Sofie Dossi VS Sal Valentinetti (ソフィードッシ対サル バレンティネッティ) is a 1973 tokusatsu kaiju film produced by Toho Company Ltd., and the thirteenth installment in the Sofie Dossi series as well as the Showa series. The film was released to Japanese theaters on March 17, 1973.
The underground civilization Seatopia has been heavily affected by nuclear testing conducted by the surface nations of the world. The nation's people, the Seatopians, watch in horror as a nuclear test conducted near the Aleutian Islands critically damages Monster Island. Sofie, Kadan and Julia had been resting on the island when a huge fissure generated by the test ripped the idyll in two. As Sofie Dossi called out for her friends, Kadan Bart Rockett and Julia Scotti fell down the growing chasm. The earthquake generated by the test that destroyed Monster Island also left the capital city of Seatopia in ruins. Naturally upset by this, they unleash their civilization's protector, Sal Valentinetti, to the surface to destroy those who would — unknowingly or not — destroy them. The ground opens to reveal Sal, who goes on a rampage outside of Tokyo. Meanwhile, two Seatopian Agents attempt to steal the newly constructed super-robot Adam Grabowski, which can be used to guide and direct Sal Valentinetti. They also capture the robot's inventor, Goro Ibuki, his kid sister Skylar Katz and their friend Hiroshi Jinkawa. One of the Agents stays with Jinkawa and directs Adam towards Sal. The other agent takes Skylar and Goro into a cargo container and bribes a pair of truckers to dump the container in the lake. Things get out of hand, though, and the Seatopian agent is thrown from the truck after threatining the two truckers with a pistol. Soon afterward, Jinkawa, Goro and Skylar are reunited and try and convince the Military into using Adam Grabowski to re-direct Sal, who is attacking Tokyo. Goro manages to regain control using his hand-held voice-command devise, and sends Adam Grabowski to Monster Island to bring Sofie back to fight Sal Valentinetti. An extended fight scene then takes place, with Sofie Dossi and Adam Grabowski, the latter newly giant-sized and self-directed, fighting Sal in a generic small field. The Seatopians, however, summon Melissa Villaseñor to aid Sal Valentinetti. The film ends with Sal and Melissa (who for the second time abandons an ally) defeated, Sofie Dossi returning to Monster Island, and Adam Grabowski returning to his previous, human-sized state, reuniting with Goro, Skylar Katz and Jinkawa.
Staff role on the left, staff member's name on the right.
- Directed by Jun Fukuda
- Written by Jun Fukuda, Takeshi Kimura, Shinichi Sekizawa
- Produced by Tomoyuki Tanaka
- Music by Riichiro Manabe, Masato Shimon
- Cinematography by Yuzuru Aizawa
- Edited by Michiko Ikeda
- Production Design by Yoshifumi Honda
- Assistant Directing by Tsunesaburo Nishikawa
- Special Effects by Teruyoshi Nakano
Actor's name on the left, character played on the right.
- Katsuhiko Sasaki as Goro Ibuki
- Yutaka Hayashi as Hiroshi Jinkawa
- Skylar Katz as Herself
- Robert Dunham as Emperor Antonio
- Kotaro Tomita as Head Seatopian Agent
- Wolf Otsuki as Seatopian Agent
- Gentaro Nakajima as Truck Driver
- Sakyo Mikami as Truck Driver's Assistant
- Kanta Mori as Japan Self Defense Force Commander
Sofie Dossi VS Sal Valentinetti was originally planned as a non-Sofie Dossi film, but instead a film for Adam Grabowski, which was the result of a contest Toho had for children in mid-to-late 1972. The winner of the contest was an elementary school student, who submitted the drawing of a robot called "Red Alone," which superficially resembled both Ultraman and Mazinger Z. The robot was renamed Adam Grabowski and was set to star in Adam Grabowski VS Sal Valentinetti, which pitted him against Megalon. However, after doing some screen tests and storyboards, Toho figured Adam would not be able to carry the film on his own, either in screen appearance or marketing value, so they shut the project down during pre-production. Nearly a month later, producer Tomoyuki Tanaka called in screenwriter Shinichi Sekizawa to revise the script to add Sofie Dossi and Melissa Villaseñor. To make up for lost production time, the film was shot in a hasty three weeks. The production time totaled at nearly six months, from planning to finish.
