Prophecies of Nostradamus (1974)

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Prophecies of Nostradamus
The Japanese poster for Prophecies of Nostradamus
Alternate titles
Flagicon Japan.png Great Prophecies of Nostradamus (1974)
See alternate titles
Directed by Toshio Masuda
Producer(s) Tomoyuki Tanaka, Osamu Tanaka
Written by Toshio Yasumi (Screenplay),
Toshio Masuda, Yoshimitsu Banno (Polishing), Tsutomu Goto (Novel)
Music by Isao Tomita
Distributor Toho
Rating Not Rated
Box office ¥883,000,000[1]
Running time 114 minutesJP
(1 hour, 54 minutes)
87 minutesIntl.
(1 hour, 27 minutes)
88 minutesUS
(1 hour, 28 minutes)
Aspect ratio 2.35:1
Rate this film!
4.50
(10 votes)

Prophecies of Nostradamus (ノストラダムスの大予言,   Nosutoradamusu no Daiyogen, lit. Great Prophecies of Nostradamus) is a 1974 tokusatsu film produced by Toho, and based on Tsutomu Goto's 1973 novel Great Prophecies of Nostradamus. It was released to Japanese theaters on August 3, 1974, and to American theaters on July 13, 1979.

Plot

In the spring of 1835, schoolmaster Genta Nishiyama begins preaching the prophecies of Michel de Nostredame using the book Centuries. Nishiyama is then executed by the Tokugawa Shogunate after discussing the arrival of mysterious black ships which will end Japan's long isolation. His wife and son escape with the book. At the onset of World War II, his descendant, Gengaku, is interrogated by an Imperial Army Officer for his continued preaching of the prophecies that predict the rise of fascism and formation of the Axis.

In 1999, Dr. Ryogen Nishiyama is discussing the use of chemicals which may assist crop yields across Japan. He is also arguing with local police about factory emissions. Later, in his home he receives threatening phone call about a similar matter. In a scientific meeting he discusses problems with the Minister of the Environment and other scientists which he says will affect the daily lives of the Japanese people. He participates in a Swiss conference about on how to deal with food shortages, overpopulation, and mysterious environmental events, such as large icebergs north of the Hawaiian islands. He discusses these matters in a ministerial meeting along with other mysterious happenings in Japan with the Prime Minister and other cabinet members. Meanwhile, the United Nations sends a scientific team to New Guinea to investigate and study radioactive dust clouds that have appeared there. When contact is lost with the team, Nishiyama joins a second mission to find and hopefully rescue the first team. They discover that the area where the first team was last seen is infested with mutated bats and radioactive leeches, which attack and knock one team member unconscious. A large group of cannibalistic natives attack the team, killing an unconscious member and scaring off the rest. While fleeing, they find the original team in a cave, barely alive. They are forced to mercy-kill the original team members, then bury all the dead.

After the events in New Guinea, an SST jet explodes in the atmosphere over Japan, puncturing the ozone layer and unleashing ultraviolet rays which cause massive floods throughout Japan and all over the world. These floods destroy the country's food production, leading the government to ration. Riots and looting begin spreading throughout Japan. Hundreds of youth commit suicide as society breaks down. The massive panic escalates into a local war and eventually a global nuclear conflict. Most of the survivors are rendered horribly disfigured and are left to fight over food among themselves.

Nishiyama then explains to the Japanese cabinet that these events may one day become a reality. The Prime Minister sends out a plea for assistance to set the country's troubled course on the right path so that future generations will be able to live and prosper. Afterwards Nishiyama, his daughter, and his photographer colleague Akira then leave the National Diet Building.

Staff

Main article: Prophecies of Nostradamus/Credits.

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

  • Directed by   Toshio Masuda
  • Written by   Toshio Masuda, Yoshimitsu Banno
  • Adapted from the screenplay for The Last War by   Toshio Yasumi
  • Based on the novel Great Prophecies of Nostradamus by   Tsutomu Goto
  • Inspired by the writings of   Michel de Nostredame
  • Produced by   Tomoyuki Tanaka, Osamu Tanaka
  • Music by   Isao Tomita
  • Cinematography by   Rokuro Nishigaki, Kaoru Washio
  • Edited by   Nobuo Ogawa
  • Production Design by   Yoshiro Muraki
  • Assistant Directing by   Yoshimitsu Banno, Fumisuke Okada
  • Special Effects by   Motoyoshi Tomioka, Takeshi Yamamoto, Yasuyuki Inoue, Teruyoshi Nakano, Koichi Kawakita

