Frankenstein vs. Baragon (1965)

From Wikizilla, the kaiju encyclopedia
Article.png
Image gallery for Frankenstein vs. Baragon
Credits for Frankenstein vs. Baragon
Frankenstein vs. Baragon soundtrack


Frankenstein vs. Baragon
The Japanese poster for Frankenstein vs. Baragon
Alternate titles
Flagicon Japan.png Frankenstein Against the Subterranean Monster (1965)
Flagicon United States.png Frankenstein Conquers the World (1966)
See alternate titles
Directed by Ishiro Honda
Producer(s) Tomoyuki Tanaka, Reuben Bercovitch, Henry Saperstein, Samuel Arkoff
Written by Reuben Bercovitch[1], Kaoru Mabuchi,
Jerry Sohl[1]
Music by Akira Ifukube
Distributor TohoJP
American International PicturesUS[1]
Rating Not Rated
Box office ¥93,000,000[2]
Running time 90 minutesJP
(1 hour, 30 minutes)
87 minutesUS
(1 hour, 27 minutes)
Aspect ratio 2.35:1
Rate this film!
4.41
(49 votes)

Frankenstein vs. Baragon (フランケンシュタイン対地底怪獣 (バラゴン),   Furankenshutain tai Baragon, lit. Frankenstein Against the Subterranean Monster)[note 1] is a 1965 tokusatsu kaiju film co-produced by Toho and UPA.[note 2] This film features a Japanese version of the Frankenstein Monster, who becomes giant-sized to fight the giant subterranean monster, Baragon. It was released to Japanese theaters on August 8, 1965 and to American theaters on July 8, 1966.

Plot

In World War II, circa 1945, the Allied Forces are advancing on Germany. Nazis break into the laboratory of Dr. Reisendorf and confiscate the heart of the Frankenstein Monster, on which he is busy experimenting. The Nazis travel by submarine to the Pacific. The Allied Forces then bomb their submarine, but not before the Nazis pass the heart (contained in a locked chest) to the Imperial Japanese Navy, who take it back to Hiroshima to be experimented on. But just as they are about to begin, Hiroshima is bombed by the Allied Force Enola Gay, and the heart is lost.

Fifteen years later, in 1960, a savage boy runs rampant in the streets of Hiroshima, catching and devouring small animals such as dogs and rabbits. This comes to the attention of American scientist Dr. James Bowen and his assistants Sueko Togami and Ken'ichiro Kawaji. A year later (1961), they investigate and find the boy hiding in a cave on a beach, where a mob of outraged villagers has almost caught him. While the strange boy catches media attention and is taken care of by the scientists, another astounding event evades the public's eye. Once the boy is taken to the hospital, it is discovered that he is caucasian and his body is building a strong resistance to radiation, rather than succumbing to it.

The Former Naval Captain Kawai, who brought the Frankenstein heart to Japan in WWII, is working at an oil drilling rig in Akita Prefecture, when a sudden earthquake shakes the facility and collapses a tower, beneath which he saw the ghastly face of a giant reptilian monster with a glowing horn.

Meanwhile, Dr. Bowen and the scientists find that the strange boy is growing unnaturally due to intake of protein. Afraid of his strength, the scientists lock and chain the boy in a jail cell, and Sueko, who really cares for him, feeds him some protein food to sustain him. Meanwhile, Dr. Bowen is visited by Kawai, who tells him that the boy could have grown from the heart of the Frankenstein Monster, as the boy was seen in Hiroshima more than once before. At Bowen's advice, Dr. Kawaji confers with the aging Dr. Reisendorf in Frankfurt. Reisendorf tells Kawaji of the story of the Frankenstein Monster and its noted virtual immortality, due to the intake of protein. Reisendorf recommends cutting off the monster's arm or leg, speculating that a new one will grow back. When relating this to his fellow scientists upon his return to Japan, Sueko strongly objects to this method, fearing that nothing may grow back. Even when Bowen suggests that they wait a little longer to think it over, Kawaji tenaciously attempts to sever one of the now-gigantic monster's limbs. He is interrupted by a TV crew, whom Kawaji allows to film the monster, though they it enrage by shining bright studio lights at its face. The monster, heretofore known as "Frankenstein", breaks loose and is on the run from the Japanese police. He even has a tender encounter with Sueko on the balcony of her apartment before he has to run away. In the aftermath of the rampage, the still living, severed hand of the monster is discovered, casting no doubt that he is indeed Frankenstein.

