Dogora (1964)

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Dogora
The Japanese poster for Dogora
Alternate titles
Flagicon Japan.png Giant Space Monster Dogora (1964)
Flagicon United States.png Dagora, the Space
Monster
(TV 1965)
See alternate titles
Directed by Ishiro Honda
Producer(s) Tomoyuki Tanaka, Yasuyoshi Tajitsu
Written by Shinichi Sekizawa (screenplay);
Jojiro Okami (story)
Music by Akira Ifukube
Distributor TohoJP, AITVUS
Rating Unrated
Running time 81 minutesJP
(1 hour, 21 minutes)
79 minutesUS
(1 hour, 19 minutes)
Aspect ratio 2.35:1
Rate this film!
3.00
(6 votes)

Earth SOS! Both buildings and people are sucked up by the terrifying giant monsters! (地球SOS!ビルも人間も吸い上げる恐怖の大怪獣!)
„ 

— Japanese tagline

Foreign affairs detective, investigating world-wide disappearance of diamonds, encounters gigantic atomic-mutated jellyfish which threatens the earth’s destruction.
„ 

— U.S. press synopsis[1]

Dogora (宇宙大怪獣ドゴラ,   Uchū Daikaijū Dogora, lit. Giant Space Monster Dogora) is a 1964 tokusatsu kaiju film produced by Toho Company Ltd. It was released to Japanese theaters on August 11, 1964, as a double feature with Kigeki Ekimae Ondo.[2]

Plot[edit | edit source]

A gang of diamond robbers break into a jewelry store in Tokyo. Before they can empty the safe, an unseen force lifts them into the air. The gangsters fire shots wildly, alerting two passing policemen to their position and prompting the gang to retreat empty-handed. After they leave, the entity manifests itself as a pulsating mass. It cuts a hole in the vault door.

Detective Komai trails Mark Jackson, self-professed diamond broker but suspected thief, to the home of noted crystallographer Dr. Munekata. Jackson gets the upper hand on Komai, knocking out the detective with a swift karate chop. He apologizes to Dr. Munekata before stealing his diamonds. On the street outside, Jackson is stopped by the jewel thieves, who believe him responsible for their earlier failed heist. They force him to come along to their headquarters, where he proposes an alliance. Instead, they take the diamonds he lifted from Dr. Munekata.

The next morning, Dr. Munekata refuses to file a report for the theft of his diamonds, which he reveals are worthless artificial ones he'd been studying. Komai, leading the investigation into a string of recent diamond thefts, brings Munekata and his assistant, Masayo Kirino, on board to help. He says the police suspect that Jackson is working in concert with the gang, known as the International Diamond Robbers, who are likewise suspected of multiple thefts around the world, including the disappearance of the diamonds at the Tokyo shop. In reality, however, they have only successfully pulled off a single heist in Paris. Dr. Munekata can't explain how the vault door was so easily penetrated.

A gangster inspects one of Munekata's diamonds and identifies it as an imitation. Jackson, not having previously known this, is taken prisoner by the gang, but he again uses his unlikely martial arts skill to escape.

Komai walks Masayo to her home in an industrial section of town, near a coal-processing factory. She introduces her brother, a researcher with the Space Exploration Committee. The trio watch as the coal plant is attacked by the same unseen force from the diamond robbery. It snaps a smoke stack in half and sucks all of the coal into the sky. Kirino recognizes the sound of the force from a recent unexplained disappearance of a communication satellite in orbit over Japan.

The next night, Komai tracks Jackson to his Tokyo hotel suite. Jackson is in a hurry to get away, claiming he has to meet a "friend." Komai tries to detain him, but once more, Jackson's deceptiveness allows him to get away. His "friend" is actually the International Diamond Robbers, who have planned to hit a truck transporting raw diamonds from Yokohama. Jackson attempts to break up the heist, but the gang successfully remove the diamonds and send a hijacked coal truck down the road towards his position. Suddenly, the truck is lifted into the air by the invisible entity, which consumes the payload of coal. It discards the truck, dropping it back onto the highway as the gangsters escape. Back at their headquarters, they discover the diamonds in the truck had been replaced with sugar cubes.

Jackson goes to visit Dr. Munekata to consult him about this latest string of incidents. Masayo alerts Komai, and the police arrive to apprehend him. Jackson reveals that he works as a "Diamond G-Man" for the World Diamond Insurance Association, and he's been after the International Diamond Robbers himself. He realizes, however, that they couldn't be responsible for all the high-profile heists the Japanese suspect them of, but he's been unable to determine just who or what is responsible. Kirino enters with a report on the mysterious energy: The Space Exploration Committee has concluded that space cells in orbit had been transformed by atmospheric radiation into a monster, dubbed Dogora, which targets coal and diamonds because of their specific carbon content.

