Gamera (1965 film)

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Credits for Gamera (film)


Gamera Films
None
Gamera
Gamera vs. Barugon
Kadokawa Pictures (Daiei Motion Picture Company) Monster Movie
Japanese poster for Gamera
Gamera
Alternate Titles
Flagicon Japan.png Giant Monster Gamera (1965)
Flagicon United States.png Gammera, The Invincible (1966)
See alternate titles
Directed by Noriaki Yuasa
Produced by Hidemasa Nagata, Yonejiro Saito, Masaichi Nagata
Written by Nisan Takahashi, Yonejiro Saito
Music by Tadashi Yamauchi
Distributor DaieiJP
Harris Associates, Inc.US
Budget ¥40,000,000[1]
Running Time 80 minutesJP
(1 hour, 20 minutes)
86 minutesUS
(1 hour, 26 minutes)
Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
Rate this film!
3.65
(20 votes)

Gamera (大怪獣ガメラ,   Daikaijū Gamera?, lit. Giant Monster Gamera) is a 1965 tokusatsu kaiju film produced by Daiei Motion Picture Company, and the first entry in the Gamera series. It was released to Japanese theaters on November 27, 1965.

Plot

Dr. Hidaka, accompanied by his assistant Kyoko Yamamoto and photographer Aoyagi, travels to an Eskimo settlement in the Arctic aboard the vessel Chidori Maru to look into the myth of an unusual species of turtle mentioned in their folklore. As Dr. Hidaka confers with the Eskimo chief, several unidentified stealth aircraft fly over the area. The captain of the Chidori Maru contacts a nearby American military base, which scrambles several fighter jets to intercept the unidentified aircraft. When the aircraft do not respond to the American fighters' warnings and open fire on them, the American planes fire their missiles and successfully shoot down one of the stealth aircraft. The aircraft crashes onto an icy plain several miles away from the Eskimo village and explodes. Watching the explosion from afar, Hidaka and his crew realize that the aircraft must have been carrying nuclear weapons, as a mushroom cloud becomes visible over the Arctic. Though Hidaka and the village are a safe distance from the nuclear detonation, the explosion cracks open the Arctic ice and a gigantic bipedal turtle emerges from the crevice. The creature roars ferociously and makes its way to the Chidori Maru, smashing it with its colossal arms and killing all aboard. As Hidaka and his crew prepare to leave, the Eskimo chief presents him with a stone carving, which depicts a giant turtle among what appear to be waves. Hidaka asks the chief if this is the legendary giant turtle that lived on the lost continent of Atlantis, and the chief replies that it is indeed the "Devil's Envoy," Gamera.

Following the sinking of the Chidori Maru, Hidaka travels to New York City to answer questions from the press regarding Gamera. Hidaka says that Gamera was in very close proximity to the nuclear explosion that freed him from his icy prison, so he will eventually perish from the lethal dose of radiation he absorbed. Hidaka remarks that it is a shame, as Gamera would have been a valuable scientific specimen. Meanwhile, flying saucers are being sighted all across the globe, especially in Japan. While returning to Japan aboard a plane, Hidaka, Aoyagi and Kyoko remark that since Gamera is likely lying dead on the sea floor, flying saucers have become the new craze. In a small village in Hokkaido, Nobuyo Sakurai is informed by a schoolteacher that her little brother, Toshio, has been a disruption in school because he has been bringing turtles to class. Nobuyo promises that she will talk to Toshio about it, and at dinner that night she and her father tell Toshio that he must let his pet turtle, Chibi, return to the wild. Toshio reluctantly takes Chibi out near the ocean and places him in a small shelter built from rocks, promising that he will be back to see him tomorrow. As Toshio turns to go back home, he sees Gamera appear over the cliffside. He runs to his sister to warn her, and they look up to see Gamera begin climbing ashore. Toshio runs into the lighthouse in the village, but Gamera swings his arm and breaks the lighthouse in half, leaving Toshio hanging for his life from a rail. As Toshio loses his grip and falls, Gamera catches him in his hand and gently sets him down on the ground before returning to the sea.

