The last war 1961 japanese theatrical trailer reconstruction
The film begins with a narration over shots of a modern-day Tokyo, noting that 16 years have passed since the end of World War II, and Japan has achieved rapid recovery. Mokichi Tamura works as a chauffeur for a press center, hoping for the happiness of his family. His daughter, Saeko, is in love with merchantman, Takano, who has been away at sea for a long period of time. When he returns, the young couple agree to get married with the consent of Saeko's father.
Meanwhile, tensions between the Federation and the Alliance (fictional stand-ins for the US and NATO against the USSR/Warsaw Pact, respectively) build up, especially after an intelligence-gathering vessel is captured. A new Korean War breaks out across the 38th parallel, but is quickly stopped. Although Japan calls on both sides to seek peace, government officials think that the country could be ripe for Alliance retaliation in light of its open support for the Federation. Dogfights between Federation and Alliance fighters over the Arctic (with both sides using nuclear-tipped air-to-air missiles) are just the beginning of a renewed conflict. Soon after the armistice agreement is concluded between South Korea and North Korea, tensions begin to erupt again because of the fighting between the two Koreas, and the efforts of the military to overcome the war are fruitless. In addition, Japan's missile warning begins to mount in Japan, and the anxiety of the people reached its peak.
ICBMs are eventually launched from both sides in the climax of the escalating war, with targets being that of major cities around the world including Tokyo, London, Paris, New York, and Moscow. The Tamura family stay behind in the midst of the city's panic and hold a final dinner. That night, Tokyo is enveloped in a flash of nuclear light and dissolved. Tamura and his family are easily killed by the detonation over Tokyo as their house is blown away by the ensuring fireball. The next morning after Tokyo's decimation, Takano's ship changes course to arrive at the remains of the destroyed city, prepared to die by the intense radioactive fallout. The ship's chaperone and Takano breakdown as the ensuring events of what has happened become realised. The last shot shows Tokyo, now an immense crater, with the remains of the diet building at the centre and a warning laid over the screen, asking for the events in this film never to happen.
Frankie Sakai as Mokichi Tamura
Akira Takarada as Takano
Yuriko Hoshi as Saeko Tamura
Nobuko Otowa as Tamura's wife
So Yamamura as Prime Minister of Japan
The Last War was released in Japan on October 8, 1961 where it was distributed by Toho. The film was Toho's second highest-grossing film of 1961, and the 9th highest grossing Japanese film in 1961. The English version was released to television in 1964 by Brenco Pictures. Originally due for a theatrical release in the United States, the plans were cancelled due to the failures of Gorath and The Human Vapor at the box office. The film was also cut down to 79 minutes.
It was first released on DVD in Japan in 2004 and more recently in 2015. The English version/dubbing of The Last War has only been released on VHS, and is currently the only home video release of the film in the United States. Germany has seen a DVD release in 2008, under the title of "Todesstrahlen aus dem Weltraum" (Death Beams From Space).