Godzilla, King of the Monsters! (1956)

Posted: May 12, 2011 in Movie Review
Tags: , , ,

Godzilla, King of the Monsters! (1956)

Directed By: Ishirō Honda, Terry Morse

Starring: Takashi Shimura, Akira Takarada, Raymond Burr, Frank Iwanaga, Momoko Kouchi

Subgenre: Kaiju

Synopsis: American Journalist Steve Martin finds himself in Tokyo with rumors of a “Monster God” destroying ships in the Sea of Japan.  Sure enough a giant monster soon appears hell bent on destroying Tokyo.  The monster is known in Japan as Gojira, but American audiences know him as GODZILLA!

Thoughts: First off, this is merely an Americanized version of Gojira, the original Godzilla movie, which was released in 1954.  New footage was shot and spliced in with Raymond Burr, among others.  I would probably never have watched this version if it were not for my Son’s love for old monster flicks.  The first time we watched this, he couldn’t read, so subtitles were out of the question.

The reediting process was fairly intricate for its time.  Several scenes were shot with Raymond Burr and spliced in to appear as if Burr was interacting with the original cuts.  Stand-ins were used for the original actors in some scenes as well, they were just shot from behind so it was difficult to tell it was not the original actor or actress.

The movie plays out much the same, with Godzilla eventually rising from the sea, stomping through scenery and causing all sorts of chaos.  I don’t know what it is that is so appealing about a guy in a rubber monster suit stomping on miniatures, but it sure as hell works.

There is no mistaking the similarity between Tokyo’s destruction by Godzilla and the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  Godzilla is a very political movie on one hand, condemning the use and development of weapons of mass destruction, but on the other, it is a great monster flick.  Take it for what you will.  As far as I am concerned, I tend to forget the political message and just enjoy watching Godzilla stomp some miniature landscape into the ground.

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