Just a week after its successful event focusing on Espy (1974), Cinema Novecento returned to the mid-'70s with a screening of Conflagration (1975). Joining the event again was SFX director Teruyoshi Nakano.
As an aside, I actually met Nakano-san on the way to the event. As I boarded the Keikyu Line at Yokohama Station, I noticed Nakano-san standing in the same train car just a few feet away! When we got off at Tobe Station, I greeted him. We spent the next 10 minutes walking to the venue. In the best Japanese I could muster, I asked him questions about his career and his thoughts on a few movies. It was a rare opportunity to have a one-on-one audience with a Showa-era SFX director, and one that I certainly appreciate.
Watanabe-san and Nakano-san tell the audience what it was like to blow Toho Studios up during the 1970s. Photo by Brett Homenick.
The other guest at the event was longtime SFX technician Tadaaki Watanabe, who joined Toho in the 1950s and worked on films into the 2000s. In 1968, Watanabe-san was asked to play Angilas in Destroy All Monsters for some of the scenes, making this a rare public appearance of a Showa-era suit actor not named Nakajima or Satsuma! It was quite exciting to meet Angilas in the flesh.
At one point, Nakano-san pointed me out in the audience and told the story (written elsewhere on this blog) about how I caught that the Toho production logo for the print of Espy was actually taken from The Last Days of Planet Earth (1974), which nobody else in the group noticed. Naturally, it was an honor to be recognized by the master.
Afterward, obligatory photos were taken and autographs signed. We all had a delicious dinner together, over which many Toho tales were told. I'll be returning to Cinema Novecento this Saturday for yet another event, this one Godzilla-centric. Watch this space for a report.