The Secret of the Telegian (1960)
|Transforming Human Series|
Here Comes the TELEGIAN!! The World Is Terrorized.
— International tagline
The Secret of the Telegian (電送人間 is a Densō Ningen, lit. "The Telegraphic Man")1960 tokusatsu science fiction thriller film directed by Jun Fukuda and written by Shinichi Sekizawa, with special effects by Eiji Tsuburaya. Produced by Toho, it is the second entry in the studio's Transforming Human Series, following The H-Man and preceding The Human Vapor. It stars Koji Tsuruta, Yumi Shirakawa, Seizaburo Kawazu, Yoshio Tsuchiya, Tadao Nakamaru, Akihiko Hirata, Takamaru Sasaki, Yoshibumi Tajima, and Fuyuki Murakami. The film was released to Japanese theaters by Toho on April 10, 1960.
A man named Tsukamoto is stabbed to death with a bayonet inside a haunted cave attraction at a thriller park. Masaru Kirioka, a science journalist for the Toto Newspaper, gets to the scene before the police and finds a strange wire on the ground. Detective Okazaki of the Tokyo Police finds Kirioka snooping around the crime scene and takes him outside, then brings the witnesses into the cave to try and refresh their memory of the event. All of the witnesses state that they only saw the killer from behind, and that he promptly ran off down another tunnel. No other signs of the killer can be located, and the only leads detectives have to go by are a military I.D. tag and note found on Tsukamoto's body. The note cryptically instructs Tsukamoto to meet the writer in the Cave of Horror, in order to "learn what happened 14 years ago." In the office at the military cabaret Daihonei, the head of Hainan Trading, Masayoshi Onishi, meets with the club's proprietor Gen Ryusho to discuss Tsukamoto's murder. Ryu is convinced that Tsukamoto was murdered by Lance Corporal Sudo, but Onishi believes he was killed by Taki, another man who served with them all in World War II and currently works as a construction contractor. Onishi says that Taki must suspect they found the gold they hid 14 years ago, while in reality they had earned their fortune through smuggling. Meanwhile, Kirioka brings the wire to his boss, Dr. Miura, who identifies it as a cryotron, a type of switch used in place of a transistor much like a vacuum tube. While it is much smaller in size than any available transistor, a cryotron comes with the drawback that it must be kept constantly at a temperature of 4 degrees Celsius in order to function, hence the "cryo-" in its name. Elsewhere, a strange man named Goro Nakamoto arrives at the Nippo Seiki Corporation office to inquire about refrigeration units he had ordered. Akiko Chujo, a saleswoman for the company, informs Nakamoto that the last two of the four units he had ordered have already been sent to his address. Nakamoto says he must have just missed them and thanks Akiko, chuckling ominously to himself. While the man is polite, Akiko is slightly unnerved by his cold demeanor and laughter.
Kirioka decides to further investigate Tsukamoto's murder himself and visits his apartment. The landlady tells Kirioka that Tsukamoto worked as a broker and seemed to do well for himself financially, but kept to himself mostly. She gives Kirioka permission to investigate the apartment. As Kirioka walks toward Tsukamoto's apartment, he accidentally bumps into Akiko when she walks out of her apartment, causing her to drop a bouquet of flowers. Kirioka helps her pick them back up, but keeps one of the roses she left behind in his pocket. Kirioka finally enters Tsukamoto's apartment and finds nothing of interest. As he opens a door to another room, he finds himself held at gunpoint by a man on the other side only to realize it is Detective Okazaki. Okazaki is accompanied by Inspector Kobayashi, a college friend of Kirioka. The two men decide to combine their efforts and investigate the case together, with their next target being the Daihonei. As they sit at a table inside the club, Kirioka finally asks Kobayashi what they are doing there. Kobayashi explains that the police have been investigating the club for a while as a potential front for a smuggling ring led by Gen Ryusho. In Ryu's office, he sees Kobayashi and Kirioka through a one-way mirror and points out their presence to Onishi. They assume the police are here because they could not find any evidence in Tsukamoto's apartment, as he was too careful to leave incriminating evidence behind. As the two men plot to have Taki killed, still believing him responsible for the murder, one of the club's waitresses enters and says someone has arrived to meet them. She shows them a military I.D. tag, saying the man claimed they would recognize him from it. The caller turns out to be Taki, who is visibly frightened and asks Ryu and Onishi to leave him alone. When they ask what he is talking about, he reveals that he received the I.D. tag in the mail and believed Ryu and Onishi were threatening him with it. They explain that they