While Frankenstein is on the run, he travels to many places, from Okayama (where he eats more animals) to Mount Ibuki, where his primitive childlike activities (throwing trees at birds and trying to trap a wild boar) end in disaster.

But unbeknownst to Bowen and the scientists, Baragon, the monster Kawai saw earlier, goes on a rampage. Tunneling under the earth, he pops out and ravages villages, eating people and animals and leaving destruction in his wake. People believe this is Frankenstein's doing, and the misunderstood monster is wrongly hunted down by the military, though not before narrowly escaping. After negligence to increase the supply of protein with its growth, Frankenstein's hand is found dead, already having grown considerably. Before Bowen and his assistants have no choice but to dismiss Frankenstein, Kawai returns to tell them that Frankenstein may not be responsible for the disasters; it could be the monster he saw in Akita, Baragon. He tries to convince the authorities, but to no avail. Kawaji still wishes the scientists luck in finding Frankenstein.

Bowen, Sueko, and Kawaji then form a search party and venture into the forest in which they believe Frankenstein is currently hiding. But Kawaji, to the shock of Bowen and Sueko, then proceeds to attempt to kill him, believing that Frankenstein could be dangerous by his very nature, and not even Sueko could possibly tame him. He intends to blind him with chemical grenades and capture him to recover his heart and brain. Kawaji presses on to find Frankenstein, and instead finds Baragon. Kawaji and Bowen try to stop the monster with the grenades, to no avail. As it moves to devour Sueko, Frankenstein comes to her rescue, and a cataclysmic battle between the two giant monsters begins. Frankenstein triumphs over his foe, but the ground beneath their arena begins to tremble, and as a sinkhole opens, both monsters are dragged into the earth. Kawaji believes Frankenstein to be immortal, and his return inevitable. Bowen, however, feels he may be better off dead; the world gave him no place.

In an alternate ending, after Baragon is defeated by Frankenstein, a giant octopus clambers out of a nearby lake and immediately assails Frankenstein. Frankenstein bravely fights against the monster, but the huge cephalopod overpowers him, and drags Frankenstein below the surface, seemingly to his death.

Staff

Staff role on the left, staff member's name on the right.

  • Directed by   Ishiro Honda
  • Written by   Reuben Bercovitch, Kaoru Mabuchi, and Jerry Sohl
  • Produced by   Tomoyuki Tanaka, Reuben Bercovitch, Henry Saperstein, and Samuel Arkoff
  • Music by   Akira Ifukube
  • Cinematography by   Hajime Koizumi
  • Edited by   Ryohei Fuji
  • Production Design by   Takeo Kita
  • Assistant Director   Koji Kajita
  • Director of Special Effects   Eiji Tsuburaya
  • Assistant Director of Special Effects   Teruyoshi Nakano
  • Based on characters created by   Mary Shelley

Cast

Actor's name on the left, character played on the right.