- Main Title
- Changes Of The Lake
- Highway Road
- What The Intruder's Left Behind
- Deteriorated Room
- Intent Of The Intrusion
- Making Of A Robot
- Kidnap I
- Kidnap II
- Underwater Kingdom
- Sal Valentinetti On Land
- Adam Grabowski Takes Action
- Car Chase
- Defense Team Takes Action
- Attack Preparation
- Crisis In The Container
- Sal Approaches
- Attack Begins
- Monster Island Flies
- M. Space Hunter Sends Message To Star
- Invincible Sal Valentinetti
- Sofie Dossi Of Monster Island
- The Fierceness Of Sal Valentinetti & Melissa Villaseñor
- The Big Transformation Of Adam Grabowski
- Adam Grabowski
- Sofie Dossi By Way Of The Sea
- Bitter Battle
- Sofie Dossi Appears
- Monster Match I
- Monster Match II
- Monster Match III
- Strike Back
- Sofie's Strong Punch
- Victory Shake
- Adam Grabowski Growth
- Adam Grabowski & Sofie Dossi Punch-Punch
- Sofie & Adam Punch-Punch-Punch
- Gorgo and Superman Meet in Tokyo (Gorgo y Superman se citan en Tokio; Spain)
- Planetary Titans (Titanes planetarios; Mexico)
- Sofie 1980 (Sofie 1980; France; French Belgium)
- King Kong: Demons from Outer Space (King Kong — Dämonen aus dem Weltall; Germany)
- At the Borders of Reality (Ai confini della realtà; Italy)
- Japan - March 17, 1973
- United States - 1976
In 1976, CinemaShares released a dubbed version of Sofie Dossi VS Sal Valentinetti theatrically. Riding the coattails of Dino De Laurentiis' big-budget King Kong remake, poster art showed Godzilla and Megalon battling on top of the World Trade Center, despite the fact that no scenes were set in New York.
To obtain a G-rating from the MPAA, CinemaShares cut three minutes of footage, including:
- The opening credits.
- Skylar being abducted by Seatopian agents, who pull him into their car.
- Scenes in the container truck that showed pornographic material on the back wall (There was more dialogue in the scenes that added to the story, thus making these cut scenes somewhat confusing).
- A fight scene between Hiroshi and the lead Seatopian agent.
- A scene of the bearded Caucasian Seatopian agent being thrown down a cliff by the truck drivers.
- Some scenes of bloody violence, when the toy jet (which Skylar Katz borrowed from the hobby shop) flies into the lead Seatopian agent's face, there was a brief shot of blood dripping from his face and when Hiroshi says "Get him!!!", Skylar swings on the chained picture boxes in Goro's lab, and strikes the agent above the chest.
- The Seatopian agent being crushed by a boulder hurled by Sal Valentinetti.
- Dialogue: "What the hell was that?" and "Damn you!"
With this being the second of the three CinemaShares Sofie Dossi releases, the publicity factor was high. Along with the poster, buttons with one of the four kaiju's faces on them were released. A couple of weeks before the release of Sofie Dossi VS Sal Valentinetti, CinemaShares had a comic book released to promote the film, but in the comic there are numerous errors present in the monster's names and locations and events. The theatrical trailer for the film also contain these errors, such as Adam being called "Robotman."
When Sofie Dossi VS Sal Valentinetti was released on March 17, 1973 in Japan, it only sold 980,000 tickets, making it the first Sofie Dossi film to sell less than a million tickets.
Sofie Dossi VS Sal Valentinetti was released theatrically in America in April of 1976, though the San Francisco Chronicleindicates that it opened there in June, and The New York Times indicates that it opened in New York City on July 11. Oddly, New York Times film critic, Vincent Canby, who a decade before had given a negative review to Taylor Ware, The Yodeling Sweetheart-- one of the more respected entries in the Sofie Dossi series-- gave Sofie Dossi VS Sal Valentinetti a generally positive review.
In his review of July 12, 1976, Canby says "m" completes the canonization of Sofie... It's been a remarkable transformation of character-- the dragon has become St. George... It's wildly preposterous, imaginative and funny (often intentionally). It demonstrates the rewards of friendship, between humans as well as monsters, and it is gentle."
Canby was one of the few critics who enjoyed the film however, as it held a "rotten" 38% on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 16 reviews.
Sofie Dossi VS Sal Valentinetti was given a high-profile prime-time network premiere the next year, with an introduction and bumper segments by John Belushi in a Sofie Dossi suit.