have been receiving the tags as well and had assued Taki was behind it. One of the club's workers enters the room with a package someone had told him to bring to the men. When the three open it up, they find a tape inside. They put the tape in a player, and laugh as they hear it playing the sounds of an intimate moment between a man and woman. Suddenly the tape produces gunshot and explosion noises, followed by an ominous voice, which asks if they recognize those sounds. The voice introduces itself as Lance Corporal Sudo, and claims he will soon have his revenge on the three men who betrayed him 14 years ago: Lieutenant Onishi, Intelligence Agent Ryu, and Construction Corporal Taki. Sudo says he has already exacted his revenge on Sergeant Tsukamoto, and will next kill Ryu, then Taki, and finally Onishi. Sudo closes by promising he will personally escort all three men to hell before the tape finally ends. The three men leave the club to try and find the employee who brought them the tape, but are informed he went off looking for the man who delivered it in the first place. They return to Ryu's office to discuss what they will do next, just as a man wearing an employee's uniform enters the room. But this man is not quite normal, as he is surrounded in a blue glow that shifts and warps as if it were static on a television display. As the man draws nearer, the three quickly realize that it is Sudo. Sudo lunges at Ryu, who reaches into a drawer to grab his pistol. Sudo traps Ryu's hand in the drawer by slamming it shut and raises a bayonet to his face. Ryu fruitlessly fires the gun from inside the drawer, the gunshots drawing the attention of Kirioka and Kobayashi. When they arrive, they find that Ryu has already been fatally stabbed, with the perpetrator escaping through the window. Sudo begins driving away in a car, pursued by police. He finally ditches the car near several storage warehouses and runs off with the police pursuing him on foot. Sudo encounters Akiko as she is walking down the sidewalk and grabs her from behind, knocking her unconscious and abducting her. Sudo begins carrying Akiko with him, but is forced to drop her when he sees his pursuers drawing near. Kirioka wakes Akiko up and brings her to the police, who have seemingly cornered Sudo inside a warehouse. However, smoke begins to pour from the window, after which a strange machine inside explodes. The police investigate the warehouse but can find nothing except the uniform Sudo was wearing. The machine is damaged beyond recognition, though Kirioka suggests it kind of looks like a refrigeration unit.
In Onishi's office, he argues with Taki about going to the police for help. Onishi says that if they talk to the police they will be alerted to his criminal activities, and he points out that Taki is just as guilty for Sudo's attempted murder as the rest of them were. Taki says he does not care and expresses his intention to contact the police. He opens the door while Onishi tries to stop him, only to find Kobayashi and Kirioka on the other side. Kobayashi tries to convince the two to explain the situation so that the police can protect him, but Onishi insists he has nothing to say. Taki however is more than willing to talk, and realizing this Onishi finally agrees to explain the situation. He tells Kobayashi and Kirioka to sit down, and tells them exactly what happened 14 years ago.
- On the day of Japan's surrender at the end of World War II, Onishi, Tsukamoto, Ryu, and Taki were to escort a military scientist named Dr. Nikki from Tokyo to a secret mountain headquarters in Nagano, with Lance Corporal Sudo on duty. However, the four men had conspired to smuggle gold bars they stole from the military into a hidden cave. They filled crates which were supposed to carry Nikki's research with the gold, and traveled to a different secluded cave instead of Nagano. As Tsukamoto and Sudo were carrying one of the crates, Sudo tripped and caused the crate to spill its contents. Nikki and Sudo were shocked that the crate contained a supply of gold bars instead of Nikki's research, and confronted Onishi about it. Onishi claimed that there was no need for Nikki's research after Japan's surrender, and that money was all that mattered now. Infuriated, Sudo drew his gun on Onishi, demanding he return the stolen gold. Ryu reached into Tsukamoto's pocket and drew his bayonet, then threw it directly into Sudo's chest. Onishi then drew his handgun and fired three bullets directly into Sudo's face, causing him to seemingly drop to the ground dead. Taki lit the dynamite to seal the cave and warned the others to leave now. Onishi shot Nikki repeatedly and left him for dead along with Sudo before escaping with the others. The explosion sealed the cave, but when the men returned later to retrieve the gold, they found no sign of it nor Nikki and Sudo's bodies. Most ominously, they found Sudo's I.D. tag seemingly marking the entrance.