The police are unable to explain why Dogora attacked only a coal transport the other night until Komai hits on the idea that the diamonds were fake. Despite Jackson's recent cooperation with the Japanese authorities, Komai again suspects him of having stolen or hidden the real diamonds that night. Learning that Jackson has just skipped town, Komai pursues him to Kitakyushu. Coincidentally, Dr. Munekata and Masayo head there for research and join up with a JSDF detachment tasked with protecting coal mines from Dogora. Radar picks up a mass at 20,000 feet, suspected to be the monster but instead discovered to be a huge swarm of wasps. Enormous rock-like chunks then rain down over the region. That night the space cells converge into a colossal form, which ravages the city from the sky. The JSDF's elaborate attack against the monster backfires when the defensive missiles trigger a fission reaction which causes Dogora to multiply. Fortunately, however, Dr. Munekata discovers that the rocks which fell from the sky are crystallized space cells, with wasp toxin the catalyst, and the JSDF gets to work replicating the toxin for defensive use against the monsters.

Komai drops in on Jackson in Kitakyushu, but both are ambushed by the gangster, who had likewise suspected Jackson of switching the diamonds with the sugar. They discover a safe deposit key; the boss entrusts his operatives Hamako and Sabu to take it to retrieve the diamonds while he and the rest of the gang tie up Komai and Jackson to several sticks of dynamite. Dogora appears again, and in the confusion, Hamako makes off with the diamonds. Sabu returns and informs his partners of her deception. The boss lights the fuses and take off after their double-crosser, who they know plans to escape at a nearby cove. As the fuse burns away, Komai is able to slip his bonds and he and Jackson escape the death trap.

The gang catch up with Hamako at Iwata Beach. Komai, Jackson, and the police arrive and a firefight breaks out. Hamako attempts to escape but is shot by the boss. She dies clutching the spilled diamonds. Meanwhile, the JSDF begins its attack against Dogora. The toxin proves highly effective, and the dying creature crystallizes in the skies above the beach. A large crystalline mass plummets from the sky and crushes the gangsters. JSDF jets and toxin tanks take out the rest of the space cells, ending Dogora's reign of terror.

Komai sees Jackson off at the airport and the latter reveals the diamonds stolen by Hamako were more fakes. He asks Komai to sign his official report, which the detective gratefully agrees to do. Jackson boards the flight to the U.S. with Dr. Munekata, who plans to present to the UN a practical application for the space cells' energy.

Staff[edit | edit source]

Main article: Dogora (film)/Credits.

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

Cast[edit | edit source]

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

  • Yosuke Natsuki   as   Komai
  • Yoko Fujiyama   as   Masayo Kirino, Dr. Munakata's assistant
  • Hiroshi Koizumi   as   Kirino
  • Akiko Wakabayashi   as   Hamako, Diamond thief
  • Nobuo Nakamura   as   Dr. Munakata
  • Seizaburo Kawazu   as   Chief Diamond thief
  • Robert Dunham (as "Dan Yuma")   as   Mark Jackson
  • Susumu Fujita   as   Defense Force Executive Officer Iwasa
  • Jun Tazaki   as   Police chief
  • Yoshibumi Tajima   as   Tada, Thief
  • Hideyo Amamoto   as   Maki, Thief
  • Nadao Kirino   as   Gen, Thief
  • Akira Wakamatsu   as   Matsu, Thief
  • Haruya Kato   as   Sabu, Thief
  • Jun Funado   as   Detective Nitta
  • Yasuhisa Tsutsumi   as   Ginza policeman
  • Koji Iwamoto   as   Dr. Munekata's assistant
  • Mitsuo Tsuda   as   Defense Corps executive
  • Takuzo Kumagai   as   Defense Corps executive
  • Chotaro Togin   as   Coal truck driver
  • Shoichi Hirose   as   Thermal power plant staff
  • Yutaka Nakayama   as   Coal truck assistant
  • Yoshiyuki Uemura   as   Diamond transport, passenger
  • Shiro Tsuchiya   as   Thermal power plant staff
  • Jiro Tsuzukawa   as   Thermal power plant staff
  • Haruya Sakamoto   as   Diamond transport, driver
  • Hideo Shibuya   as   Journalist
  • Yutaka Oka   as   Transport company manager
  • Ichiro Chiba   as   Tenpodo staff
  • Shinjiro Hirota   as   Tenpodo staff
  • Toku Ihara   as   Drunk
  • Tadashi Okabe   as   Ginza policeman
  • Wataru Omae   as   Radio lab researcher
  • Koji Uno   as   Thermal power plant worker

International English dub[edit | edit source]

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

  • Ted Thomas   as   Dr. Munakata / Police chief / Ginza policeman
  • Nick Kendall   as   Mark Jackson

Appearances[edit | edit source]

Monsters[edit | edit source]

Weapons, vehicles, and races[edit | edit source]

Production[edit | edit source]

In 1962, following the completion of Gorath, Toho commissioned science fiction writer Jojiro Okami to write an original story for an alien invasion monster movie. Shinichi Sekizawa adapted the story, titled Space Mons (スペース・モンス,   Supēsu Monsu), into a film treatment which was never produced. Two years later, the Space Mons treatment was revisited and reworked by Sekizawa into Earth Martial Law (地球戒厳令,   Chikyū Kaigenrei)[3] and produced as The Space Monster (宇宙大怪獣 (スペースモンスター),   Supēsu Monsutā).[2]

Gallery[edit | edit source]

Main article: Dogora (film)/Gallery.