After learning that Gamera is still alive and in Hokkaido, Hidaka, Kyoko and Aoyagi travel there to consult with Professor Murase and the JSDF to discuss countermeasures. When Gamera lands at a power plant, Murase determines that Gamera possesses a sort of internal furnace that allows him to feed on inorganic materials like coal, petroleum, fire, and nuclear material, then convert them into organic substances and use them for sustenance. Hidaka tells the JSDF to hold off on firing at Gamera, and use the high-tension wires around the plant to repel him. To their surprise, Gamera tears through the wires and seems to draw power from them. Hidaka tells the JSDF to open fire on Gamera with their artillery, but it has no effect either. Murase concludes that Gamera's' body tissues are so dense that they are stronger than even the strongest metal alloys, so he is completely immune to conventional weaponry. With Gamera rampaging across Hokkaido, the JSDF is left with no option but to contact the American military and ask for a nuclear strike against Gamera. However, Hidaka is informed of an experimental cadmium freezing bomb developed by the JSDF, and decides that it may be effective against Gamera. Hidaka tells the JSDF to cancel the nuclear strike, as Gamera withstood a nuclear explosion at point-blank range and only grew stronger, and instead lure Gamera to a hilltop and drop the freezing bombs on him. Once Gamera reaches the summit of a hill, several freezing bombs are dropped onto Gamera, covering him in ice and rendering him immobile. As the freezing bombs are only effective for ten minutes, JSDF soldiers scramble quickly to plant dynamite on the hill while Gamera is frozen, then detonate it, sending Gamera tumbling down the hill and causing him to land on his back. The JSDF celebrates, believing Gamera will be helpless on his back and eventually die of starvation. To everyone's shock, Gamera retracts his head and limbs into his shell, then begins to spew flames from the openings. Gamera floats up from the ground and begins spinning rapidly, then flies off into the distance. Hidaka realizes that the Eskimo carving does not show Gamera among waves, but rather clouds, and that the "flying saucer" sightings were actually sightings of Gamera while he was flying.

Gamera is sighted around the world, but thankfully has not attacked a major populated area. When bizarre shipwrecks and flooding begin occurring around the Tokyo Bay area, Hidaka determines that Gamera is sleeping under the bay, and will inevitably come ashore. Hidaka meets with representatives from both the United States and the Soviet Union, and together they form one last countermeasure against Gamera: Z-Plan. As Z-Plan is prepared at Izu Oshima, Gamera comes ashore that night and ravages Tokyo. To keep Gamera occupied until Z-Plan is completed, trains filled with petroleum are sent towards Gamera so he can feed on them. Toshio, having moved to live with his uncle in Tokyo while his home in Hokkaido is repaired, climbs aboard one of these trains so he can get a closer look at Gamera. Since Chibi was nowhere to be found after he returned to visit him, Toshio believes Chibi turned into Gamera, and that Gamera is his friend. A worker sees Toshio on the train and pulls him off of it just as it crashes, then tells him to go home. Nobuyo is preparing to evacuate the city, but cannot find Toshio, who stows away on a ship bound for Izu Oshima. On Oshima, Hidaka and the JSDF make the final preparations for Z-Plan. A trail of petroleum is laid from Tokyo all the way to the island, then is ignited at nightfall. Gamera sees the flames and follows them to the island, but a typhoon hits the island and extinguishes the flames. Aoyagi, having sneaked onto the island posing as a laborer, sets the tents on the island ablaze to keep drawing Gamera there. Gamera sees the fire and begins to come ashore, but the typhoon increases in intensity and blows the flames out. Fortunately, Mount Mihara briefly erupts, and the eruption draws Gamera further inland. With Gamera successfully lured to Izu Oshima, Z-Plan can finally be enacted.

The following morning, Nobuyo comes to the island and is reunited with Toshio, who wants to observe as Z-Plan is put into motion. Using fuel from an underground silo, flames are shot from holes in the ground near the center of the island. Gamera is drawn into the middle of these towers of flame, and becomes trapped when the ground opens up and a huge capsule closes around him. The capsule is actually attached to a rocket ship, which launches from the island and exits the atmosphere, bound for Mars. While Gamera could not be vanquished on Earth, the world is now safe from his terror as he is banished to the barren plains of Mars. When asked if he is sad that Gamera is gone, Toshio replies that he isn't, and vows he will travel to Mars and visit him someday. Toshio waves as the Z-Plan rocket enters outer space, and wishes Gamera goodbye.

Staff

Staff role on the left, staff member's name on the right.

  • Directed by   Noriaki Yuasa
  • Written by   Nisan Takahashi
  • Produced by   Masaichi Nagata
  • Music by   Tadashi Yamauchi
  • Cinematography by   Nobuo Munekawa
  • Edited by   Tatsuji Nakashizu
  • Production Design by   Akira Inoue
  • Assistant Directing by   Kiyoshi Ishida
  • Special Effects by   Yonesaburo Tsukiji

Gammera, The Invincible

Staff role on the left, staff member's name on the right.