After this meeting, Kirioka visits Akiko's apartment with a bouquet of flowers to ensure she is okay after her run-in with Sudo. Akiko jokingly says she is fine and is just a coward, but Kirioka responds that anyone would have been frightened in that situation. A deliveryman then knocks on the door and delivers a larger bouquet of flowers sent by Goro Nakamoto as a sign of gratitude for the refrigeration units which were successfully delivered. Kirioka bids Akiko farewell and visits Dr. Miura with Kobayashi, as Miura was a colleague of Nikki. Miura tells them about Nikki's work, saying he had been researching electricity for the military. Nikki's work was focused on investigating a way to transmit solid matter through space in the same manner as images were broadcast to television screens. This theoretical concept was called "telepathy-teleportation," and involved the transmission of brain waves. Miura says that since ancient times the yogi masters of India had studied this concept, and that Nikki had nearly found a way to turn what was otherwise a superstitious fantasy into reality, in much the same way mankind had made space travel a possibility. Kirioka and Kobayashi head back to the police station, and on the way Kirioka raises the possibility that Nikki's matter transmission research may have something to do with the murders, explaining the strange glow surrounding the suspect and the unusual quality of his voice. He points out that the cryotron he found could be connected as well, explaining the refrigeration machine found in the warehouse, which could have been used to keep cryotrons at a constant low temperature. When the men arrive at the police station, Kirioka suggests they investigate a place called Kotani Ranch, the address of Goro Nakamoto. Kirioka believes it is suspicious that Nakamoto ordered so many refrigeration units and may be connected to the case. Kirioka calls the Nippo Seiko Corporation to talk to Akiko, and learns that Nakamoto asked her to travel to Kotani that day. He tells Kobayashi he will catch up with Akiko and visit Kotani with her to investigate, just as Okazaki arrives and informs them that Taki has just received a death threat. A police bodyguard has been stationed in Taki's apartment while officers will set up a perimeter around it. Kobayashi and Okazaki will keep watch over Taki while Kirioka investigates Kotani Ranch.
When Kirioka and Akiko arrive at Kotani that evening, they find the ranch eerily quiet and barren. They are greeted by Nakamoto, who is just as odd and suspicious as the last time Akiko saw him. Kirioka tries to convince Nakamoto to let him inspect the refrigeration units, under the guise that he is an inspector for Nippo Seiki Corp., but Nakamoto insists the units are working perfectly fine. Kirioka asks why Nakamoto had them come here then, but Nakamoto replies that he only wanted to see Akiko. Nakamoto says it is too late to send them home, and instructs them to stay in the guest bedrooms inside the ranch house. Nakamoto then dismisses himself, claiming he likes to go to bed early. Inside her bedroom, Akiko is startled by what sounds like an earthquake and expresses her concern to Kirioka. Just as the two prepare to go out and investigate, they are confronted by Nakamoto, who asks why they cannot sleep. They mention the noise from outside, and Nakamoto replies that it is the nearby volcano, which has recently become increasingly active and may erupt at any time. He then exits the room through a door. Back in Tokyo, Okazaki, Kobayashi, and other officers have set up a secure perimeter around Taki's apartment, with one officer inside the apartment and many others outside. A truck carrying a large package begins approaching the area, but is stopped by a police officer who asks the driver what he is carrying. The driver says it seems to be a construction machine, which was ordered by Taki's company. The officer tells the driver to bring him to Taki's apartment and gets in the truck. When the truck arrives, Kobayashi and Okazaki investigate the package, but find nothing inside. However, the officer who accompanied the driver is nowhere to be found. Inside the apartment, Taki offers the police officer watching him a drink, only to realize that the officer is Sudo. The dead body of the officer who was watching Taki then drops out from behind the curtains. As soon as Kobayashi and Okazaki realize the trap, they find Taki dead in his apartment along with the officer, with Sudo having escaped through the window. The police give chase and track Sudo down to a train yard, but can find no sign of him. They see a train leaving the station, but give up the search. At Kotani Ranch, Kirioka and Akiko sneak into the house's basement but find all of the doors down there locked. Kirioka looks through a keyhole and sees someone inside one of the rooms, only for Nakamoto to appear behind them and remark how inquisitive they are. He then instructs them to return to their rooms. Meanwhile, a car on the train which recently departed the station in Tokyo explodes. The police find the exact same machine from the warehouse inside.