  • Tadao Takashima   as   Dr. Kenichiro Kawaji
  • Nick Adams   as   Dr. James Bowen (Japanese voice actor: Goro Naya)
  • Kumi Mizuno   as   Sueko Togami
  • Yoshio Tsuchiya   as   Daigo Kawai, oilfield worker
  • Koji Furuhata   as   Frankenstein
  • Jun Tazaki   as   Hideo Nishi, Director of the Okayama Prefectural Police Department
  • Susumu Fujita   as   Osaka Prefectural Police Chief
  • Takashi Shimura   as   Hiroshima Army Hospital doctor
  • Nobuo Nakamura   as   Dr. Suga
  • Kenji Sahara   as   Tadokoro, Bowen's assistant
  • Hisaya Ito   as   Osaka Prefectural police officer
  • Yoshibumi Tajima   as   Murata, Japanese Imperial Navy submarine captain
  • Kozo Nomura   as   Newspaper reporter
  • Haruya Kato   as   TTV director
  • Ikio Sawamura   as   Housekeeper
  • Yoshio Kosugi   as   JSDF executive
  • Noriaki Inoe   as   Youth at Shirane Huts
  • Keiko Sawai   as   Tsuruko Toida
  • Noriko Takahashi   as   Youth at Shirane Huts
  • Peter Mann   as   Dr. Liesendorf (Japanese voice actor: Kazuo Kumakura)
  • Ren Yamamoto   as   Motoki
  • Yutaka Sada   as   Hospital secretary
  • Kenzo Tabu   as   Newspaper employee
  • Shigeki Ishida   as   University professor
  • Haruo Nakajima   as   Baragon / JSDF soldier
  • Yutaka Nakayama, Senkichi Omura   as   TTV lighting men
  • Nadao Kirino   as   Okabe policeman
  • Yasuhiko Saijyo   as   TTV cameraman
  • Shin Otomo   as   Sugiyama policeman
  • Shoichi Hirose   as   Tunnel miner
  • Junichiro Mukai   as   Patrolman
  • Toshihiko Furata   as   Farmer
  • Mitsuo Tsuda   as   Engineer
  • Hiroto Kimura
  • Hideo Shibuya   as   Weekly magazine reporter
  • Yoshiko Miyata   as   Himemji Castle cleaning lady
  • Masaaki Tachibana, Tadashi Okabe   as   News reporters
  • Rinsaku Ogata   as   JSDF executive
  • Sumio Nakao   as   Young Frankenstein

Titan Productions English dub

Actor's name on the left, character played on the right.

  • Lucy Martin   as   Dr. Sueko Togami
  • Larry Robinson   as   Daigo Kawai
  • Kenneth Harvey   as   Military adviser / Osaka Police chief
  • Jack Curtis   as   Hiroshima surgeon
  • Bret Morrison   as   Reporter
  • Jack Curtis   as   Radio reporter

Appearances

Monsters

Weapons, Vehicles, and Races

Production

This idea for this film originated with Willis O'Brien, who pitched a film pitting King Kong against a giant version of Frankenstein's Monster. The idea was never adopted by Universal Pictures or RKO Pictures, so it was stolen by independent producer John Beck and pitched to Toho under the title King Kong vs. Prometheus. Toho agreed to produce a film using Beck's project, but decided to replace the Frankenstein/Prometheus creature with their own monster, Godzilla. The project ultimately became King Kong vs. Godzilla after Toho arranged a deal with RKO to use the character of Kong.

Producer Tomoyuki Tanaka had originally commissioned a film called Frankenstein vs. The Human Vapor (フランケンシュタイン対ガス人間,   Furankenshutain tai Gasu Ningen), with a draft written by Kimura. This also follows up with the film The Human Vapor, as Mizuno seeks out a scientist named Gildor, who had successfully revived Frankenstein's Monster, in the hope that he can revive his beloved girlfriend Fujichiyo (who died at the end of said film). This was also supposed to be Toho's co-feature with the Japanese release of the film My Fair Lady.