  • Directed by   Sandy Howard
  • Written by   Richard Kraft
  • Cinematography by   Julian Townsend
  • Edited by   Ross-Gaffney Inc.
  • Production Design by   Hank Aldrich
  • Assistant Directing by   Sid Cooperschmidt

Cast

Actor's name on the left, character played on the right.

  • Eiji Funakoshi   as   Dr. Hidaka
  • Junichiro Yamashita   as   Aoyagi
  • Michiko Sugata   as   Nobuyo Sakurai
  • Harumi Kiritachi   as   Kyoko Yamamoto
  • Yoshiro Kitahara   as   Mr. Sakurai
  • Bokuzen Hidari   as   Old Farmer
  • Jun Hamamura   as   Professor Murase
  • Jutaro Hojo   as   Self-Defense Force Commander
  • Yoshio Yoshida   as   Eskimo Chief
  • Kenji Oyama   as   Minister of Defense
  • Jun Osanai   as   Chidori Maru Captain
  • Koji Fujiyama   as   U.S. Arctic Base Commander
  • Ichigen Ohashi   as   Mr. Ueda
  • Munehiko Takada   as   Soviet Representative
  • Kenichi Tani   as   Officer
  • Tsutomu Nakata   as   Toshio's Uncle
  • Yuji Moriya   as   News Announcer
  • Osamu Maruyama   as   Atomic Energy Research Institute Chief
  • Yoshiro Uchida   as   Toshio Sakurai
  • Toshio Maki   as   Atomic Energy Research Institute Staff A
  • Kazuo Sumida   as   Atomic Energy Research Institute Staff B
  • Rin Sugimori   as   Police Station Chief
  • Fumiko Murata   as   Old Farmer's Wife
  • Tetsuro Takeuchi   as   Japan Broadcasting Station Announcer
  • Kyosuke Shiho   as   Fish Seller A
  • Ken Nakahara   as   Fish Seller C
  • Kazuo Mori   as   Chidori Maru Radioman

Actor's name on the left, character played on the right.

  • Shunji Sayama   as   Fish Seller B
  • Daihachi Kita   as   Chidori Maru Navigator
  • Kenji Ohba   as   Self-Defense Force Soldier B
  • Yasuo Araki   as   Self-Defense Force Soldier A
  • Daigo Inoue   as   Self-Defense Force Adjutant
  • Shin Minatsu   as   Sapporo Broadcasting Station Announcer
  • Akira Shimizu   as   Dancing Youth
  • Shinichi Matsuyama   as   Operator A
  • Ikuji Oka   as   U.S. Fighter Pilot
  • Fujii Tatsushi   as   Official at Haneda Airport
  • Kenichiro Yamane   as   Geothermal Station Engineer
  • Wakayo Matsumura   as   Customer
  • Chiduru Ko   as   Stripper A (deleted scene)
  • Ryoko Oki   as   Stripper B (deleted scene)
  • Takehiko Goto   as   Self-Defense Force Cessna Pilot
  • Toichiro Kagawa   as   Operator B
  • Ichiro Ise   as   Reporter A
  • Shinji Sahara   as   Reporter B
  • Hajime Munechika   as   Reporter C
  • Himawari Theatrical Troupe
  • M. Apanay
  • Richardson   as   U.S. Arctic Base Personnel
  • Streihan   as   U.S. Arctic Base Personnel
  • Ranson   as   U.S. Arctic Base Personnel
  • Brown   as   U.S. Arctic Base Personnel
  • Hartman   as   U.S. Arctic Base Personnel

Gammera, The Invincible

Actor's name on the left, character played on the right.

