Wednesday, October 29, 2014

YOSHIMITSU BANNO TALKS SMOG MONSTER! The Toho Director Answers Questions at a Recent Fan Event!

Director Yoshimitsu Banno speaks about his lengthy Toho career at a fan event in Tokyo. Photo by Brett Homenick.

On the heels of executive-producing the recent Godzilla from Legendary Pictures, filmmaker Yoshimitsu Banno attended a fan event in Tokyo and answered questions about his work at Toho Studios.

Appropriate posters on display for the occasion: The Last Days of Planet Earth (a.k.a. Catastrophe 1999, 1974) and Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster (1971).

Banno-san directed co-wrote Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster (1971), and co-wrote and assistant-directed The Last Days of Planet Earth (1974). Banno-san was also an assistant director for Akira Kurosawa on four films: Throne of Blood (1957), The Lower Depths (1957), The Hidden Fortress (1958), and The Bad Sleep Well (1960). Following his work with Kurosawa, Banno-san assistant-directed a myriad of films at Toho, everything from Crazy Cats comedies to war films starring Toshiro Mifune.

During the interview, Banno-san touched on these and other topics. He seemed in great spirits, and after the worldwide success of the recent Godzilla movie, how could you blame him? Toward the end of the presentation, the interviewers showed some slides from Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster, to which Banno-san offered his memories. Some of the photos were brand-new to me, which was great to see.

Banno-san spoke for two hours, and it was an enjoyable time. In particular, I liked watching Banno-san's reactions to the production photos from Smog Monster that were displayed on the big screen. Full marks to all involved!

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