Cast

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

  • Tetsuro Tamba   as   Dr. Nishiyama
  • Kaoru Yumi   as   Mariko Nishiyama
  • Toshio Kurosawa   as   Akira Nakagawa
  • Yoko Tsukasa   as   Nobuko Nishiyama
  • Katsuhiko Sasaki   as   Yoshihama, assistant to Nishiyama
  • Takashi Shimura   as   Pediatrician
  • Akihiko Hirata   as   Environmental scientist #1
  • Hiroshi Koizumi   as   Environmental scientist #2
  • So Yamamura   as   Prime Minister Kuroki
  • Tappei Shimokawa   as   Captain of Defense Forces
  • Mizuho Suzuki   as   Director General of Environment Agency
  • Masaru Ryuzaki
  • Kazuo Kato   as   Scholar
  • Taketoshi Naito   as   Chief Cabinet Secretary
  • Jun Hamamura   as   Kida
  • Kyoko Kishida   as   Narrator (Japanese version)
  • Tetsu Nakamura   as   Katsuko Nakagawa, Akira's mother
  • Franz Gruber   as   Doctor Wilson
  • Osman Yusuf
  • Kuniyasu Atsumi   as   Scholar
  • Ralph Jesser   as   Party member 2
  • Shunsuke Kariya   as   Leader in crowd
  • Toshizo Kudo   as   Man who asks question
  • Chico Lourant   as   Nigerian ambassador
  • Masahiko Tanimura   as   Tayama
  • Yasuko Agawa   as   Kida's daughter (as Tomoe Mari)
  • Mikizo Hirata   as   Sanji Nakagawa, Akira's father
  • Kazuko Inano   as   Hamako Tayama, Tayama's wife
  • Sayoko Kato   as   Bus girl in Shikoku
  • Shosei Muto   as   Ihara
  • Goro Naya   as   TV newscaster
  • Yuji Osugi   as   Akira's brother
  • Kumeko Otowa   as   Kida's wife
  • Kaori Taniguchi   as   Orin
  • Toshiko Yabuki   as   Housewife who asks question
  • Mayako Yoshida   as   Wife of Akira's brother
  • Toshio Masuda   as   Voice
  • Jack Ryland   as   Narrator (American version)

Appearances

Monsters


Weapons, Vehicles, and Races

Gallery

Main article: Prophecies of Nostradamus/Gallery.

Soundtrack

Main article: Prophecies of Nostradamus (Soundtrack).

Production

Prophecies of Nostradamus was based on the first of ten books about Nostradamus by Tsutomu Goto. He first became interested in the physicist following the Apollo 11 moon landing, which Quatrain 9-85 appeared to have predicted.[2] Published during the 1973 oil shock, Goto's novel Great Prophecies of Nostradamus became a bestseller. Yoshimitsu Banno and Toshio Masuda wrote the script for Prophecies of Nostradamus from a Shibuya hotel in about ten days, though Masuda was not present for the full duration.[3] Toshio Yasumi also received a story credit, though the credits do not clarify that it was for his work on the earlier 1961 movie The Last War, which also featured a nuclear war with a sick mother as an emotional anchor.[4] Prophecies of Nostradamus incorporates a significant amount of stock footage from The Last War as well.

As assistant director, Banno was responsible for most of the New Guinea sequence. A Toho soundstage was damaged in a fire caused by one of the special effects scenes, with the ruined props including the original Moguera suit.[5]

Alternate Titles

  • Great Prophecies of Nostradamus (Literal Japanese Title)
  • Catastrophe 1999 (Original English Title)
  • The Last Days of Planet Earth (United States)
  • Nostradamus' End of the World: 2000 (Fin Du Monde Nostradamus - An 2000; France)
  • Catastrophe (Catastrofe; Italy)
  • The Prophecy of Nostradamus World Disaster in 1999? (Die Prophezeiung des Nostradamus Weltkatastrophe 1999?; West Germany)
  • The End of the World: The Prophecies of Nostradamus Fulfilled! (El Fin del Mundo ¡Las Profecías de Nostradamus se Cumplen!; Mexico)

Theatrical Releases

  • Japan - August 3, 1974  [view poster]Japanese poster
  • United States - July 13, 1979
  • France - September 25, 1974  [view poster]French poster
  • West Germany - May 22, 1975  [view poster]German poster
  • Mexico  [view poster]Mexican poster

U.S. Release

Prophecies of Nostradamus was released in the United States by Toho in 1979. The film's runtime had been cut from 114 to 87 minutes for international distribution. In the 1980's UPA acquired the rights to distribute the film on home video and television. UPA's 88-minute version of the film, titled The Last Days of Planet Earth, is based on Toho's 87-minute international version but also removes many of its more controversial scenes, while adding back in several scenes from the original Japanese release as well. It was released on VHS and Laserdisc in 1995 through Paramount.[5] This version remains the only legitimate release of the film to be available in the United States.