  • Albert Dekker   as   Secretary of Defense
  • Brian Donlevy   as   General Terry Arnold
  • Diane Findlay   as   Sergeant Susan Embers
  • John Baragrey   as   J.T. Standish
  • Dick O'Neill   as   General O'Neill
  • Mort Marshall   as   Jules Manning
  • Alan Oppenheimer   as   Dr. Contrare
  • Steffen Zacharias   as   Senator Billings
  • Thomas Stubblefield   as   Captain Lovell
  • Gene Bua   as   Lieutenant Clark
  • Bob Carraway   as   Lieutenant Simpson
  • John McCurry   as   A1C Hopkins
  • Walter Arnold   as   American Ambassador
  • Louis Zorich   as   Russian Ambassador
  • Robin Craven   as   British Ambassador
  • Bernard Grant   as   Dr. Hidaka (voice)
  • Larry Robinson   as   Aoyagi (voice)
  • Paulette Rubinstein   as   Kyoko Yamamoto (voice)
  • Lucy Martin   as   Nobuyo Sakurai (voice)
  • Corrine Orr   as   Toshio Sakurai (voice)
  • Peter Fernandez   as   Mr. Ueda (voice)
  • Kenneth Harvey   as   Chidori Maru Navigator (voice)
  • Jack Curtis   as   News Announcer (voice)
  • William Griffis   as   Misc. roles (voice)


Gallery

Main article: Gamera (film)/Gallery.

Alternate Titles

  • Giant Monster Gamera (Literal Japanese Title)
  • Gamera: The Invincible (English Japanese DVD Title)
  • Gammera, The Invincible (United States)
  • Gamera: The Giant Monster (U.S. DVD and Blu-ray Title)
  • The World Under Terror (El mundo bajo el terror, Spain)

U.S. Release

American Gammera, The Invincible poster
Gamera was the only film in the original Gamera series to be released to American theaters. It was originally presented in America by World Entertainment Corp. and Harris Associates, Inc. who released it under the title Gammera, The Invincible, with two "m"s. All subsequent entries in the series spelled the main character's English name "Gamera," and were released directly to television by American International Productions Television (A.I.P.-TV). Gammera, The Invincible's American premiere was in New Orleans on December 15, 1966.

Gammera, The Invincible was heavily re-edited from its original Japanese version. Shots and scenes were moved around, while some were deleted completely. The subplot involving Aoyagi's one-sided relationship with Kyoko was removed and Toshio's implied mental disorder and role in the plot was de-emphasized. Gamera's implied origins and connections to the Atlantean continent were also excised, and authorities are made initially unsure of Gamera's existence. New footage featuring American actors, including Albert Dekker and Brian Donlevy, was spliced in to create a more international feel and to replace scenes shot in Japan featuring American characters, in a style similar to the U.S. release of Godzilla, King of the Monsters!. Unused effects footage obtained from Daiei was also reinserted into Gamera's attack on the geothermal power plant.

Gammera, The Invincible was dubbed by Titan Sound Inc. It features the voices of Jack Curtis and Peter Fernandez, who are best known as voices in the English dubs of Speed Racer and Ultraman. It is in the public domain in the United States and has been released on DVD by too many companies to fully list, although a 1999 VHS by Neptune Media is the only version to present the film in its original aspect ratio.

In 1985, Sandy Frank Enterprises commissioned a new dub of the film, possibly from Anvil Studios, which was first released in 1987. The Sandy Frank version, titled simply Gamera, is simply the Japanese version of the film dubbed into English, with two differences. Like the other Gamera films distributed by Sandy Frank, it features a new credits sequence with footage of ocean waves as a backdrop. Gamera's raid on the geothermal power plant is also edited differently.[2] It is only available via VHS and LaserDiscs released by Celebrity Home Entertainment in the 1980's. Gamera, along with the other four Sandy Frank Gamera movies, was mocked twice on Mystery Science Theater 3000, first on KTMA TV 23, a UHF station in the St. Paul-Minneapolis area, and later in the show's third season.

Region 1 DVD releases of the film by Shout! Factory and Mill Creek Entertainment present it in its original uncut Japanese version with English subtitles, under the English title Gamera: The Giant Monster.

Video Releases

Daiei Video DVD (2001)

  • Region: 2
  • Discs: 1
  • Audio: Japanese (Mono)
  • Special Features: Cast and crew bios, theatrical trailer, Gamera anatomy, interviews with director Noriaki Yuasa (approximately 1:30) and special effects director Yonesaburo Tsukiji (approximately 2:30)
  • Notes: Only the movie itself has English subtitles. Out of print.

Shout! Factory DVD (2010)

  • Region: 1
  • Discs: 1
  • Audio: Japanese (1.0 Mono)
  • Special Features: Audio commentary by August Ragone, 10-page booklet, trailer, gallery of publicity materials, "A Retrospective Look at the Gamera Franchise" featurette (23 minutes)

Mill Creek DVD (2014) [Gamera: Legacy Collection]

Mill Creek Blu-ray (2014) [Gamera: Ultimate Collection, Volume 1]

Kadokawa released Gamera on Blu-ray in 2009, with additional DVD releases in 2010 and 2016. Further information is not available yet.

