Page 1 of 3

Prophecies of Nostradamus 1974

Posted: Sat Jun 08, 2019 9:41 pm
by LSD Jellyfish
Continuing my viewings of other Toho films outside the Godzilla franchise, and hey this one was quite good. Far warning, in contrast to the Godzilla era and films around it the film is really dark and upsetting. However, I think that adds to the film.

For those who don’t know, the film is a sort of cinematic version of the prophecies of nostramadamus, but it focuses less on fantastical elements, and more how humans have destroyed the earth, and civilization will perish. I might use this film as a citation as an environmental film well; because it takes its themes seriously and addresses a lot of uncomfortable truths.

An example of this is how they address the global food crises and note how the consumption of meat on a wide scale has led to an increased lack of nutritional value despite crop yields. It also calls out first world countries, including japan, for example, for enjoying luxurious lifestyles while others suffered.

I think the film at some points borders on being incredibly explotative; we are routinely shown shots of starving children and dying people throughout the film. It isn’t super graphic, but I can’t help but wonder. Additionally, there’s a scene involving mutant irradiated cannibals. I get why it’s controversial; it perpetuates cannibal myths, and sort of contributes to the fear of othering and deformity. However, I think that this scene is affective at dispelling nature myths and that global environmental disasters are localized.

I think the most jarring thing that happens is at the end they actually show the Fukushima Power Plant, and it gets hit by an earthquake causing in a meltdown. To the film’s unfortunate credit, roughly forty years later this scenesfio actually played out. I can’t tell if that’s a positive or negative.

I think the film does a good job with effects work, and a lot of what occurs is indeed horrifying. There are many scenes where people eating or suddenly swept away by floods, or other disasters like the ozone layer breaking and burning. There’s also some minor monsters here and there to mix everything up.

The music also is really good, and it compliments some really horrifying shots, like the motorcycle scene and the sailing scene.

The characters are sort of generic, but I do appreciate that the film does actually have some hope in it. It’s not just suffering, though I’m not going to pretend the film isn’t miserable anyways.

Overall, I really liked this film, although I don’t think it’s an easy watch. I think it actually fits well with some of the more serious Godzilla films. It’s easy to see 1984 as a follow up or even a continuation as that film features a similar bleak tone and atmosphere. For reference, I watched a crap subtitled version with poor video quality, but it was uncut; I have not seen an edited version.

Re: Prophecies of Nostradamus 1974

Posted: Sun Jun 09, 2019 12:27 am
by Kaiju-King42
I remember seeing this film years ago when the Japanese cut surfaced online. It was a really interesting experience to say the least.

Interesting that The Return of Godzilla pulls stock footage from the film for the atomic-breathing of the news chopper and subsequent highway chain explosion.

Re: Prophecies of Nostradamus 1974

Posted: Sun Jun 09, 2019 1:50 am
by LSD Jellyfish
Kaiju-King42 wrote:I remember seeing this film years ago when the Japanese cut surfaced online. It was a really interesting experience to say the least.

Interesting that The Return of Godzilla pulls stock footage from the film for the atomic-breathing of the news chopper and subsequent highway chain explosion.

Yeah, I do have to wonder if that’s even physically possible, but that was one of the more disturbing scenes with everyone scrambling to get out of the cars while the explosion catches up.

I think the film had some great miniature shots which is why the chose to use some footage later. As much as GVMG is a great Godzilla film, it’s also weird how that came out the same year. This is definitely the film that best illustrates the transition into the Heisei era IMO.

And as funny as it is, you could literally throw some shots from 1984 to add to the film.

Re: Prophecies of Nostradamus 1974

Posted: Sun Jun 09, 2019 1:40 pm
by Gothicserpent
Toho needs to get ahold of themselves and release the uncut version officially.

Re: Prophecies of Nostradamus 1974

Posted: Sun Jun 09, 2019 2:43 pm
by LSD Jellyfish
Gothicserpent wrote:Toho needs to get ahold of themselves and release the uncut version officially.

I think they’re hesistant to do so due to the portrayal of natives and at the end end deformed people. There’s also the fact that midway through theres irradiated people with scarring that’s a big no no in japan.

Re: Prophecies of Nostradamus 1974

Posted: Sun Jun 09, 2019 8:21 pm
by UltramanGoji
Gothicserpent wrote:Toho needs to get ahold of themselves and release the uncut version officially.


It’s kind of insensitive and ignorant to think it’s that easy.

Re: Prophecies of Nostradamus 1974

Posted: Sun Jun 09, 2019 9:16 pm
by G-Matt
Along with a certain other movie from 1974, this is one of my top favorites. Right from the moment when I first watched the original cut, it had a very big impact on me. I actually wanted to learn more about Nostradamus himself, and I loaned a couple of books discussing his prophecies from my local library.

Sure, it's not a perfect movie, but still the cast (especially Tetsuro Tamba), the atmosphere, the effects and Isao Tomita's score really make it work. Here's to hoping we'll get a proper official release in the future.

