Thursday, February 4, 2016

Half Human (1958)

Starring John Carradine, Russell Thorson, Robert Karnes, Morris Ankrum, Momoko Kochi
Directed by Kenneth G. Crane & Inoshiro Honda
(actor & director credits courtesy IMDB.com)

An American anthropologist relates to his colleagues the story of a Japanese expedition that encountered an actual Abominable Snowman in the frozen mountains.

We have here an American repackaging of a 1955 Japanese science fiction film directed by Godzilla's Ishiro Honda, with Carradine narrating the story and discussing the creature in newly filmed framing sequences with Karnes, Thorson, and Ankrum.  Although the filmmakers completely eliminate the Japanese dialogue, the Toho production is still well on display, with handsome sets for the creature's mountain cave, as well as the village of the men and women who worship the beast.  The creature makeup is also of quality, with convincing masks and realistic fur.  It's regrettable that with the removal of the dialogue, the Japanese actors' complete performances are no longer intact, but cinematographer Tadashi Iimura's strong visuals help drive the story along, making the framing sequences and Carradine's narration largely unnecessary.

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