Thursday, March 6, 2008
THE MONSTERS OF MASS DESTRUCTION!
Tribute to Eiji Tsuburaya in San Francisco
On March 20th, in celebration of the release of my book, EIJI TSUBURAYA: MASTER OF MONSTERS, San Francisco's Clay Theater will proudly present a spectacular Tohoscope double feature dedicated to the legendary director of visual effects (known in Japan as the "Tokusatsu-no Kamisama"). The event will feature beautiful 35mm scope prints of Ishiro Honda's MOTHRA (1961) and BATTLE IN OUTER SPACE (1959) for one night only — courtesy of Sony Repertory — where they belong, on the big screen!
The Clay will be screening the uncut Japanese-language version of MOTHRA, featuring scenes edited from the original U.S. release in 1962, and fully subtitled in English. The spectacle that is MOTHRA is one of my personal favorite of all of Toho's fantasy films from the Golden Era, and was a big hit on both sides of the Pacific: New York Times film critic, A.H. Weiler said, "There's that color, as pretty as can be, that now and then smites the eye with some genuinely artistic panoramas and décor designs... Fantastic though the plot may be, there are some genuinely penetrating moments, such as the contrast of the approaching terror and those patient, silvery-voiced little 'dolls,' serenely awaiting rescue. Several of the special effects shots are brilliant, such as the sight of a giant cocoon nestling against a large city's power station tower."
Meanwhile, BATTLE IN OUTER SPACE will be the English-language version produced and released by Columbia Pictures in 1960. A sequel to THE MYSTERIANS (1957), BATTLE IN OUTER SPACE is generally derided as a lesser film by some fans, but I find it more dramatically and technically accomplished than the former — the stakes are much higher, the destruction is world-wide, and the final confrontation above the Earth was the first of its kind (18 years before STAR WARS). New York Times film critic, Howard Thompson said, "Some of the artwork is downright nifty, especially in the middle portion, when an earth rocket soars to the moon to destroy the palpitating missile base... The Japanese have opened a most amusing and beguiling bag of technical tricks, as death-dealing saucers whiz through the stratosphere like fireflies... the lunar landscape is just as pretty as it can be."
For the evening performance, I will be on hand to introduce both features and sign copies of my book during the intermission (courtesy Super 7, who will be also selling related merchandise). For more information on this event, and how to order tickets, please click here: TOHO DOUBLE FEATURE @ Landmark After Dark.