Prophecies of Nostradamus (1974)
Prophecies of Nostradamus (ノストラダムスの大予言 is a Nosutoradamusu no Daiyogen, lit. Great Prophecies of Nostradamus)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.
In 1835, Gentetsu Nishiyama begins preaching the prophecies of Michel de Nostredame using a copy of his book, "Centuries." He is then executed by the Tokugawa Shogunate for supposed heresy, his wife and son escape with the book. At the onset of World War II, his descendant, Gengaku, is interrogated by an Imperial Japanese Army officer about the family's continued preaching of the prophecies, which predicted the rise of Nazism and the Axis defeat.
In 1999, biologist Dr. Ryogen Nishiyama is called in to analyze recent scientific phenomena, such as the appearance of giant mutant slugs, children wielding advanced abilities, and large ice packs just north of Hawaii. He is also a leading figure in the fight against environmental pollution and the global arms race, as well as global disasters. The UN sends a research expedition to New Guinea to investigate a radioactive dust cloud that appeared over the island, but the team suddenly goes out of contact. Nishiyama joins a second team to find them and discover that the area around the team's last known position is now infested by mutant bats, one of whom kills a team member. Nishiyama's group finds the remains of the original team, but are disheartened that some of them are barely alive; they are forced to kill the survivors. After cannibals attack the team's dead colleague, they bury all the members.
An SST jet explodes in the atmosphere over Japan, with the explosion puncturing the ozone layer and unleashing ultraviolet rays below. The polar icecaps melt triggering massive floods in Japan. After more natural disasters hit the country, the civilian populace turns to looting as rationing takes effect. Society breaks down further, with several people committing suicide. The panic escalates until nuclear war breaks out and mutated survivors fight each other for food.
It is revealed that the nuclear war is one of many nightmare scenarios Nishiyama is explaining before the Japanese Cabinet. As the prime minister explains a resolve to find a solution, Nishiyama, his daughter Mariko, and her boyfriend Akira (Nishiyama's colleague) leave the Diet complex.
Staff role on the left, staff member's name on the right.
- Directed by Toshio Masuda
- Written by Yoshimitsu Banno
- Screenplay by Toshio Masuda
- 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 and Osamu Tanaka
- Music by Isao Tomita
- Cinematography by Rokuro Nishigaki
- Edited by Nobuo Ogawa
- Assistant Directing by Yoshimitsu Banno, Koji Hashimoto, Tadashi Masamori, Tsunesaburo Nishikawa, Fumisake Okada, Takao Okawara, and Shindo Yasuda
- Special Effects by Teruyoshi Nakano, Kenichi Eguchi, Yasuyuki Inoue, Koichi Kawakita
Actor's name on the left, character played on the right.
- Tetsuro Tanba 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 The 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 The Scholar
- Ralph Jesser as Party Member 2
- Shunsuke Kariya as Leader in Crowd
- Toshizô Kudô as Man Who Asks a Question
- Chico Roland 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 Katô as Bus Girl in Shikoku
- Shôsei Mutô as Ihara
- Gorô 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 a Question
- Mayako Yoshida as Wife of Akira's Brother
- Toshio Masuda as Voice
- Jack Ryland as Narrator (American version)
Weapons, Vehicles, and Races
- Main article: Prophecies of Nostradamus/Gallery.
- Main article: Prophecies of Nostradamus (Soundtrack).
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. 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. 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. 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.
- 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)
- Japan - August 3, 1974 [view poster]
- United States - July 13, 1979
- France - September 25, 1974 [view poster]
- West Germany - May 22, 1975 [view poster]
- Mexico [view poster]
Prophecies of Nostradamus was released in the United States by Toho in 1979. The film's runtime had been cut from 116 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 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 the more controversial scenes retained in the international version and incorporates several scenes from the original Japanese release as well, with its runtime reduced to 88 minutes. It was released on VHS and Laserdisc in 1995 through Paramount. This version remains the only legitimate release of the film to be available in the United States.
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: Great Devil King of Terror (ノストラダムスの大予言ＩＩ 恐怖の大魔王, 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. Nosutoradamusu no Daiyogen Tsū Kyōfu no Dai Maō)
- 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 116-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. 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.
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