Latitude Zero is a 1969 Toho film called 緯度0大作戦 Ido zero daisakusen. It was directed by Ishirō Honda with music by Akira Ifukube. Special effects were by Eiji Tsuburaya who would pass away, shortly after the film was made, at age 69. The story was written by Ted Sherdeman and his script is based on his 1941 radio serial Latitude Zero. Ted wrote the 1954 giant ant movie Them! and several other movies I haven't seen. He wrote plenty of episodes for TV, shows that I might actually have seen, like Wagon Train, Hazel and The Flying Nun. There was additional dialog by Warren Lewis and Shinichi Sekizawa. It was a co-production between Toho and National General Pictures of the US. It was shot in Japan and in English. The Japanese actors have to speak English the best they could and they don't get too many lines. The Japanese version is the dubbed one this time. The US version is 16 minutes longer than the 89 minute Japanese version. Both versions are in the 2 disc Tokyo Shock dvd set which seems to be out of print already. There is a third dvd stuck in the package. It's got a bunch of trailers for movies that Tokyo Shock has out.
Joseph Cotten, Cesar Romero, Akira Takarada, Masumi Okada, Richard Jaeckel, Patricia Medina, and Akihiko Hirata are the main characters. Richard, Akira and Masumi are in a bathysphere doing research on ocean currents when an undersea volcano causes their tether to snap. They are rescued by Joseph Cotton, who like Captain Nemo before him, has a fancy ass submarine and a secret undersea base. He's been collecting scientists of the world to create a thinking man's utopia. Turns out Joseph is 204 years old and his mortal enemy Cesar Romero is a year younger. They've been battling for over a century. Cesar has his own secret base where he experiments on things like grafting eagle wings onto lions and creating human size rats and bat men. He's a real dick but Patricia likes him until he stabs her to death accidentally near the end of the movie. In real life Patricia was married to Joseph Cotten at the time the movie was made.
Cesar steals a scientist and his daughter, that's them with the bat men, and takes them to his base at Blood Rock. Cesar wants the doctor's immunization formula and he'll torture them for it. As a reward for failing Caser puts the brain of his submarine's captain into the flying lion. All she wanted to do was serve him and get a bit of a jump now and then; now she's a flying lion. When she gets the chance she destroys Cesar and his sub. There's plenty of story between the opening scenes and the end of the movie and it ends with the good guys pretty much ok. Akira and Masumi decide to stay at Latitude Zero with Joseph and that hot doctor lady played by Linda Haynes. Richard heads back to the outside world. No one believes him of course, his pictures are all ruined, but someone deposited a bunch of diamonds in his bamk so he'll be ok. I would have stayed. I've been in the outside world and it sure can suck. It's not a great movie but this mix of western and eastern film making proves to be fairly entertaining. I give it higher points for being quite goofy. The ships, props, serts and costumes are all great and/or silly. They had a larger budget than some of the other Japanese monster movies of the time and it shows. It's worth a look but it might be harder than usual to see it. That's the movie biz.
My second feature this morning is the 1970 Toho production Gezora, Ganime, Kamoeba: Decisive Battle! Giant Monsters of the South Seas ゲゾラ・ガニメ・カメーバ 決戦! 南海の大怪獣 Gezora Ganime Kameba Kessen! Nankai no Kaijuu. It's called Space Amoeba on the Tokyo Shock dvd that's out in the US where it's also known as Yog: Monster From Space. It's directed by Ishiro Honda and has music by Akira Ifukube. A space probe gets a sparkly blue space critter on it and the thing directs the ship back to earth. There it takes over a cuttle fish which grows to enormous size. It can attack ships, it's that big. It attacks an island and the people there fight back. They burn it and drive it into the sea where it dies. The space blob isn't done though and it takes over a rock crab and grows really large fairly quickly. The people it attacks lure it into a pit and blow it up. The space amoeba escapes once again and this time takes over two more monsters. The humans notice the creature is sensative to sound waves and they break the space amoeba's control long enough to kill them by triggering a volcano. Even with all that it's not one of my favorites. It's totally watchable but there are more fun ones. Everything is a repeat of what you'd seen in dozens of other movies from the same place. More for the fan of the giant monster flic.