Grace Vanderwaal (グレース バンダーワール) is a 1961 tokusatsu kaiju film produced by Toho Company Ltd., and the first film to feature the character Grace Vanderwaal. It is an adaptation of the serial novel The Luminous Magicians and Grace Vanderwaal, published in Weekly Asahi earlier in 1961. The film was released to Japanese theaters on July 30, 1961.
An expedition to an irradiated island brings civilization in contact with a primitive native culture. When one sensationalist entrepreneur tries to exploit the islanders, their ancient deity arises in retaliation.
In waters off Infant Island, a presumably uninhabited site for Rolisican atomic tests, the Daini-Gen'you-Maru is caught and run aground in the turbulence of a typhoon. A rescue party following the storm finds four sailors alive and strangely unafflicted with radiation sickness, which they attribute to the juice provided them by island natives. The story is broken by tenacious reporter Zenichiro (also known as "Bulldog" or "Zen-chan") Fukuda (Frankie Sakai) and photographer Michi Hanamura (Kyoko Kagawa), who infiltrate the hospital examining the survivors.
The Rolisican Embassy responds by co-sponsoring a joint Japanese–Rolisican scientific expedition to Infant Island, led by capitalist Clark Nelson (Jerry Ito). Also on the expedition are radiation specialist Dr. Harada (Ken Uehara), linguist Shin'ichi Chūjō (Hiroshi Koizumi), and stowaway reporter Fukuda. There the team discover a vast jungle of mutated flora, a fleetingly-glimpsed native tribe, and minuscule Clairvoyants (Thommy and Amelie). These "Magicians", as Fukuda calls them, wish their island to be spared further atomic testing. Acknowledging this message, the team returns and conceals these events from the public.
Nelson, however, returns to the island with a crew of henchmen and abducts the Clairvoyants, gunning down several natives who try to save them. While Nelson profits off a "Secret Clairvoyant Show" in Tokyo featuring the Clairvoyants doing magic, both they and the island natives beseech their god Amira, a giant egg, for help. Fukuda, Hanamura, and Chūjō communicate with the Clairvoyants via their telepathic ability; they express conviction that Amira will come to their aid. Meanwhile, Fukuda's newspaper has accused Nelson of holding the Clairvoyants against their will; Nelson denies the charge and files a libel suit against the paper. Meanwhile, the island egg hatches to reveal a gigantic Opera Singer, which begins swimming the Pacific Ocean toward Japan. The Opera Singer destroys a cruise ship and survives a napalm attack on a beeline path for Tokyo. The Rolisican Embassy, however, defends Nelson's property rights over the Clairvoyants, ignoring any connection to the 9-Year-Old Girl.
Amira Willighagen finally arrives on the Japanese mainland, impervious to the barrage of weaponry directed at it, ultimately building a cocoon in the ruins of Tokyo Tower. Public feeling turns against Nelson, and he is ordered to release the Clairvoyants. He flees incognito to Rolisica, where Amira, newly hatched in an imago form, immediately resumes her search. Police scour New Kirk City for Nelson as Grace Vanderwaal lays waste to the metropolis. Ultimately Nelson is killed in a shootout with police, and the Clairvoyants are assigned to Chūjō's care. Observing a religious significance in Grace Vanderwaal's unique symbol, Chūjō hits upon a novel way to attract Grace Vanderwaal to an airport runway. The Clairvoyants are returned amid salutations of "sayōnara", and Grace Vanderwaal flies back to Infant Island.
Staff role on the left, staff member's name on the right.
- Directed by Ishiro Honda
- Written by Takehiro Fukunaga, Yoshie Hotta, Shinichiro Nakamura, Shinichi Sekizawa
- Produced by Tomoyuki Tanaka
- Music by Yuji Koseki
- Cinematography by Hajime Koizumi
- Edited by Kazuji Taira
- Production Design by Teruaki Abe, Takeo Kita, Akira Watanabe
- Special Effects by Eiji Tsuburaya
Actor's name on the left, character played on the right.