Re: Prophecies of Nostradamus 1974

Posted: Sun Jun 09, 2019 9:29 pm
by Gothicserpent
UltramanGoji wrote:
Gothicserpent wrote:Toho needs to get ahold of themselves and release the uncut version officially.


It’s kind of insensitive and ignorant to think it’s that easy.

Honestly yeah, now that I think about it. Sorry.

It's just a shame that this film is locked behind a vault, because it's really damn good.

Re: Prophecies of Nostradamus 1974

Posted: Sun Jun 09, 2019 10:12 pm
by LSD Jellyfish
Gothicserpent wrote:
UltramanGoji wrote:
Gothicserpent wrote:Toho needs to get ahold of themselves and release the uncut version officially.


It’s kind of insensitive and ignorant to think it’s that easy.

Honestly yeah, now that I think about it. Sorry.

It's just a shame that this film is locked behind a vault, because it's really damn good.

I`m assuming that everyone here watched the uncut version that`s online then? The one with crap quality and poor subtitles?

The issue is that I could tell the film had a lot of really beautiful shots. Like the early scene with the old man walking out into the ocean is really creepy, but I could tell it would be more so if you could see the contrast of the imagery and music to the beautiful skies. Same for the scene with the mass suicides at sea.

One thing I do appreciate this though is that it portrays druggie hippies as essentially giving up. I think Godzilla vs. Hedorah sort of nudged on that idea, but didn`t fully embrace it.

Re: Prophecies of Nostradamus 1974

Posted: Mon Jun 10, 2019 4:02 pm
by Terasawa
Guess I'll be the one dissenting view but I think this movie stinks. Yes, I have seen the 114-minute Japanese version. I've also seen Toho's 89-minute export version and I'm most familiar with the U.S. release, The Last Days of Planet Earth. And actually, I prefer the latter version. At least that version doesn't try to pass off a lousy exploitation movie as some kind of epic family tragedy. It gets right to the weird stuff going on and even ramps up the WTF-factor a bit.

This is essentially the same movie as The Last War. That film is pretty melodramatic at times but at least the performances mostly ring true. In TLW, stuff blows up for a purpose; weird things happen for a reason (WWIII). Here, a lot of really weird events happen that may or may not have been predicted by Nostradamus. And ultimately it doesn't matter because once the world goes to poop in this film, it turns out the last reel or two was all a Tetsuro Tamba filibuster.

Once I finally saw the Japanese version I tried to convince myself it was better than it is, largely because the movie is somewhat hard to see and I guess I needed to feel justified for going to the trouble I did to get it. But after watching the unedited film twice I realized that it just isn't very good. I'll stick to the excellent soundtrack album and the batshit U.S. version, which at least is a funny conversation piece at a party.

LSD, have you seen Submersion of Japan? IMO that's the Toho FX film that most influenced Toho's big '70s-and-on productions, this film especially. It's also better, IMO; at least thematically richer. I think PON is a Last War/Submersion mashup that misses the ultimate points of both those better movies.

Re: Prophecies of Nostradamus 1974

Posted: Mon Jun 10, 2019 5:33 pm
by Joseph Goodman
Does the "export" version have the mutant scene?

Re: Prophecies of Nostradamus 1974

Posted: Mon Jun 10, 2019 7:53 pm
by Terasawa
Joseph Goodman wrote:Does the "export" version have the mutant scene?


Yep, although I don't know if any shots were trimmed or altogether excised. It also has the scene in which the irradiated New Guinea mutants attack the rescue party ("Don't shoot! They're human beings!"), the other part that caused controversy in Japan. Both of these are carried over into UPA's U.S. version.

Re: Prophecies of Nostradamus 1974

Posted: Mon Jun 10, 2019 9:34 pm
by LSD Jellyfish
Terasawa wrote:Guess I'll be the one dissenting view but I think this movie stinks. Yes, I have seen the 114-minute Japanese version. I've also seen Toho's 89-minute export version and I'm most familiar with the U.S. release, The Last Days of Planet Earth. And actually, I prefer the latter version. At least that version doesn't try to pass off a lousy exploitation movie as some kind of epic family tragedy. It gets right to the weird stuff going on and even ramps up the WTF-factor a bit.

This is essentially the same movie as The Last War. That film is pretty melodramatic at times but at least the performances mostly ring true. In TLW, stuff blows up for a purpose; weird things happen for a reason (WWIII). Here, a lot of really weird events happen that may or may not have been predicted by Nostradamus. And ultimately it doesn't matter because once the world goes to poop in this film, it turns out the last reel or two was all a Tetsuro Tamba filibuster.

Once I finally saw the Japanese version I tried to convince myself it was better than it is, largely because the movie is somewhat hard to see and I guess I needed to feel justified for going to the trouble I did to get it. But after watching the unedited film twice I realized that it just isn't very good. I'll stick to the excellent soundtrack album and the batshit U.S. version, which at least is a funny conversation piece at a party.