When this idea was scrapped, Toho revived the idea of a giant Frankenstein for a sequel to King Kong vs. Godzilla called Frankenstein vs. Godzilla. In this draft, Godzilla would be discovered in an iceberg in the Bering Sea while a giant monster grows from the irradiated heart of Frankenstein's Monster. The JSDF lures both creatures to the forests near Mount Fuji in the hopes of Godzilla killing Frankenstein before he could begin to eat humans. Toho ultimately thought the idea made little sense and produced Mothra vs. Godzilla instead. However, Toho kept the Frankenstein vs. Godzilla screenplay and replaced Godzilla with the new monster Baragon, ultimately creating Frankenstein vs. Baragon. The finished film shares many similarities with the Frankenstein vs. Godzilla script, including the origin of the giant Frankenstein and the character of Dr. James Bowen.

Alternate Ending

There was also an alternate ending for the movie, in which, after defeating Baragon, instead of falling in to a fissure in the ground, Frankenstein is attacked by a Giant Octopus. During the fight Frankenstein is dragged into the sea by the Octopus, with the film closing on the same dialogue spoken by the main characters as in the original ending. According to Ishiro Honda, Henry Saperstein, the lead American producer on the film, was astonished by the Giant Octopus scenes from King Kong vs. Godzilla and wanted the Giant Octopus to be included in the American version of the film. Saperstein and UPA even promoted the film under the English title Frankenstein vs. the Giant Devilfish. The Giant Octopus sequence was shot specifically for the U.S. version, but when Saperstein was presented with it, he found it unsatisfactory and too abrupt and rejected it in favor of the original ending.[1] This alternate ending has been included in Toho's home video releases of the film, and was previously accidentally aired on Japanese television, confusing many viewers who had seen the film in theaters. The Giant Octopus would go on to appear in this film's loose sequel, The War of the Gargantuas.

Gallery

Main article: Frankenstein vs. Baragon/Gallery.

Soundtrack

Main article: Frankenstein vs. Baragon (Soundtrack).

Alternate Titles

  • Frankenstein Against the Subterranean Monster (Literal Japanese title)
  • Frankenstein Against Baragon (Alternate reading of Japanese title)
  • Frankenstein vs. Subterranean Monster Baragon (フランケンシュタイン対地底怪獣バラゴン,   Furankenshutain tai Chitei Kaijū Baragon, Alternate Japanese title)
  • Frankenstein Conquers the World (United States)
  • Frankenstein vs. the Giant Devilfish (Early U.S. title)
  • Frankenstein: The Horror With the Ape Face (Frankenstein – Der Schrecken mit dem Affengesicht; Germany)

Theatrical Releases

U.S. Release

American Frankenstein Conquers the World poster

Frankenstein vs. Baragon was released theatrically in the United States by American International Pictures under the title Frankenstein Conquers the World. While Nick Adams' dialogue had been dubbed over for the Japanese version, it was preserved in the American cut, which featured English dubbing by Titan Productions.[1] AIP cut approximately three minutes of footage from the film and made several alterations:

  • Altered: All Japanese location supers were retained, with all but two having new English supers printed in to obscure the Japanese originals. AIP also added seven new English supers to translate instances of expository text. The two supers that set the date and location of the film's opening sequence were cut altogether by AIP.
  • Deleted: A sequence in which the Imperial Japanese submarine carrying Frankenstein's heart from Germany submerges to avoid detection from an an Allied bomber. Murata and Kawai speculate about the contents of the trunk.
  • Deleted: Newspaper insert detailing the dead rabbit in the school classroom.
  • Deleted: Sueko, having been reading the aforementioned article, hurries to prepare dinner as Dr. Bowen pulls up to her apartment in his car.
  • Shortened: Dr. Bowen and Sueko sit down to dinner for her birthday. AIP deleted approximately 30 seconds of this sequence, which—in the Japanese version—included a joke by Dr. Bowen that would be echoed by Sueko later in the film. The deleted content highlights the differences between American and Japanese humor and the difficulties both Bowen and Sueko experience trying to understand each other's culture.
  • Deleted: Bowen returns to Japan and surprises Sueko at the laboratory. They take a trip around the countryside, ending up in the mountains to visit the grave of Tazuko Tooi.
  • Altered: A Japanese language newspaper insert describing the discovery of the radiation-resistant boy is replaced with an English version.
  • Deleted: Bowen suggests restraining or caging Frankenstein after the latter throws a TV out a window.
  • Altered: Frankenstein's escape from the Hiroshima hospital. This was one of three sequences filmed by Toho at Saperstein's request.[3] In the additional footage, two police officers are shown shooting at Frankenstein while he breaks through a wall. He pauses for a moment to observe one of the policeman who'd been injured by falling debris from the monster's escape.
  • Altered: Frankenstein eludes two police cars after having visited Sueko.[4][note 3] In the Japanese version of this sequence, Frankenstein hides from the vehicles and ultimately causes their crash after darting away at the last moment. The expanded sequence in AIP's version has Frankenstein ambush the first cruiser using a light post. Frankenstein then picks up and throws a sedan parked nearby, causing an explosion, before he runs away from the scene.
  • Deleted: The wild boar Frankenstein had been hunting runs past the JSDF soldiers that had been pursuing him.
  • Altered: AIP's version fades out sooner into a credit reading "American International," while the Japanese version's end title is superimposed over the forest fire.