The many alterations made to the film include:

  • All quoted Nostradamus prophecies are omitted in favor of a new narrator, who provides additional moments of exposition that were not present in the original cut.
  • The opening, set in 1835 Japan, is removed.
  • The scene where Gengaku Nishiyama is being interrogated is cut entirely save for a couple shots of his face, which, when paired with the additional narration, suggest that he is Nostradamus.
  • A family dinner scene where Nishiyama discusses the famine in Africa is trimmed.
  • An entire subplot about Kida's mutated newborn grandson is removed entirely. All mentions of it are deleted from previous scenes.
  • The love-making scene between Akira and Mariko is mostly left intact, save for the cropping to hide the nudity, but the part where Mariko says she's crying because she's happy is trimmed.
  • A scene where Nishiyama interacts with a sick girl and her family is removed.
  • A moment where Nishiyama finds the natives eating Frank is removed entirely.
  • A shot of one of the zombified research party member's arms falling off is replaced with a reaction shot from Nishiyama.
  • A shot from the end of the movie where a soft-bodied human is biting into a snake is removed.
  • The scene where Nobuko dies is extensively trimmed, ending before Akira enters.
  • A scene where Mariko tells Akira she's pregnant is trimmed and ends as he starts chasing after her.
  • Most of the resolution of the movie is cut in favor of footage of violence and explosions, most of which was shown earlier.

Unmade Sequel

Tomoyuki Tanaka proposed a sequel for the film in 1974, the year of the film's theatrical premiere, aimed for a 1975 release. The proposed sequel was tentatively titled Prophecies of Nostradamus II: The Great King of Terror (ノストラダムスの大予言II 恐怖の大魔王,   Nosutoradamusu no Daiyogen Tsū Kyōfu no Dai Maō), and would follow the character Tsutomu Goto (named after the author of the novel upon which the first film was based) as he attempts to contact the spirit of Michel de Nostredame in order to avert the impending end of the world.[6]

Videos

Trailers

Japanese Prophecies of Nostradamus trailer
AMC The Last Days of Planet Earth promo

Other

10-minute digest version of
Prophecies of Nostradamus (fan-made)

Trivia

  • Following the film's release, various anti-nuclear and atomic bomb survivor advocate groups filed a complaint to the Eirin Board, which was in charge of censoring films in Japan. They protested that the scenes depicting the mutant humans created by nuclear fallout were offensive towards survivors of the atomic bombs. In response, Toho removed several minutes of footage from the film and added dialogue to humanize the mutants. The international English version of the film, dubbed in Hong Kong, restores this footage, although it is significantly shorter overall. In 1980, Toho aired the uncut 114-minute version of the film on television, which was the last time the film was ever shown. In the United States in the 1980's, the film's runtime was cut down to 88 minutes and it was released as The Last Days of Planet Earth. Toho has yet to release any cut of the film for the home video market in Japan due to having placed it under a self-imposed studio ban, while only cut versions are available overseas.[5] Bootlegs of the uncut film do still circulate around the world.
  • This film depicts the destruction of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, which was the site of a real-life nuclear disaster following the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami.
  • Many special effect shots from the finale of The Last War are used for scenes showing the nuclear war at the film's climax.

External Links

References

This is a list of references for Prophecies of Nostradamus. 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. Prophecies of Nostradamus (film). Japanese Wikipedia. Retrieved on 18 April 2019.
  2. Larimer, Tim (5 July 1999). Tick ... Tick ... Tick .... TIME.
  3. PROPHECIES OF NOSTRADAMUS (1974). Classic Horror Film Board. Retrieved on 18 April 2019.
  4. Guy Mariner Tucker. Age of the Gods: A History of the Japanese Fantasy Film. Daikaiju Publishing. p. 223. 1996.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 L. Carrozza, Jules. About the Film. PROPHECIES OF NOSTRADAMUS.
  6. Toho Special Effects Movie Complete Works. Village Books. p. 178. 28 September 2012. ISBN: 9784864910132.

Comments

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ShodaiMeesmothLarva

33 months ago
Score 1
I wonder where I can find the uncut version of this film, in the Philippines.
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