Kirioka and Akiko meet with Kobayashi and the rest of the police to discuss what to do next. Kirioka expresses his belief that Sudo and Goro Nakamoto are one and the same. Nakamoto established a perfect alibi by having Akiko present at Kotani to confirm his presence there that night while using a transmitting machine to travel to Tokyo, murder Taki, and return in a matter of minutes. He also says he is certain someone else was inside the ranch house besides Nakamoto, and believes it may be Dr. Nikki. He suggests the police return to the ranch to carry out a thorough search, and bring Dr. Miura along to confirm Nikki's identity. In the meantime, Onishi and several henchmen arrive on a remote island near the Murazaki Peninsula, where a typhoon is soon expected to hit. Onishi and his men hide inside a cottage on the island that he owns, but the woman who watches over the property gives him a letter she received addressed to him. It is a threat from Sudo, claiming he will kill Onishi by noon today. The police then travel to Kotani Ranch with a search warrant, but Nakamoto confronts them just outside the property with a gun pointed at them. He demands that they all leave, but a voice over an intercom instructs him to let them in. Nakamoto begrudgingly brings the police into the lab, where they encounter Dr. Nikki. Miura asks why Nikki has been hiding for all this time, and Nikki says that he believed after the war that his work would not be wanted. Miura asks how Nikki survived, and Nikki reveals that he is confined to a wheelchair and missing both of his legs. Kirioka asks if he has completed his Object Transmitting Machine, and Nikki shows him the vacuum tube for the completed machine. He says that the device is nearly entirely complete, but points out that the vacuum tube may become melted and warp the image that is transmitted. Kirioka says that explains the strange appearance of the murderer's face, and Nikki asks what he means. Kobayashi explains that Nakamoto has been using Nikki's machine to transmit himself to the locations of his victims, only to realize Nakamoto is gone. The police fan out and search the property, but can find Nakamoto nowhere. Detective Morane, one of Kobayashi's colleagues, arrives and informs the police that Onishi has requested police protection. Miura asks Nikki to come with him for his own safety, but Nikki refuses, saying he is perfectly fine on his own.
