Professor Nishiyama, after studying and interpreting the prophecies of Nostradamus, realizes that the end of the world is at hand. Unfortunately, nobody listens to him until it is too late.... See full summary »
Professor Nishiyama, after studying and interpreting the prophecies of Nostradamus, realizes that the end of the world is at hand. Unfortunately, nobody listens to him until it is too late. As the effects of mankind's tampering of the earth - radioactive smog clouds, hideously mutated animals, destruction of the ozone layer - rage out of control, the world leaders hurtle blindly toward the final confrontation. Written by
Jean-Marc Rocher <firstname.lastname@example.org>
During the film's initial release, scenes (including the notorious climactic mutant scene and the cannibal attack in New Huinea) received hard criticism, so Toho ended up selling a cut version to overseas markets. The film showed up once on Japanese TV in early 1980 before being pulled from circulation altogether. Toho also tried to release the film to VHS and laserdisc in the late 1980s, but the release was canceled (although an employee released a print to the black market.) The film is not banned, as is often reported - Toho simply appears to be afraid of releasing it in Japan because of the offensive nature of several key scenes. Apparently the film is for sale to U.S. distributors for DVD release. It seems unlikely that a U.S. DVD, if produced, will include the original 114 minute Japanese cut. See more »
Nostrodamusu no Daiyogen was released originally in 1974 and subsequently banned in its homeland due to two scenes graphically depicting the aftermath of radiation exposure. The Japanese censors thought that the two scenes were far to reminiscent of the Hiroshima bombing to be seen by the public at large. Toho has since disowned the title, which has never been legitimately released in its original and unaltered form.
Catastrophe 1999, the international version of the film, was played in Europe and elsewhere. The film was cut from 114 minutes to 85, mostly removing important characterization scenes and the heartfelt speech of the Japanese Prime Minister that occurs in the final minutes of the film. This cut is still available on VHS in some European nations, but is hard to come by.
In the 1980's, Harry Saperstein (responsible for the US television releases of films like War of the Gargantuas and Frankenstein Conquers the World) got a hold of a print and butchered it into a cut several minutes longer than the international version (88 minutes) but lacking even more of the important scenes in the film. The original introduction was recut beyond repair, most of the references to Nostradamus and his prophecies were removed, and a makeshift ending was tacked on that minced scenes from the original Japanese ending and other parts of the film together. Paramount released a VHS and laserdisc of this version under the title The Last Days of Planet Earth and it is still played on television occassionally.
Thankfully for fans of Japanese cinema, someone located an unadulterated timecoded print of the film and has since made the original 114 minute version available, albeit only in Japan. I managed to snare a copy through an import service. The differences are astounding. Gone is the choppy editing of the international and US versions of the film, vanished is the dubbing, and what's left is one of the finest Japanese disaster films of all time. I can say for a fact that those of you who have only seen the Last Days of Planet Earth or Catastrophe 1999 prints of the film have, in fact, not seen the film at all. Judging the film by watching these butchered versions is not only difficult, but nearly impossible.
I encourage anyone with interest in the film to locate a copy of the 114 minute cut. It may not be for everyone, but those that even slighly enjoyed either of the cut versions are sure to find infinitely more to enjoy in the original Japanese version.
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