Videos

Gammera, The Invincible in widescreen (taken from the Neptune Media VHS)
Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode K05 - Gamera
Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode 302 - Gamera
Japanese Gamera trailer
English subtitled Japanese Gamera trailer (taken from the Neptune Media VHS)
American Gammera, The Invincible trailer
Theme Song from Gammera, The Invincible by The Moons
King Features Entertainment Gamera TV spots
Celebrity Home Entertainment Gamera video promo
Roger Corman hosts Gamera for AMC Monsterfest 1999

Trivia

  • The World Entertainment/Harris Associates cut of the film, entitled Gammera, The Invincible, contains one shot of Gamera not in the original Japanese version or the Sandy Frank dub. It is a wide shot of Gamera attacking the nuclear reactor.
  • This film is the only film in the Gamera series where Gamera does not fight another monster.
  • In a scene that was filmed but ultimately not used, Toshio’s classmates bullied him for not wanting to build model kits or listen to music with them. One of those kids was played by Tôru Furuya, who would go on to become a prominent voice actor, his roles including Seiya in Saint Seiya, Yamcha in the Dragon Ball series, Tuxedo Mask in Sailor Moon, and Amuro Ray in Mobile Suit Gundam.
  • Gamera was originally supposed to be called "Kamera" ("kame" being the Japanese word for turtle), but the name was judged to be too similar to "camera."[citation needed]
  • Daiei president Masaichi Nagata claimed he came up with the idea for Gamera when he looked out the window of a plane and saw a cloud that looked like a turtle (a story that parallels Tomoyuki Tanaka's yarn about Godzilla's origin almost exactly). P Productions founder Tomio Sagisu disputes this story, saying that Daiei stole one of the monster ideas he had for a half-hour kaiju TV show. The proposed series was rejected by all of Japan's major studios, Daiei included, for the high budget it would require. Apparently, one of his teleplays included the description "the turtle monster flies by pulling its head into its shell and shooting flames."
  • The Gamera suit used for the majority of filming was 6 ½ feet tall and 110 pounds, built by Kanji and Koei Yagi, who also built the suit in used the first Godzilla movie. A second, heavier suit was used for fire-breathing scenes, so as to better protect the actor inside.
  • All of the stuntmen Daiei hired to play Gamera for this film quit in short order, forcing the special effects staff to draw lots to determine who would climb into the suit each day. Kazuo Yagi did the most time. Gamera would be played by actor Teruo Aragaki for his next three film appearances, and Umenosuke Izumi for the following two.
  • The original script called for Toshio to have a dream in which he played with Gamera.[citation needed]
  • Gamera's fire was created with pressurized propane. Rumor has it that one of the small mechanical models used during a fire-eating scene exploded during filming.[citation needed]

References

This is a list of references for Gamera (film). 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: [1]

  1. Stuart Galbraith IV. Monsters Are Attacking Tokyo!. Feral House. p. 74. 1998. ISBN: 0-922915-47-4.
  2. Giant Monster Gamera - Geothermal Power Plant Attack (Version Comparison)

Kadokawa Pictures (formerly Daiei Motion Picture Company)
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Comments

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Toa Hydros

3 months ago
Score 0

My Thoughts: Gamera

Overall, a decent first attempt at a daikaiju flick. While the original Gamera didn't have the menacing presence Godzilla had in his early Showa Era (and post-Showa), the monster action in this flick is still top notch.

The human characters are hardly anything special; just your typical scientists trying to put a stop to Gamera's rampage. My only real gripe is the child protagonist: Climbing to the top of a crumbling lighthouse? Riding a train car full of flammable liquids being offered to Gamera as bait? Jeezus, kid! There's liking turtles, and then there's being fanatically obsessed to them. His obsession is cast in an even sicker light when it's made obvious that he doesn't seem to particularly care that Gamera's rampages are leading to the deaths of hundreds.

There are a number of different cuts of this movie, and if I had to choose a favorite, I'd have to go with the first American edit "Gammera the Invincible"; the added scenes are just so hilarious, especially the part with the two men arguing on the talk show (I swear that one guy looks and sounds like Dan Castellaneta).

Though the plot is more or less typical of the kaiju genre, the movie has a few twists and turns that help it to stand out from the crowd. I say give it a watch.
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Gamera

14 months ago
Score 0
Great start to the franchise. Love the classic black and white.