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Half Human (1958)
Topic Started: Jun 23 2018, 10:06 AM (144 Views)
Laughing Gravy
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Half Human (1958) Dir. Kenneth G. Crane & Ishirō Honda
DCA / Toho
63 min. / B&W / 1.33:1

ITB Strange Science Cinema #170

John Carradine returns from a scientific expedition in Japan and sits around his desk with two buddies, chain-smoking all, as he relates the story of what happened there: the discovery of the Abominable Snowman & Son (in Japan?). When some unscrupulous poachers kidnap the Snowman and kill Junior, papa goes on a rampage.

VERY surprising movie: ostensibly because the film insults the villagers of Nagano in the Japanese mountain region, it was rarely shown even back in the day (it was produced in 1954, right after Godzilla, by all the same people) and the American bastardized version has no fans, it seems. While the original (30 min. longer) Japanese version remains in the vault, all we have is the U.S. cut: about half the movie missing, no Japanese dialog or dubbing (John Carradine narrates the whole thing), generic soundtrack instead of the original score. But the original Japanese sequences that do survive - very much an homage to King Kong in style and mood - are some of the best I've ever seen in a Toho picture. It's a damn shame that every few minutes, Mr. Carradine interrupts to explain to his buddies what we all just saw, what's about to happen, and what the Snowman's psychological reasoning was for what it did(!). Those sequences - which include Dr. Morris Ankrum showing up to perform an autopsy on Junior's empty monster costume - are surefire laugh getters, so it's not like they're not entertaining. Between those bits and the original Toho sequences, this movie is pretty much a non-stop attention-grabber. I loved it.

Million-dollar Scientific Dialog:

Dr. Ankrum: "The vocal chords are something that I have never before seen. They are not sufficiently developed for speech, yet the throat palate proves that he could bellow like an animal and yet cry and whimper like a human being!"

The "throat palate"?

Half Human, which originally played on a double-bill with the similarly-messy Monster from Green Hell, is not currently available on DVD or Criterion Blu-ray.

Also on the Program

For the kiddies, a trio of color cartoons, including Mr. Magoo heading to the beach but landing in the middle of a desert instead in Magoo Beats the Heat; a wonderful Mighty Mouse operetta cartoon called Gypsy Life, with those flying cat-bats back from the previous Super Mouse cartoon Pandora's Box; and Superman battling a gorilla in Terror on the Midway.

Then it was "Between Two Fires", the tenth tense episode of Superman. Jimmy gets beaten up (again) and Lois finds herself facing certain death (again).

We closed off with not one, not two, not four, but three outstanding trailers for upcoming sci-fi masterpieces: From the Earth to the Moon, Journey to the Center of the Earth, and The Lost World! Wow-wowee-wow!
"I'm glad that this question came up, because there are so many ways to answer it that one of them is bound to be right." - Robert Benchley
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Movie Watcha Foist Class
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Doesn't seem to be lost-- and I THINK I have the Japanese version here somewhere.
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