The alternate ending, featuring the Giant Octopus, that was shot specifically for this version was rejected by AIP studio head James H. Nicholson. AIP's version uses the same ending that Toho had used for its theatrical release in Japan. Visually, it is unaltered, but AIP used music from the rejected ending to underscore Frankenstein falling into the sinkhole, and inserted new sound effects, from a possible lack of sound elements provided for the Japanese ending.

Video Releases

Tokyo Shock DVD (2007)

  • Region: 1
  • Discs: 2
  • Audio: Japanese (2.0 Mono, 5.1 Surround), English (2.0 Mono, 5.1 Surround)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Special Features: Audio commentary by Sadamasa Arikawa, deleted scenes (5 minutes), trailers, image gallery
  • Notes: Includes the alternate ending in which Frankenstein battles the Giant Octopus. Out of print.

Anolis DVD (2007)

  • Region: 2
  • Discs: 2
  • Audio: Japanese (2.0 Mono), German (2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: German
  • Special Features: Audio commentary by Jörg Buttgereit, The Man in Costume - Interview with Godzilla Actor Haruo Nakajima, German trailer, Japanese trailer, American trailer, image gallery, German film program, Rolf Giesen on the relationship between Toho and King Bros. standalone commentary (easter egg), German black and white 8mm version (easter egg)
  • Notes: Includes the Japanese version with the alternate ending in which Frankenstein battles the Giant Octopus, and a reconstruction of the German theatrical version. Also includes an audio CD of Jörg Buttgereit's radio drama Frankenstein in Hiroshima. Out of print.

Toho Blu-ray (2017)

  • Region: A/1
  • Discs: 1
  • Audio: Japanese (DTS-HD Master Audio Mono and 5.1)
  • Subtitles: Japanese
  • Special Features: theatrical and alternate ending viewable on main film through seamless branching, isolated score, audio commentary by Sadamasa Arikawa, theatrical trailer (HD), newsflash trailer (HD), deleted scenes (SD), presentation of Eiji Tsuburaya's shooting script (HD).

Videos

Japanese Frankenstein vs. Baragon newsflash trailer
Japanese Frankenstein vs. Baragon trailer
American Frankenstein Conquers the World trailer
American Frankenstein Conquers the World radio spot
German Frankenstein: The Horror with the Ape Face trailer
English visuals from the AIP theatrical version
Title sequence and end title from UPA television version
Title sequence from German theatrical version
Roger Corman hosts Frankenstein Conquers the World on AMC Monsterfest '99
AMC "Behind the Screen" segment

Sequel

Main article: The War of the Gargantuas.

