Godzilla (1954)

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Godzilla films
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Godzilla (1954)
Godzilla Raids Again
Godzilla
The Japanese theatrical poster for Godzilla
Alternate titles
Flagicon United States.png Godzilla, King of
the Monsters!
(1956)
See alternate titles
Directed by Ishiro Honda
Producer Tomoyuki Tanaka
Written by Shigeru Kayama, Takeo Murata,
Ishiro Honda
Music by Akira Ifukube
Special
effects by
Eiji Tsuburaya
Distributor TohoJP, Trans WorldUS 1956,
Rialto PicturesUS 2004 and 2014
Rating PGUK
Budget ¥60 million[1]
Box office $2 millionUS 1956[2]
$412,520US 2004
$150,191US 2014
Distributor rentals ¥152.14 million[3]
Running time 96 minutesJP
(1 hour, 36 minutes)
80 minutesUS
(1 hour, 20 minutes)
Aspect ratio 1.37:1
Rate this film!
4.85
(202 votes)

Godzilla or a weapon of science? A great battle of wonder and terror! A radiation-breathing giant monster's rampage plunges Japan into the depths of fear!
(ゴジラか、科学兵器か、驚異と戦慄の一大攻防戦!放射能を吐く大怪獣の暴威は日本全土を恐怖のドン底に叩き込んだ!)
„ 

— Japanese tagline

The Spectacle That Created World Sensation - The monster of the century awakened to life by the H-Bomb
„ 

— International tagline

INCREDIBLE, UNSTOPPABLE TITAN OF TERROR!
It's Alive!
KING OF THE MONSTERS!
CIVILIZATION CRUMBLES as its death rays blast a city of 6 million from the face of the earth!
MIGHTIEST MONSTER!
MIGHTIEST MELODRAMA of them all!
„ 

— American taglines

Godzilla (ゴジラ,   Gojira) is a 1954 tokusatsu kaiju film directed and co-written (with Takeo Murata) by Ishiro Honda from a story by Shigeru Kayama, with special effects by Eiji Tsuburaya. Produced by Toho, it is the first installment in the Godzilla series as well as its Showa era. It stars Akira Takarada, Momoko Kochi, Akihiko Hirata, Takashi Shimura, and Fuyuki Murakami. The film was released to Japanese theaters by Toho on November 3, 1954.[4] Jewell Enterprises produced a heavily-edited English-language version of the film directed by Terry Morse popularly known as Godzilla, King of the Monsters!, starring Raymond Burr as a new character named Steve Martin. TransWorld Releasing premiered this version of the film in the United States on April 27, 1956, as Godzilla.

Responsible for launching the long-running Godzilla series as well as the genres of both kaiju eiga and tokusatsu in general, Godzilla was an incredibly successful and influential film both in Japan and internationally. The film tells the story of Godzilla, a huge prehistoric beast roused from his ancient slumber by H-bomb testing in the South Pacific, who proceeds to lay waste to Tokyo. Only the young scientist Daisuke Serizawa holds the key to possibly defeating the invincible monster, a deadly chemical weapon called the Oxygen Destroyer. However, even as the destruction mounts, Serizawa resists revealing his invention to the world out of fear it will become a far worse threat to humanity than even nuclear weapons. Godzilla was followed by a direct sequel, Godzilla Raids Again, in 1955.

Plot

On the evening of Friday, August 13, 1954, the Japanese freighter Eiko Maru is suddenly consumed by a white-hot flash of light from the water near Odo Island and sinks. With the involvement of the Coast Guard, Southern Seas Shipping sends a rescue boat, the Bingo Maru, to investigate the accident, but it meets the same fate. A fishing boat from Odo Island discovers survivors in the area, but it too is shipwrecked before it can return to the island.

Meanwhile, on Odo Island, the citizens of the local fishing community are unable to catch anything. Masaji Yamada, a local fisherman and the only survivor from the most recent shipwreck, washes ashore on a raft and tells the islanders that something sank his boat. An elder says that Godzilla must be the cause, though many of the younger islanders are hesitant to believe the superstition. According to local folklore, Godzilla is a kaiju who lives in the sea that comes from the ocean to feed on mankind. Whenever fishing was poor, the islanders once sent young women adrift on rafts as a sacrifice to prevent Godzilla from coming ashore.

