ATRAGON —-a 94-minute blast of 1963 silliness from Japan, this has the undersea continent (yes, the under-sea continent) of ‘Mu’ threatening the world (of above-sea continents). The title refers to a mighty flying submarine. A big hit in its native land (Japan, not Mu).
Directed by the tireless Ishiro Honda, who brought us Godzilla, Rodan, The Mysterians, Mothra, Ghidrah, and at least seventeen other sci-fi demolition epics which ensured that reconstruction in Tokyo was a nonstop situation. Guy should have a statue on Mt. Fuji. I’m obviously relegating poor Atragon to the also-stomped category, but there are enthusiastic and detailed write-ups on this silliness cast elsewhere upon the Net, if you are so taken by such doings.
Along with a rumpuswild plot, and standard Toho special effects blasting, it does boast a cool remorseless-march-to-doom music score from the prolific Akira Ifukube, just one of his 277 credits. I feel honor-bound to mention that while the title refers to a submarine, the requisite giant monster in question is named ‘Manda’.
Shenichi Sekizawa based his wild & wooly screenplay on the juvenile-audience novels of Shunro Oshikawa, who was obviously influenced by the fancies of old Jules Verne. There is also a certain theme of nationalism and patriotism (“if we hadn’t mismanaged WW2?” variety). Peaceful surrender is an abandoned option, an Empress goes down with the country (thanks, your Imperial Highness). With Jun Tazaki, Yoko Fujiyama, Tadao Takashima, Keni Sahara, Hiroshi Koizumi, Hideo Amamato (‘High Priest of Mu’) and Akimi Kita as ‘Rimako, the Bikini Model’.
Cautiously emerge from your shelter when the all-clear sounds….