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Varan the Unbelievable (1962)

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A prehistoric behemoth is unwittingly awaken from hibernation due to a U.S-Japanese military experiment on it's watery lair for economic means, where it proceeds in attacking Japan.

Directors:

Jerry A. Baerwitz, Ishirô Honda (uncredited)

Writer:

Sid Harris (screenplay)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Myron Healey ... Cmdr. James Bradley
Tsuruko Kobayashi Tsuruko Kobayashi ... Anna
Clifford Kawada Clifford Kawada ... Capt,. Kishi
Derick Shimatsu ... Matsu, the boy
Kôzô Nomura Kôzô Nomura ... Paul Isoh
Ayumi Sonoda Ayumi Sonoda ... Shidori Isoh
Fumindo Matsuo Fumindo Matsuo ... Paul's Friend
Hiroshi Hisasume Hiroshi Hisasume ... Pvt. Seki
Yoneo Iguchi Yoneo Iguchi ... Radio Operator
Hideo Inamura Hideo Inamura ... Doomed Soldier
Roy K. Ogata Roy K. Ogata ... Extra
George Sasaki George Sasaki ... Soldier
Michael Sung Michael Sung ... Extra
Yoshio Tsuchiya Yoshio Tsuchiya ... Soldier
Akio Kusama Akio Kusama ... Soldier
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Storyline

In an effort to find an economic means of purifying salt water, a joint U.S.-Japanese military command is set up on an isolated Japanese island where an unusual salt water lake is situated. However, their purifying experiments arouse the prehistoric monster Obaki from hibernation at the lake's bottom, and it proceeds to attack Japan. Written by Jeremy Lunt <durlinlunt@acadia.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

From a World Below, It Came to Terrorize - To Destroy - To Revenge!

Genres:

Horror | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA | Japan

Language:

English

Release Date:

7 December 1962 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Varan el increible See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)| Perspecta Stereo (perspecta sound systems)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This was originally supposed to be a co-production between ABC and Toho. However, ABC backed out just before production began. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Attack of the 50 Foot Monster Mania (1999) See more »

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User Reviews

Check your version
4 June 2005 | by BrandtSponsellerSee all my reviews

This is not a review, but I want to post this here to help stave off some confusion. The DVD called "Varan The Unbelievable", released by Tokyo Shock in May 2005, catalog number TSDVD-0511, is not the film listed on IMDb as "Varan the Unbelievable (1962)", or "The Monster Varan (1962)". It is instead the film listed on IMDb as "Daikaijû Baran (1958)". "Baran" is the Japanese word that has a transliteration in English as "Varan".

"Varan the Unbelievable" was an American-produced adaptation of the material, similar to the American adaptation of the original Godzilla (Gojira, 1954). Varan was originally to be a joint US/Japanese production, but that deal fell through. Toho, the Japanese production company, went ahead and did Varan anyway, and a few years later, the American version was produced, with a different title and with additional material directed by Jerry A. Baerwitz. It doesn't help the confusion that Tokyo Shock decided to release their DVD under the American title of "Varan the Unbelievable", but surely that was done because that's the title that Americans know the film under.

How do you know what version you watched? Well, the American version has an American actor, Myron Healey, and a plot about trying to desalinize water. It's also only 70 minutes long. The Japanese film is about 90 minutes long, has no American actors, and Varan (or "Baran") makes his first (offscreen) appearance when scientists from Tokyo make a trip to a remote, mountainous village to research the sighting of a butterfly previously only known to exist in Siberia. The Japanese version also has a different musical score, but since music is a bit difficult to describe well in words (other than technically), that's not a great way for most folks to tell which version they've watched.

To make matters even more confusing, the Tokyo Shock DVD has a truncated Japanese television version of Daikaijû Baran, clocking in at about 50 minutes, which dispenses with both the desalinization and the butterfly plots. Also, at least some people have reported seeing a color version of the film. I don't know which version that would be, but the Tokyo Shock DVD has the original, black & white widescreen Japanese version from 1958. I would have much preferred if Tokyo Shock would have put the American adaptation of Varan on the DVD as an extra, as the Japanese television version is just the same film with a bunch of edits for time and there are a few scenes rearranged to try to create something more coherent given the cuts. Tokyo Shock probably didn't put the American film as an extra because of some licensing or royalty issue. I can also imagine Toho objecting to it. Note that there's a good commentary track for the film with Murase Keizo, who was in charge of special effects models on the film (he's not credited on either IMDb listing).

We should reserve this listing for reviews of the American version, and review the Japanese original version at the listing for Daikaijû Baran (1958) instead.


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