One of the fishermen on the island where Onishi is hiding tells another fisherman that the typhoon is expected to bypass the island, though the weather will still be to poor for fishing. He asks if the other fisherman told Onishi about a package that arrived for him from Tokyo, but he replies that he forgot. The first fisherman reminds him to tell Onishi tomorrow, and says that until then he put the package in the shed where they keep their fishing gear. As Kirioka, Kobayashi, and Okazaki drive to the Murazaki Peninsula, Kirioka remarks that he is concerned that Nakamoto might have stayed behind at the ranch and hid, as he likely would not flee just to return for his machine. True to Kirioka's warning, Sudo confronts Nikki in his lab. Nikki is infuriated that Sudo was using his invention for murder and says he no longer wants him as his assistant. Sudo tries to grab the vacuum tube, but Nikki tries to stop him. Sudo responds by strangling Nikki. In the struggle, Nikki tears off the mask on Sudo's face concealing the hideous scars he received from being shot 14 years ago. Sudo overpowers Nikki and causes him to pass out, then brings the vacuum tube to the machine. Sudo activates the machine and transmits himself to the shed on the island where Onishi is hiding. As the police close in on Onishi's cottage, Sudo breaks in and shoots Onishi's henchmen dead. Onishi tries to grab a gun but Sudo picks it up first. Sudo toys with Onishi by firing both guns at the ground and at nearby liquor bottles. The gunshots alert the police who prepare to breach the cottage. Sudo tosses the guns aside and draws a bayonet, then finally stabs Onishi to death. The police confront Sudo and tell him to surrender, but he defiantly leaps through the window and flees back to the shed. Back at Kotani Ranch, Nikki awakens and desperately crawls into the room with his machine. Nikki tries desperately to shut it down as the volcano outside the ranch begins to erupt. Nikki successfully shuts down the machine and collapses, after which the tremors from the eruption cause the ceiling to cave in. Nikki is crushed by falling debris along with the machine, destroying all of his work for good and ensuring it can never again be used for evil. Unaware of this, Sudo retreats back into the shed and holds the police off with gunfire before entering the secondary transmitting machine inside and attempting to transmit himself back to Kotani. Believing himself victorious, Sudo laughs maniacally at the police from inside the machine. However, Sudo begins to twist and warp inside the machine as it sparks, causing Kirioka to remark that something is wrong. Sudo screams in agony as he is torn apart inside the machine before finally being wiped from existence once the machine explodes.
- Main article: The Secret of the Telegian/Credits.
Staff role on the left, staff member's name on the right.
- Directed by Jun Fukuda
- Written by Shinichi Sekizawa
- Executive producer Tomoyuki Tanaka
- Music by Sei Ikeno
- Cinematography by Kazuo Yamada
- Edited by Ichiji Taira
- Production design by Hyoe Hamagami
- 1st assistant director Takashi Nagano
- Director of special effects Eiji Tsuburaya
- 1st assistant director of special effects Teruyoshi Nakano
Actor's name on the left, character played on the right.
International English dub
Actor's name on the left, character played on the right.
- Nick Kendall as Masayoshi Onishi
- Ted Thomas as Inspector Kobayashi / Dr. Yoshiki Nikki / Gen Ryusho[note 1] / Genzo / Tamagawaen director / Ida
Weapons, vehicles, and races
- Main article: The Secret of the Telegian/Gallery.
- Main article: The Secret of the Telegian/Soundtrack.
- The Telegraphic Man (literal Japanese title)
- The Secret of the Electric Man (O Segredo do Homem Elétrico; Brazil)
- The Telegian (early unused U.S. title)
- Japan - April 10, 1960
Editions of the Los Angeles Times from July 19-23, 1961 list the film as playing in the Toho La Brea Theater, presumably in Japanese with English subtitles, as the English dubbed version bears a later 1963 copyright date.
The North American theatrical distribution rights for The Secret of the Telegian were acquired by Herts-Lion International Corp. in 1964. Though Herts-Lion initially planned to release the film theatrically, it ultimately decided to simply release a black-and-white print of Toho's international English dubbed version of the film directly to television in 1964.
- Region: 2
- Discs: 1
- Audio: Japanese
- Subtitles: Japanese
- Special features: Audio commentary by Tadao Nakamaru, theatrical trailer, galleries of behind-the-scenes and promotional images, featurette with Koichi Kawakita, booklet
- Region: A
- Discs: 2
- Audio: Japanese (Mono, 3.1)
- Subtitles: Japanese
- Special features: Audio commentaries for The H-Man (Kenji Sahara), The Secret of the Telegian (Tadao Nakamaru), and The Human Vapor (Kaoru Yachigusa)
- Notes: Packaged with Invisible Man, The H-Man, and The Human Vapor.
- The Secret of the Telegian is the only entry in the Transforming Human Series to not receive a wide theatrical release in North America.
- Originally, Ishiro Honda was meant to direct this film, but he left it to direct Battle in Outer Space (which had been delayed due to the production of The Three Treasures), instead. In his place, Toho chose Jun Fukuda, who had previously acted as an assistant director on Rodan, to direct the film. Honda would go on to direct the third entry in the Transforming Human Series, The Human Vapor, later in 1960.
- Called "Takashi" in the English version.
This is a list of references for The Secret of the Telegian. 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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