Thursday, March 9, 2017

Peggy Neal's Actress Experiment


Peggy Neal attended Sofia University in Tokyo and acted in three Japanese movies, as follows:

1.   Terror Beneath the Sea (1966);
2.   The X from Outer Space (1967; see photo); and
3.   Kurreji ogon sakusen (1967).

You could hardly call that a career in films, but because of the nature of the first two films she will be remembered for all time as a small part of the highly entertaining and wildly popular Japanese sci-fi monster (Kaiju) universe.

Ms. Neal has not completely disappeared, but nearly so. On the film sites Internet Movie Data Base and Rotten Tomatoes her bio is the fact that she was a student at Sofia and the three film credits. That’s it. There are no photos on those sites.

A Google search turns up nothing for this particular Peggy Neal, although several others are represented. I didn’t see any articles. There are some images, though, and one of the images of a recent picture that looked plausibly like her clicked through to an article on an Australian website called The Age (dot com dot au). Oooops! That's Peggy O'Neal. (Later edit; my bad to anyone who read it as it was.) 

Terror Beneath the Sea (1966)

Peggy and her Japanese love-interest are reporters covering some new submarine-launched weapons. There are Creature-from-the-Black-Lagoon type mutant amphibian creatures and a mad scientist. Drama ensues and there is a happy ending.

The X from Outer Space (1967)

There’s a lot more meat in this second movie. Peggy and a new Japanese love-interest are astronauts, sent to Mars or something for a typical fool’s errand. Peggy does a lot of flirting with the Japanese astronaut, but at the end she realizes that he is better off with the other female lead because, after all, they’re both Japanese. That last bit of social theorizing came at the last minute of the movie and it was a surprise. All through the movie, Peggy and the alpha-male were getting along famously. Japanese women must have been complaining about the blond getting all the action. Peggy is beautiful enough to be threatening; I think so anyway.

Both of these movies feature a lot of gaigin (white) actors, lots more than any of the Toho or Nikkatsu movies of the time. (Peggy’s movies came from Shochiku Studios.) The foreign actors play mostly good natured, sympathetic characters, with only one in each movie playing a pain in the ass. Neither of these movies is very good, nor particularly bad. They are mildly entertaining and they don’t waste a lot of your time. I’ve seen worse.

But Peggy Neal! Very interesting, Peggy! I wish you well in your current endeavors. Thanks for everything, and it’s always nice seeing you.