Toho produced a loose sequel to this film, The War of the Gargantuas, the following year in 1966. This film revolves around two monsters, Sanda and Gaira, who have regenerated from Frankenstein's severed flesh. Sanda, like Frankenstein, was raised by human scientists and became kind and gentle, while Gaira grew up to become a violent and savage man-eater. The War of the Gargantuas only loosely acknowledges the events of Frankenstein vs. Baragon, renaming and largely recasting the scientists from the previous film and moving their laboratory to Kyoto instead of Hiroshima. Dialogue and flashback sequences seem to place Sanda into the role of Frankenstein from the previous film, although Toho officially considers the film a direct continuation and maintains that Sanda was spawned from Frankenstein.

Trivia

External Links

Notes

  1. The kanji 地底怪獣 is normally read as "Chitei Kaijū," meaning "Subterranean Monster." However, the furigana バラゴン attached to the kanji in the title indicates that in this case it is read as "Baragon."
  2. UPA is credited as "Henry G. Saperstein Enterprises" in the American release.
  3. Although Teruyoshi Nakano's quote seems to suggest Toho shot Frankenstein's visit to Sueko's apartment for Saperstein, it's more likely that the following sequence described hereafter was the other sequence shot at Saperstein's request. Frankenstein's visit is identical in both Japanese and American releases while the character's escape sequence is significantly different across both versions of the film.

References

This is a list of references for Frankenstein vs. Baragon. These citations are used to identify the reliable sources on which this article is based. These references appear inside articles in the form of superscript numbers, which look like this: [1]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Craig, Rob. American International Pictures: A Comprehensive Filmography. McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers. p. 154. 2019. ISBN: 9781476666310.
  2. Steve Ryfle and Ed Godzizewski. Ishiro Honda: A Life in Film. Wesleyan University Press. p. 226. 2017. ISBN: 9780819577412.
  3. Ragone, August. Eiji Tsuburaya: Master of Monsters. Chronicle Books LLC. pp. 94, 95. 2007. ISBN: 0811860787.
  4. Galbraith IV, Stuart. Monsters Are Attacking Tokyo!. Feral House. p. 102. 1998. ISBN: 0922915474.

Comments

Showing 11 comments. When commenting, please remain respectful of other users, stay on topic, and avoid role-playing and excessive punctuation. Comments which violate these guidelines may be removed by administrators.

You are not allowed to post comments.


avatar

Triceradon the 8th

6 months ago
Score 0
thanks les
avatar

Triceradon the 8th

6 months ago
Score 0
and the giant boar
avatar

Triceradon the 8th

6 months ago
Score 0
i heard angirus appears as a model in film but i cant find any pitures of it
avatar

Les

6 months ago
Score 0

You can see it just behind Kumi Mizuno's head here:

FvB Anguirus maquette.png
avatar

Lamango

9 months ago
Score 0
Giant Boar page when? I mean, the thing was the same size as the tanks in the woods. Lmfao
avatar

G&G-Fan

11 months ago
Score 0
I actually prefer the alternate ending.
avatar

Green Blob Thing

11 months ago
Score 1
I would if it were good and not pointless.
avatar

G&G-Fan

5 months ago
Score 0
Eh, I find both endings contrived (an earthquake just happens to happen right after the fight to tie up all loose ends... how convenient) so I would pick the one where he fights a Giant Octopus rather then just falling into a fissure.
avatar

The King of the Monsters

5 months ago
Score 0
I've always been under the impression that the fissure which swallows Frankenstein was triggered by Baragon's burrowing during the final battle which rendered the ground in the area unstable and caused it to finally split open.
avatar

Titan of Water

13 months ago
Score 0
I haven’t got to see this movie, but it looks good. No disrespect to the film, but how would Marry Shelly react to this?
avatar

Green Blob Thing

23 months ago
Score 0
I like how when given the chance to make an official Frankenstein movie, this is the movie Toho decides that they need to make. One of my favourite Toho movies!
Era Icon - Toho.png
Era Icon - Showa.png
Movie
Era Icon - Frankenstein.png
Era Icon - Baragon.png
Era Icon - Oodako.png