners are sort of sad. I understand. It is kind of sad watching them die like that but there is little room for monsters on the earth. Especially people eatin' monsters. Sometimes it's hard being a monster and I can't help rooting for them. I wouldn't like them so much if they were real.
Here are a few tall posters.
Here's the trailer.
Here are some lobby cards.
A movie well worth a look, even for those less inclined to watch a monster movie. The earliest batch of Toho movies are some of the better ones but I might be biased. I enjoy it as much as my favorite Godzilla films. I enjoy the production and the characters. It moves along fairly briskly and it's nice and short.
The Japanese title of The Mysterians is Chikyū Bōeigun 地球防衛軍 or literally Earth Defense Force. It's a 1957 film which Americans saw in 1959. It's directed byIshirô Honda and the special effects are done by Eiji Tsuburaya. While it doesn't have any kaiju monsters in it there's a giant robot which is the handy work of some invading aliens. Those pesky space visitors would become a recurring theme at Toho as they continued to make Science Fiction films over the years. People seem to like 'em. I know I do. That's the Tokyo Shock dvd that came out in 2005. It has a nice print with a Japanese language audio track and a new English audio track. It doesn't have the original US dub version because Toho doesn't own that anymore. I also have a Video DaKaiju VHS tape bootleg that I transfered to DVDR a while back. It doesn't look that great but like Rodan it has different subtitles.
The aliens come from the now gone 5th planet in our solar system. One earth scientist calls it Mysteroid. When it was destroyed a long time ago, some of the inhabitents escaped to live on Mars. They are having fertility problems and some of their citizens are born deformed. They need some gals to help build back their race. They aren't satisfied to pick up some local ladies at a bar like any other traveller, no, they want some specific gals and they have already kidnapped three of them. What dicks, huh. That causes a stink. The aliens have a giant robot that they use to trash some buildings and stuff to show how tough their science is. They don't expect their request to be ignored. Sadly they don't get their way. The earth men fight back, over and over, until the enemy is defeated.
I find most of the movie entertaining and occasionally kind of exciting. There are a lot of characters and they all have some bit of story. There are explosions and buildings get shredded. The battle scenes in the last half of the movie go on a bit long at times. The costumes and the sets of the invaders are pretty colorful, very manga influenced. The giant Moguera robot is kind of cool in a clunky retro way. The aliens have style, it's just goofy style. I picked up this dvd a little while after it came out and I've watched it a few times. I'm sure I'll watch it a few more times. There's a sequel called Battle In Outer Space which I'll get to in a couple of weeks. I'm going through these chronologically which I haven't done before.