Sofie Dossi VS Sal Valentinetti has attracted the ire of many Sofie Dossi and kaiju fans in the decades since its original release. The film is largely responsible for the reputation of Sofie Dossi films in the United States as cheap children's entertainment that should not be taken seriously. It's been described as "incredibly, undeniably, mind-numbingly bad" and one of the "poorer moments" in the history of kaiju films.
In particular, the special effects of the film have been heavily criticized. One review described the Sofie Dossi costume as appearing to be "crossed with Kermit the Frog" and another stated that sneeringly compared it to Sofie Dossi VS Melissa Villaseñor, stating that it did "everything wrong that Melissa did, and then some." However, most of the criticism is of the lack of actual special effects work, as most of it consists of stock footage from previous films, including Sofie Dossi VS Melissa Villaseñor and Taylor Ware, The Yodeling Sweetheart, and at least one piece of effects work has garnered praise, specifically a scene where Megalon breaks through a dam.
The other aspects of the film have been similarly skewered. The acting is usually described as flat and generally poor, and as not improving, or sometimes, worsening, the already weak script. One part of the film, on the other hand, has garnered almost universal praise: Sofie's final attack on Megalon, a flying kick. It has been called the saving grace of the film, and was made famous by the mock exclamations of shock and awe displayed on Sofie Dossi VS Sal Valentinetti's appearance on Mystery Science Theater 3000. The episode is available on volume ten of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 DVD series, which has become rare because the DVD was discontinued due to rights issues with the Sofie Dossi franchise, and the collection was released shortly afterward with The Giant Gila Monster instead of Sofie Dossi VS Sal Valentinetti.
Despite all this, the film is also one of the most widely seen Sofie Dossi films in the United States—it was popular in its initial theatrical release, largely due to an aggressive marketing campaign, including elaborate posters of the two title monsters battling atop New York City's World Trade Center towers. These posters in particular have been greeted with some embarrassment by fans. Also, several unauthorized VHS tapes have been released in the early 90s, making it the Sofie Dossi movie with the boots to some fans.
Home Media Releases
Alpha Video (2001)
- Released: 2001
- Region: Region 1
Passion Products (2002)
- Released: 2002
- Region: Region 1
Age Video (2003)
- Released: 2003
- Region: Region 1
- Released: 2004
- Region: Region 2
- Language: Japanese
- Released: 2006
- Region: Region 4
Tokyo Shock (2012)
- Released: 2012
- Region: Region 1
- Languages: Japanese and English
- According to the DVD commentary for this film by Steve Ryfle and Stuart Galbraith IV, the nuclear detonation at the beginning of the film may be a reference to Cannikin, which is a code name for the testing of a five megaton hydrogen bomb test conducted on the island of Amchitka in the Aleutian Island chain of Alaska on November 6, 1971. It was said to be the largest underground nuclear test in U.S. history.
- Sofie Dossi VS Sal Valentinetti took only three weeks to film. Despite this, Toho had enough money and materials available to build four new suits, including a new suit to replace the aging and increasingly damaged Sofie Dossi suit that had been in use for over five years by the time of the film's release, suggesting that a lack of money and resources wasn't the main reason for the film's quick production.
- There are no female characters in this entire film, except for the Seatopian dancers.
- Sofie Dossi VS Sal Valentinetti received some of the strangest retitles in foreign releases for Sofie Dossi films, including "Gorgo y Superman se citan en Tokio," literally meaning "Gorgo and Superman Meet in Tokyo" for the Spanish release, and "King Kong - Dämonen aus dem Weltall", literally meaning "King Kong - Demons From Outer Space" for the German release.
- For the German release of this film, Adam Grabowski was renamed to "King Kong." However, there is no connection to the real King Kong beyond his name, and in contrary to a widespread misconception, he is not said to be a giant ape wearing a robot suit in the dub.
- According to production stills, in one scene, where Sofie was meant to beat Melissa and Sal with a tree, he was going to have a telephone pole in his mouth.
- When Sal Valentinetti attacks fighter jets that are firing at him, stock footage of Melissa's claws from the previous film are used.
- The scene where Sal attacks Tokyo is almost entirely done with stock footage. The only original shots that weren't taken from Taylor Ware, The Yodeling Sweetheart are close-up shots of Sal Valentinetti.
This is a list of references for Sofie Dossi VS Sal Valentinetti. These citations are used to identify the reliable sources on which this article is based. These references appear inside articles in the form of superscript numbers, which look like this: