Talkback: Half Human (1955) aka Jūjin Yuki Otoko

For the discussion of Toho produced and distributed films or shows released before 1980.
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Talkback: Half Human (1955) aka Jūjin Yuki Otoko

Postby DaikaijuSokogeki! » Sat Feb 05, 2011 5:36 pm

Half Human

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Finally watched this film through said illegal means. My thoughts? I liked it. I thought it was wonderfully atmospheric, it definitely felt like a spiritual successor to Godzilla (1954) except that Half Human's more of a traditional monster flick. The Abominable Snowman itself was well executed, although its first appearance after all of the build-up was disappointing. This movie is another example of Honda putting more emphasis on the tragedy of the kaiju characters than the human characters, but Akira Takarada is a much stronger actor than, say, Russ Tamblyn.

Sato delivered a great score, a lot better than his repetitive soundtrack for Godzilla Raids Again. The SPFX are good, especially the costume design for the Abominable Snowman. Black & White was very kind to the effectiveness of this suit. Some of the other FX shots are a little more iffy, such as the sloppy bluescreen effect when the Abominable Snowman throws the head poacher off the cliff.

Is it insensitive? Yeah, it kinda is, but the villagers are so cartoonishly evil that I wasn't offended by it. I honestly found the inbred villagers in Half-Human was equally insensitive as the black-faced Japanese actors in King Kong Vs. Godzilla, but that film isn't under a self-imposed ban because, you know, money. So yeah, I'd love to see Toho give this movie a legit release. It's solid work, and I would gladly see it again despite its slight shortcomings.

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Half Human (1957)

Postby jdownham » Sun Jun 05, 2011 8:28 pm

Recently, I watched the Americanized version of this long lost Toho film. Gotta say I was disappointed with this one. It made me appreciate the American version of Godzilla in that some care was taken in its adaptation. This version of Half Human (and unfortunately the only one even remotely available) is one of the worst Americanized versions of a Toho film I've seen. The star, John Carradine, narrates the entire story. Really, the man never shuts up. At least it was only 63 minutes long. I doubt the original version will ever see the light of day. Has any one else seen this flick?

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Re: Half Human (1957)

Postby Tamura » Sun Jun 05, 2011 8:30 pm

The original film does exist and has even been subtitled.
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Re: Half Human (1957)

Postby jdownham » Sun Jun 05, 2011 8:36 pm

Cool. I'll have to track it down.

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Re: Half Human (1957)

Postby The Dark Uniter » Mon Jun 06, 2011 9:38 am

I have the film in its Japanese cut. Its a very good film, however later movies would come to surpass it.

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Re: Half Human (1957)

Postby Julia Bristow » Mon Jun 06, 2011 3:20 pm

I have watched both the Japanese & US versions of Half Human and the Japanese version is better by a landslide. It has better human drama and no narration ruinning the flow of the story and plus it had all of Masaru Sato's score. The US cut is without question the worst Americanized version of a Toho film I'v ever seen. It is soooo shreonking bad that it makes the US edits of Varan & King Kong vs Godzilla look golden by comparison and sadly all the original score and many of the original sound effects were removed. If I were you, I'd be better off sticking to the Japanese version (if you can find it that is)
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Re: Half Human (1957)

Postby omgitsgodzilla » Thu Jun 09, 2011 2:29 pm

While we're on the subject, do any of you know where one could find the subtitled version? And I assume this is the copy with the timecode.
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Re: Half Human (1957)

Postby DaikaijuSokogeki! » Thu Jun 09, 2011 2:37 pm

omgitsgodzilla wrote:While we're on the subject, do any of you know where one could find the subtitled version? And I assume this is the copy with the timecode.


I'll PM you.

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Re: Half Human (1957)

Postby omgitsgodzilla » Fri Jun 10, 2011 11:39 am

Got the message. Many thanks :)
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Re: Half Human (1957)

Postby Tohosaurus » Fri Jun 10, 2011 11:47 am

It's not available on DVD anymore, right? Wasn't this the one that was banned or such?
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Re: Half Human (1957)

Postby DaikaijuSokogeki! » Fri Jun 10, 2011 12:09 pm

Tohosaurus wrote:It's not available on DVD anymore, right? Wasn't this the one that was banned or such?


The original Japanese version was never available on DVD in Japan, the United States, or any part of the world legally. The film's only "release" came from a Japanese VHS that Toho quickly pulled off the market after it received controversy (from my understanding of the story).

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Re: Half Human (1957)

Postby omgitsgodzilla » Fri Jun 10, 2011 12:33 pm

DaikaijuSokogeki! wrote:
Tohosaurus wrote:It's not available on DVD anymore, right? Wasn't this the one that was banned or such?