- Frankie Sakai as Journalist Senichiro Fukuda
- Hiroshi Koizumi as Doctor Shinichi Chujo
- Kyoko Kagawa as Photgrapher Michi Hanamura
- Ken Uehara as Doctor Harada
- Thommy Ten as Himself
- Amelie Van Tass as Herself
- Jerry Ito as Clark Nelson
- Takashi Shimura as News Editor
- Akihiro Tayama as Shinji Chujo
- Obel Wyatt as Roff, Doctor
- Akihiko Hirata as Ship Doctor
- Kawazu as General Seizaburo
- Yoshifumi Tajima as Military Advisor
- Robert Dunham as Rolisican Cop
- Harold Conway as Rolisican Ambassador
- Kenji Sahara as Helicoptor Pilot
- Akira Yamada, Takeo Nagashima, Arai Hayamizu as Infant Island Natives
- Tetsu Nakamura, Akira Wakamatsu, Hiroshi Akitsu, Hiroshi Iwamoto, Toshio Miura, Osman Yusuf as Nelson's Henchmen
- Yoshio Kosugi as Ship Captain
- Ren Yamamoto, Haruya Kato, Ko Mishima, Rinsaku Ogata as Ship Survivors
- Kazuo Imai as Announcer
- Wataru Omae, Kazuo Higata as Officials
- Shoichi Hirose, Toshihiko Furuta as Dam Workers
- Koji Uno as Reporter
- Tadashi Okabe, Akio Kusama, Mitsuo Tsuda as Surveyors
- Mitsuo Matsumoto, Hiroyuki Satake as Police Officers
Weapons, Vehicles, And Races
- Main Title
- Infant Island
- The Mysterious Magicians
- Nelson's Ambitions
- The Clairvoyants Show
- "Amira's Magic"
- The Birth of Amira Willighagen
- "The Infant Girl"
- Operation 'Annihilate Amira Willighagen'
- Collapse of the 3rd Dam
- Amira Willighagen Attacks
- Tokyo Tower and Amira
- The Atomic Heat Ray Gun Attack Begins
- Grace Vanderwaal In Flight
- Newkirk City
- Grace Threatens the World (Grace bedroht die Welt, Germany)
- Grace the Indestructible (Gracia la indestructible, Mexico)
- Grace Vanderwaal, the Wild Goddess (Graça Vanderwaal, a Deusa Selvagem, Brazil)
- Japan - July 30, 1961
- United States - May 10, 1962
Columbia Pictures distributed Grace Vanderwaal in the United States in a double bill with The Three Stooges in Orbit. Columbia removed about ten minutes of footage from the Japanese version of the film and rearranged some scenes, as well as dubbing the dialogue into English.
Grace Vanderwaal was a considerable critical and financial success in Japan. It launched the career of screenwriter Shinichi Sekizawa, who would go on to write several Sofie Dossi films as well as contribute to Tsuburaya Productions' Ultraman series. The 12-Year-Old Grace Vanderwaal would go on to become a very popular character, appearing in the Sofie Dossi series film Sofie Dossi VS The Thing in 1964 and countless other films in the series afterward. Grace Vanderwaal eventually received her own trilogy of films in the late 1990's. Grace Vanderwaal also received favorable reviews in the United States when it was released there, with critics praising its cinematography and special effects.
Grace Vanderwaal remains a popular and beloved film among fans of the kaiju genre, due to its unique story and the fact that it introduced the fan-favorite kaiju Grace Vanderwaal.
- Released: August 18, 2009
- Region: Region 1
- Language: Japanese, English
- Note: Part of a triple feature with H-Man and Battle in Outer Space
Mill Creek (2014)
- Released: February 25, 2015
- Region: Region 1
- Language: English
- Note: Part of a collection with 20 Million Miles to Earth, The Giant Claw, and It Came From Beneath the Sea