Soundtrack[edit | edit source]

Main article: Dogora (Soundtrack).

Alternate titles[edit | edit source]

  • Giant Space Monster Dogora (宇宙大怪獣ドゴラ,   Uchū Daikaijū Dogora, literal Japanese title)
  • Space Monster Dogora (Japanese poster English title)
  • Space Mons (スペース・モンス,   Supēsu Monsu, original story and 1st draft title)[3]
  • Earth Martial Law (地球戒厳令,   Chikyū Kaigenrei, 2nd draft title)[3]
  • The Space Monster (宇宙大怪獣 (スペースモンスター),   Supēsu Monsutā, preparatory and final draft title)[3][2]
  • Dagora, the Space Monster (United States)
  • X 3000 - Phantoms Against Gangsters (X 3000 - Fantome gegen Gangster, West Germany)
  • Dogora: The Monster from the Great Swamp (Dogora: Il Mostro Della Grande Palude, Italy)
  • Dogora: The Monster from the Swamp (Dogora: Il Mostro Della Palude, Italian video title)
  • Dogora, The Space Invader (Dogora, O Invasor Espacial, Brazil)
  • Dogora, The Space Monster (Dogora, O Monstro do Espaço, Portugal; Dogora, El monstruo del Espacio, Mexico)
  • Dogora - Monster Octopus (Dogora - Canavar Ahtapot; Turkey)

Theatrical releases[edit | edit source]

  • Japan - August 11, 1964
  • Thailand - 1964
  • Brazil - 1965
  • Colombia - 1966
  • West Germany - September 30, 1966
  • Mexico - December 22, 1966
  • Portugal - November 27, 1967

U.S. release[edit | edit source]

Toho had an English-language version of Dogora prepared[1] in Hong Kong by Ted Thomas's Axis Productions.[4] Because Robert Dunham primarily spoke Japanese for his role in the film, his voice was dubbed into English by another actor.[5]

In April 1965, Dogora played at the Toho Theatre in Honolulu, Hawaii, in Japanese with English subtitles. A newspaper ad in the Honolulu Advertiser referred to it as Space Monster Dogora.[6]

Dogora was licensed for U.S. release to American International Pictures. Its television unit, American International Television, first offered the film to television stations as Dagora, the Space Monster in the "Amazing '66" syndication package starting in 1965.[1] It would later be included in AITV's "SciFi 65" package.[1] Dogora was not re-dubbed for AITV's release; this version featured no on-screen credits of any kind, only the new opening title.[1]

As Dagora, the Space Monster, the film was never officially issued on home video, although unlicensed copies from Video Yesteryear were produced in the 1980s and 1990s.[7] Media Blasters released the film on DVD on July 15, 2005 under its Tokyo Shock label; audio options on the disc included the original Japanese audio with removable English subtitles and the original Toho international dub.[8]

Video releases[edit | edit source]

Tokyo Shock DVD (2005)

  • Region: 1
  • Discs: 1
  • Audio: Japanese, English (Mono 1.0)
  • Special features: Original trailer, production gallery, previews for other Tokyo Shock kaiju releases
  • Notes: Out of print. Picture is slightly cropped.[9]

Toho DVD (2005)

  • Region: 2
  • Discs: 1
  • Audio: Japanese (Mono 1.0 and Surround 5.1)
  • Special features: Audio commentary by Yosuke Natsuki, original trailer, interview with Teruyoshi Nakano and Keizo Murase (26 minutes), photo gallery, booklet
  • Notes: Does not include English subtitles.

Though Dogora is not available on Blu-ray, an HD version can be rented or purchased on the Japanese versions of Amazon Video and iTunes.

Videos[edit | edit source]

Japanese Dogora trailer
West German Dogora trailer
U.S. Dagora, the
Space Monster
title card
U.S. Dagora, the
Space Monster
end title

References[edit | edit source]

This is a list of references for Dogora (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. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Craig, Rob (2019). American International Pictures: A Comprehensive Filmography. McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers. pp. 109, 429. ISBN 9781476666310.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Toho Special Effects Movie Complete Works. villagebooks. 28 September 2012. pp. 83–84. ISBN 9784864910132.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 電脳小僧の特撮映画資料室. Cyberkids1954. Archived from the original on 16 July 2018.
  4. MAN OF A THOUSAND VOICES! Hong Kong Voice Actor Ted Thomas on His Prolific Dubbing Career!
  5. Ryfle, Steve (1998). Japan's Favorite Mon-Star: The Unauthorized Biography of "The Big G". ECW Press. p. 187. ISBN 9781550223484.
  6. Fullscreen capture 5172017 42925 PM.bmp.jpg
  7. 1997-11-25 Monsters on the March Video Yesteryear ad.png
  8. DVD FIRST LOOK: Media Blasters' VARAN and DOGORA
  9. DVD: Dogora (Tokyo Shock)

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