A helicopter carrying investigative reporters arrives on Odo Island. The residents increasingly begin to believe that the recent disasters in the ocean were caused by a living creature, but the reporters remain skeptical. That night the islanders perform an exorcism ceremony in the hope of warding off Godzilla. A violent storm hits the island, and much of the village is destroyed, as though it was crushed from above. Masaji's younger brother Shinkichi ventures outside during the storm and watches in horror as his family home is crushed by a gigantic creature with his brother and mother still inside.

The next day, the witnesses are brought to the National Diet Building in Tokyo. Paleontologist Dr. Kyohei Yamane requests that an investigative party be sent to Odo Island. Accompanying the expedition are Yamane's daughter Emiko and her boyfriend Hideto Ogata, a salvage worker for Southern Seas Shipping. As the expedition's Coast Guard ship Shikine prepares to depart, reclusive scientist and Emiko's childhood friend Dr. Daisuke Serizawa sees them off. The expedition arrives safely on the island, where Yamane discovers a huge footprint contaminated with radioactivity, along with a trilobite. Suddenly, the village alarm is set off and the villagers run towards the hills. A huge monster raises its head over a hill, terrifying the villagers who flee after witnessing its sheer size.

Afterwards, Yamane presents his findings at an emergency meeting at the Diet Building. He presents a photograph of the creature, proposing to call it "Godzilla" after the monster from Odo Island's folklore. He states that Godzilla must stand at least 50 meters tall and posits that he is actually a prehistoric semi-aquatic reptile, intermediary between land and marine reptiles. Yamane says that the sediment from Godzilla's footprint contained a massive amount of Strontium-90, which could have only have come from a hydrogen bomb. Thus, Yamane proposes that repeated recent hydrogen bomb testing in the South Pacific completely destroyed Godzilla's underwater habitat, irradiating him and driving him from his sanctuary. After Yamane's presentation, a man from the assembly, Oyama, suggests that the information should not be publicly known. Since Godzilla is the product of nuclear weapons, Oyama says, the truth may strain Japan's already fragile international relations. However, a woman representative in the assembly angrily objects to Oyama's suggestion and demands that the truth be revealed. After she insults Oyama, chaos breaks loose in the Diet Building.

Godzilla's existence and origins are officially revealed to the public, and a JMSDF fleet is immediately sent out to use depth charges in an attempt to kill the monster. In his home, Yamane sits alone forlorn in his study with the lights out. Being a zoologist, Yamane does not want Godzilla to be killed, but rather studied.

That night, Godzilla suddenly rises in Tokyo Bay in front of a pleasure boat, unharmed by the depth charge assault. Within a minute, the monster descends back into the ocean, but his brief appearance causes nationwide panic. The next morning, government officials ask Yamane if there is a way to kill Godzilla. A frustrated Yamane explains that Godzilla has already survived a massive amount of radiation, and believes that he should be studied to see what keeps him alive.

Emiko is expected to marry Serizawa, who is also a colleague of her father. Emiko, however, is in love with Ogata and plans to marry him, having always seen Serizawa as a brother. A reporter named Hagiwara asks Emiko to introduce him to Serizawa so that he can interview him about a supposed invention that may prove to be a breakthrough against Godzilla. Emiko agrees, intending to use the opportunity to finally tell Serizawa she plans to marry Ogata. Serizawa insists that he has no idea what invention Hagiwara is talking about, and the reporter leaves. Serizawa agrees to show Emiko his current experiment, on the condition that she not tell another soul about its existence. He brings Emiko into his laboratory, where he demonstrates his invention by dropping a pellet into a fish tank, which causes the water to bubble before asphyxiating and then disintegrating all of the fish inside. Serizawa explains that while researching the element oxygen, he stumbled upon an incredibly powerful chemical reaction that horrified him. He calls his invention the Oxygen Destroyer, and says that until he finds a beneficial use for it, he will never reveal its existence to the world as it is a far more powerful weapon than any nuclear bomb. Emiko is shocked by the demonstration, but agrees to keep Serizawa's secret. However, she is unable to tell him about her engagement to Ogata.

That night, Godzilla appears again out of Tokyo Bay and attacks Tokyo's Shinagawa Station. While the monster's attack is relatively short, the devastation and death toll is severe. The next morning, the JSDF hastily construct a line of 30-meter electric towers along the coast of Tokyo that will send 50,000 volts of electricity through Godzilla, should he arrive again. Civilians are then evacuated from the city and put into bomb shelters. The JSDF then prepares a blockade along the fence line.

