T. int.: Across the Equator. F.: Eiji Tsuburaya. M.: Chuzo Aochi. Mus.: Nobuo Iida. Anim.: Chuji Murata. Int.: Chuzo Aochi (narratore). Prod.: Tsunehisa Ikenaga per Nikkatsu. 35mm. D.: 86′. Bn.
Tsuburaya served both as director and cinematographer of this feature-length national policy documentary, supported by the naval ministry, which creates a sketch of life among cadets aboard a naval training vessel on a voyage around Indochina, Malaya, Hawaii and the South Pacific islands. The film clearly outlines the economic motives behind Japan’s southward expansion, but also presents the music and dance traditions of various regions, in what has been termed “folklore through sound”. The “Kinema Junpo” reviewer judged it “worth seeing”; today, certainly, it is worth seeing for its considerable historical interest, both as a document of increasingly bellicose times, and for the directorial presence of Tsuburaya, an artist who had collaborated on Teinosuke Kinugasa’s famous silent, Kurutta ippeji (A Page of Madness, 1926), but who was to become famous, nearly two decades later, as the special effects master responsible for Godzilla. The film was a collaboration between the Kyoto-based Uzumasa Hassei Eiga and the Yokohama-based Yokohama Shinema Shokai. Uzumasa Hassei Eiga operated out of the premises of the J.O. Studio but also forged close business links with Nikkatsu.
Alexander Jacoby and Johan Nordström