At the Oscars last night Brad Pitt revealed that WAR OF THE GARGANTUAS, a lesser known Toho movie, is what made him want to be an actor.
I think we can all agree that last night's Oscar show was kind of boring, both as an entertainment program and as an awards show. There were few surprises during the night and Billy Crystal appears to have been raised by the dead by a terrible voudoun magic. But if you're like me you perked up quite a bit when, during one of the interminable "Hooray For Movies" segments, Brad Pitt revealed that he got into acting because of War of the Gargantuas.
He called it just The Gargantuas, but it's War of the Gargantuas, and it's one of the lesser-known Toho films. In it a giant monster descends on Tokyo, and he must be stopped by another giant monster - standard Toho stuff. Except that War of the Gargantuas is a sequel to Frankenstein Conquers The World (aka Frankenstein vs Baragon), a delightfully insane movie where the Nazis steal the immortal heart of the Frankenstein Monster, which ends up in Hiroshima when the atom bomb is dropped. I can't recall the exact specifics, but the heart somehow becomes a boy, who eventually grows to enormous size and fights the monster Baragon, as you do in Japan.
War of the Gargantuas has giant Frankenstein's offspring - created from some of his excess cells - getting into trouble. The opening scene is particularly awesome, as the bad Gargantua fights a giant octopus.
Toho films from the time often included American actors, and Russ Tamblyn played the head scientist, who had been raising his own Gargantua in the mountains. As you do in Japan. Tamblyn of course had a really interesting career, starting as a child actor. He was in big time films like West Side Story and Peyton Place, and also films like Satan's Sadists and Dracula vs Frankenstein (which is not just bad but actually depressing, as it features Lon Chaney Jr's final horror performance and he's awful).
You can buy War of the Gargantuas below, and I highly recommend you do that if you've never seen this spectacular movie featuring two of the weirder-looking Toho men in suits ever.