The original Japanese version was never available on DVD in Japan, the United States, or any part of the world legally. The film's only "release" came from a Japanese VHS that Toho quickly pulled off the market after it received controversy (from my understanding of the story).

I thought that was Nostradamus.
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Re: Half Human (1957)

Postby The Dark Uniter » Fri Jun 10, 2011 12:34 pm

DaikaijuSokogeki!wrote
The original Japanese version was never available on DVD in Japan, the United States, or any part of the world legally. The film's only "release" came from a Japanese VHS that Toho quickly pulled off the market after it received controversy (from my understanding of the story).

Same applies to Prophecies of Nostradamus. Japan was originally going to release it on Laserdisc and VHS however, they cancelled it at the last possible second.

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Re: Half Human (1957)

Postby omgitsgodzilla » Fri Jun 10, 2011 1:30 pm

Ah. I see... Honestly, I see no real reason for them not to issue it with some form of a disclaimer or something at the beginning. Yeah, some people find it offensive, but these are fairly significant films that deserve to be released for posterity if nothing else. Disney's Peter Pan was pretty racist, but it didn't stop them.
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Re: Half Human (1957)

Postby Gojira-Fan » Fri Jun 10, 2011 1:54 pm

omgitsgodzilla wrote:Ah. I see... Honestly, I see no real reason for them not to issue it with some form of a disclaimer or something at the beginning. Yeah, some people find it offensive, but these are fairly significant films that deserve to be released for posterity if nothing else. Disney's Peter Pan was pretty racist, but it didn't stop them.


Funny you mention Disney.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Song_of_the_South

Toho is in the same position as Disney is. Both films (Half Human and Song of the South) are supposedly racist and are not legally available on home video.

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Re: Half Human (1957)

Postby Tohosaurus » Fri Jun 10, 2011 2:01 pm

DaikaijuSokogeki! wrote:The original Japanese version was never available on DVD in Japan, the United States, or any part of the world legally. The film's only "release" came from a Japanese VHS that Toho quickly pulled off the market after it received controversy (from my understanding of the story).

Ah of course, I didn't mean DVD, but VHS. 8-) It is my understanding that it was banned a long time ago for a reason I don't remember, nor did a quick Google search turn up a real explanation.
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Re: Half Human (1957)

Postby Gojira-Fan » Fri Jun 10, 2011 2:07 pm

Tohosaurus wrote:
DaikaijuSokogeki! wrote:The original Japanese version was never available on DVD in Japan, the United States, or any part of the world legally. The film's only "release" came from a Japanese VHS that Toho quickly pulled off the market after it received controversy (from my understanding of the story).

Ah of course, I didn't mean DVD, but VHS. 8-) It is my understanding that it was banned a long time ago for a reason I don't remember, nor did a quick Google search turn up a real explanation.


It's because Half Human supposedly portrays the Ainu people (an ethnic group in Japan) in a racist way.

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Re: Half Human (1957)

Postby omgitsgodzilla » Fri Jun 10, 2011 5:25 pm

Gojira-Fan wrote:
Tohosaurus wrote:
DaikaijuSokogeki! wrote:The original Japanese version was never available on DVD in Japan, the United States, or any part of the world legally. The film's only "release" came from a Japanese VHS that Toho quickly pulled off the market after it received controversy (from my understanding of the story).

Ah of course, I didn't mean DVD, but VHS. 8-) It is my understanding that it was banned a long time ago for a reason I don't remember, nor did a quick Google search turn up a real explanation.


It's because Half Human supposedly portrays the Ainu people (an ethnic group in Japan) in a racist way.

From what I understand, the indigenous people depicted in the film aren't Ainu, nor do they bear much of a resemblance to the Ainu at all...
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Re: Half Human (1957)

Postby Tohosaurus » Fri Jun 10, 2011 5:41 pm

Gojira-Fan wrote:It's because Half Human supposedly portrays the Ainu people (an ethnic group in Japan) in a racist way.


Ah, okay. Thanks.

Tyler wrote:I don't think the outcry would be that bad if they actually released it. But I'm not Japanese so what do I know. Toho just seems paranoid.


Yeah, I simply do not know enough to be able to even suggest what the level of outcry would be. As someone else said, maybe they could edit some of the lines so that this isn't a problem ... unless it's simply too much of it. I really don't know. To most of us this is an almost mythical movie lol.
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Re: Half Human (1957)

Postby The Dark Uniter » Fri Jun 10, 2011 6:46 pm

I think the film rights for at least Prophecies of Nostradamus are up for sale for international distribution if I'm not mistaken so any company could release it if they wanted to.


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