Written by: Michael Den Boer on June 9th, 2007
Theatrical Release Dates: Japan, 1965
Director: Ishirô Honda
Cast: Tadao Takashima, Nick Adams, Kumi Mizuno, Yoshio Tsuchiya, Koji Furuhata, Jun Tazaki, Susumu Fujita, Takashi Shimura
DVD released: June 26th, 2007
Approximate running time: 90 minutes (Japanese Version), 84 minutes (U.S. Version)
Aspect Ratio: 2.35.1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1 Japanese, Dolby Digital Mono Japanese, Dolby Digital 5.1 English, Dolby Digital Mono English
DVD Release: Media Blasters / Tokyo Shock
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.95
Synopsis: In the final days of World War 2 the Nazi’s transport Frankenstein’s heart to Japan. The Japanese would not have chance to experiment of Frankenstein’s heart because the allied forces would drop a bomb on Hiroshima which would destroy almost everything living except Frankenstein’s heart. Years Later it is discovered that a young boy is the product of the Frankenstein experiments. The boy quickly grows at a rapid rate before finally escaping one day. Around the same time emerges a monster named Baragon who destroys everything in its path. Japan’s only hope for survival now rests on the shoulders of the young boy with Frankenstein’s heart.
Frankenstein Conquers the World was one of the first Japanese / U.S. co-productions of Kaiju Eiga films. Past collaborations involved shooting new scenes for foreign markets and many times removing scenes. In the directors’ chair once again is Ishirô Honda who pulls out all the stops in Frankenstein Conquers the World. With the end result being his greatest achievement as film director. The direction is flawless with every frame used to its fullest and every moment perfectly orchestrated to their maximum effect.
The story which makes reference to Japan’s downfall in world war two is nicely woven into a plot which involves Frankenstein’s heart. What makes the plot works so well is that Honda approaches the Frankenstein character just like it is approached in just about every adaptation of the character. He makes use feel for Frankenstein and while down playing the characters darker side. Also credit must be given to Koji Furuhata the actor who plays the Frankenstein monster. He is remarkable as he conveys so much through his mannerisms and grunts. It is a shame that he only made a handful of films with Frankenstein Conquers the World being one of his final performances.
Overall the rest of the cast includes many Toho stock players like Tadao Takashima, Kumi Mizuno and Yoshio Tsuchiya. And they are all very good in their respective roles. American actor Nick Adems who would also star in the Kaiju Eiga film Godzilla vs. Monster Zero gives a solid performance as Dr. James Bowen. Akira Ifukube as usual provides another memorable score to yet another Ishirô Honda. The special effects look really good and feature some of Eiji Tsuburaya best work as the director of special effects. Ultimately Frankenstein Conquers the World is mixing pot of ideas that director Ishirô Honda effortlessly meshes together making this film one of his most bizarre and without a doubt entertaining films of his career.
Frankenstein Conquers the World is presented in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the films original 2.35:1 aspect ratio. Both the Japanese and U.S. versions of the films look colorful and nicely saturated. Details look sharp and both transfer are free of any major print damage.
The Japanese version comes with two audio options. A Dolby Digital 5.1 remix and a Dolby Digital mono mix. Both audio mixes are in Japanese and removable English subtitles have been included. The U.S. version comes with two audio options. A Dolby Digital 5.1 remix and a Dolby Digital mono mix. Both of these audio mixes are in English. There really are not many differences between any of the four audio mixes. There audio is clear and free of any major defects.
Extras for this release are spread over two discs. Disc one includes the films international trailer and trailers for Atragon, Dogora, Matango and The Mysterians. The main extra on disc one is an audio commentary with sound effects supervisor Sadamasa Nishimoto who discusses in great detail working director Ishiro Honda and working on Frankenstein Conquers the World.
Extras on disc two include a special announcement and trailer for Frankenstein Conquers the World and an extensive gallery of lobby cards, stills, comic book art, ads and DVD cover art. Other extras include eighty seconds of shots deleted during editing and two scenes that were shot for overseas versions of the film. Rounding out the extras is a twelve minute scene shot for the international version of the film where Frankenstein battles an over-sized Octopus.
Overall Frankenstein Conquers the World gets a spectacular release from Media Blasters that will blow away even the most hardcore fans of this film, highly recommended.