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. Based on Tsutomu Goto's 1973 novel Great Prophecies of Nostradamus, it was released to Japanese theaters on August 3, 1974. A heavily-edited version of the film entitled The Last Days of Planet Earth was syndicated in the United States beginning in 1981.
In the spring of 1853, schoolmaster Genta Nishiyama begins preaching the prophecies of Michel de Nostredame using the book Centuries. Nishiyama is then executed by members of 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.
- Main article: Prophecies of Nostradamus/Credits.
Staff role on the left, staff member's name on the right.
- Directed by Toshio Masuda
- Associate director Yoshimitsu Banno
- 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
- 1st assistant director Fumisuke Okada
- Director of special effects Teruyoshi Nakano
- 1st assistant director of special effects Koichi Kawakita
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
- Katsu Ryuzaki as Daikon
- 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 as Foreign reporter
- 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
International English dub
Actor's name on the left, character played on the right.
- Matthew Oram as Dr. Nishiyama
- Barry Haigh as Akira Nakagawa / Prime Minister Kuroki
- Michael Ross as Director General of Environment Agency / Dr. Wilson / Daikon
Actor's name on the left, character played on the right.
- Jack Ryland as Narrator
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)
- Catastrophe - Prophecies of Nostradamus (Catástrofe - Profecias de Nostradamus; Brazil)
- Japan - August 3, 1974 [view poster]
- France - September 25, 1974 [view poster]
- West Germany - May 22, 1975 [view poster]
- Mexico [view poster]
Toho reduced the film to 89 minutes for international distribution. This shortened version was subsequently dubbed into English in Hong Kong.
In 1980, UPA acquired the rights to distribute the film on home video and television. UPA's subsequent version, titled The Last Days of Planet Earth and running 87 minutes, is based on Toho's international version but also removes some 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. This version remains the only legitimate release of the film 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 1853 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.
- Footage from a subplot involving Kita's mutated grandchild that was cut from the film's international edit is reinstated in this version, albeit presented without context and consisting of three shots where no dialogue is spoken.
- 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.
- Prior to the native attack scene, Nishiyama examines a lighter. In the US version, a brief cutaway from a scene earlier in the film is inserted showing a member of the first research party trying and failing to light a cigarette with his own lighter, which ends with Nishiyama saying "Fire is most important in the jungle" before cutting back to the current scene.
- 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.
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, 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 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 87 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.
- On July 25, 1974, Fuji TV aired an hour-long special about the film during their "Thursday Report" block, entitled (Secret) Prophecies of Nostradamus (㊙ノストラダムスの大予言. It featured several prophets and experts on meteorology and food ecology giving their respective takes on the 1999 apocalypse Nostradamus predicted. Performers Hiroshi Itsuki, Shizue Abe and Linda Yamamoto appeared in the special, as well as the film's stars, Tetsuro Tanba, Yoko Tsukasa, Toshio Kurosawa and Yumi Kaoru. Hi Nosutoradamusu no Daiyogen)
- 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.
- The film's Italian poster, as well as its opening credits, list several actors who do not appear in any version of the movie. These same mysterious actors are also credited in the French opening credits.
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: 
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