LSD, have you seen Submersion of Japan? IMO that's the Toho FX film that most influenced Toho's big '70s-and-on productions, this film especially. It's also better, IMO; at least thematically richer. I think PON is a Last War/Submersion mashup that misses the ultimate points of both those better movies.

That`s next on the list, depending on a lot of factors I`ll watch it tonight or on the weekend.

I do agree that the film ties weakly into the whole Prophecies thing, and it is random how they`re incorporated into the story. The film could have done a better job at either foreshadowing a few in the beginning, and scrambling to interpret them, or not include them at all. I think it also dilutes some of the messages about environmentalism because it turns the disasters into an unchangeable prophecy, one that can`t be changed.

Am I correct in assuming that the U.S. Version is pretty much a barebones cut of horrible things happening one after another?

Re: Prophecies of Nostradamus 1974

Posted: Tue Jun 11, 2019 11:13 am
by Terasawa
LSD Jellyfish wrote:Am I correct in assuming that the U.S. Version is pretty much a barebones cut of horrible things happening one after another?


Yeah, pretty much.

The U.S. version is basically the Toho export version with some footage cut and a little footage from the Japanese release restored (including Nishiyama's 1850s ancestor, here supposed to represent Nostradamus). It's also about 90 minutes long. The export version is a very streamlined version of the Japanese film; the U.S. version is mostly the same but cuts more of the family drama and emphasizes the weird stuff going on. It doesn't make much sense on its own.

Re: Prophecies of Nostradamus 1974

Posted: Tue Jun 11, 2019 11:45 am
by Joseph Goodman
Terasawa wrote:
Joseph Goodman wrote:Does the "export" version have the mutant scene?


Yep, although I don't know if any shots were trimmed or altogether excised. It also has the scene in which the irradiated New Guinea mutants attack the rescue party ("Don't shoot! They're human beings!"), the other part that caused controversy in Japan. Both of these are carried over into UPA's U.S. version.


Interesting. I've never seen any of the versions floating around on the 'net*; the only time I've seen the Japanese version was when I viewed the Library Of Congress copyright tapes eighteen years ago. The mutant scene was missing from that master, cutting from the first pan-down establishing shot to the next before the first visible mutant stands up. Unfortunately, I didn't take note of running times or specific cuts. I think it may have been trimmed from whatever film that transfer was made from, as there was a lot of scuzz at each reel change, as if it was a release print.


*well, until just now, when I found it on that one site that's turned in to quite the hotbed of piracy

Re: Prophecies of Nostradamus 1974

Posted: Tue Jun 11, 2019 5:01 pm
by Gothicserpent
I'm honestly surprised that the original 114 min cut survives at all.

Re: Prophecies of Nostradamus 1974

Posted: Tue Jun 11, 2019 5:44 pm
by LSD Jellyfish
Gothicserpent wrote:I'm honestly surprised that the original 114 min cut survives at all.

Sometimes piracy can save a film and has historical value in that regard.

Re: Prophecies of Nostradamus 1974

Posted: Wed Jun 12, 2019 12:19 pm
by Terasawa
Gothicserpent wrote:I'm honestly surprised that the original 114 min cut survives at all.


The only reason it circulates at all is because Toho intended to release it (and Half Human) on video some time during the '80s. Ultimately these releases were cancelled, but timecoded copies of both were leaked by a Toho employee to an American fan (?) who then made copies from which all digital copies are descended.

Varan, another film with "taboo" content, was similarly edited for its 1980s video release. Toho eventually restored those few minutes for later analog and digital releases.

Joseph Goodman wrote:the only time I've seen the Japanese version was when I viewed the Library Of Congress copyright tapes eighteen years ago. The mutant scene was missing from that master, cutting from the first pan-down establishing shot to the next before the first visible mutant stands up. Unfortunately, I didn't take note of running times or specific cuts. I think it may have been trimmed from whatever film that transfer was made from, as there was a lot of scuzz at each reel change, as if it was a release print.


Fascinating, thanks! I've wanted to take a look at those the next time I make it to D.C. Those mutant scenes are also in the circulating bootleg mentioned above. The LOC cassettes may come from a different transfer.

Re: Prophecies of Nostradamus 1974

Posted: Wed Jun 12, 2019 1:09 pm
by Joseph Goodman
Terasawa wrote:[Fascinating, thanks! I've wanted to take a look at those the next time I make it to D.C.


I wonder how easy it would to do so these days. The criteria for access to appointment materials like those copyright tapes was that it had to be for research toward a publicly available work/publication, and back then (early 2001), "I'm going to write about it on the internet" passed muster as a "publicly available work". Probably too many nerds like myself abused that access! But then again, government employees...

http://www.loc.gov/rr/mopic/mpguide.html

Re: Prophecies of Nostradamus 1974

Posted: Wed Jun 12, 2019 2:20 pm
by Terasawa
I've wondered about that, too, actually. G-Fan seems to be pretty open to submissions, though, so...