When night falls, Godzilla surfaces from Tokyo Bay again. Coming ashore at the Shibaura ward, the monster easily breaks through the giant electric fence, with no pain inflicted. The heavy machine gun fire and bombardment of artillery shells from the JSDF also have no effect. As Godzilla breaks through the high-tension wires, he spits a stream of superheated radioactive vapor from his mouth to melt the electric fence. Godzilla continues to move inland, reaching the heart of Tokyo and setting it ablaze with his atomic breath. The JSDF's 49th Tank Corps is also useless against and annihilated by Godzilla, who continues his raid well into the night. By the end, the entire city is destroyed and thousands of innocent civilians are dead, dying, or wounded. As Godzilla wades back into Tokyo Bay, a squadron of sabre jets fire rockets at the monster, which while they do not phase Godzilla though do manage to lead him out to sea, where he disappears beneath the waves.

The next morning, the city is in absolute ruins. Hospitals are overrun with victims, many exposed to heavy doses of radiation. As Emiko sees the many victims of Godzilla's attack while volunteering at an emergency shelter, she takes Ogata aside and tells him Serizawa's dark secret, in the hope that together, they can convince Serizawa do something against Godzilla.

Ogata and Emiko visit Serizawa to ask for permission use the Oxygen Destroyer against Godzilla. Serizawa refuses and storms down to his basement to destroy the weapon. Ogata and Emiko follow him down in order to prevent him from doing so. However, this only results in a short scuffle between Ogata and Serizawa, with Ogata receiving a minor head wound. As Emiko treats the wound, Serizawa apologizes. Ogata tries to convince Serizawa that he is the only one who can save the world. Serizawa responds that if he found a use for the Oxygen Destroyer that could benefit mankind, he would be the first to reveal it to the world. In his current form, he says, it is only a chemical weapon of mass destruction. Ogata insists that it may be the only way to stop Godzilla's reign of terror, but Serizawa fears that revealing it now would be like opening Pandora's box. The politicians of the world will not stand idly by after seeing the weapon in action, Serizawa warns, and will want to use it as a weapon. So long as he lives, Serizawa fears that he could be coerced into revealing his secret so that the Oxygen Destroyer would fall into the wrong hands. As a scientist and human being, Serizawa says he cannot in good conscience introduce a weapon even more dangerous than nuclear weapons.

Just as Ogata begins to accept Serizawa's refusal, a grim television program appears on the air, showing the devastation and deaths caused by Godzilla, along with prayers for hope and peace. Shaken by what he is witnessing, Serizawa ultimately decides to use his last Oxygen Destroyer, but only one time. Serizawa then proceeds to destroy his research, knowing that this weapon was almost as dangerous and destructive as Godzilla himself, and that destroying this weapon and all evidence of its existence will be for the betterment of society.

The next day, the Shikine takes Ogata and Serizawa to detonate the Oxygen Destroyer in Tokyo Bay, accompanied by a host of scientists and reporters. Serizawa requests that he be put in a diving suit to make sure the device is used correctly. Ogata at first refuses to allow Serizawa to dive with no prior experience, but soon gives in on the condition he accompany him. Once a Geiger counter locates Godzilla resting on the sea floor, Ogata and Serizawa then descend into the water, with the latter wielding the Oxygen Destroyer. Seemingly unaware of the divers, the monster slowly walks around the ocean floor. Ogata then is pulled back to the surface while Serizawa activates the Oxygen Destroyer. As Serizawa witnesses Godzilla dying from the effects of the destructive weapon, he wishes Emiko and Ogata happiness together before cutting his line and oxygen cord to ensure that he will die with Godzilla, sacrificing himself so that his knowledge of the horrible weapon dies with him. A dying Godzilla surfaces before the onlookers on the ship, lets out a final defiant roar, and sinks lifelessly to the bottom of the bay, disintegrating first into a skeleton and then into nothingness.

Although Godzilla is destroyed and many of those onboard celebrate, Emiko, Ogata, and Yamane sit solemnly and grieve for Serizawa. Yamane suggests that it is unlikely Godzilla was the last of his species. He says that if nuclear testing continues, another Godzilla will probably appear somewhere in the world again. Everyone aboard then collectively salutes Serizawa's sacrifice.

Staff

Main article: Godzilla (1954 film)/Credits.

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

Godzilla, King of the Monsters!

  • Directed by   Terry Morse
  • Cinematography by   Guy Roe
  • Sound by   Art Smith
  • Sound effects by   George Rohrs
  • Supervising editor   Terry Morse
  • Assistant director   Ira Webb

Cast

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

  • Akira Takarada   as   Hideto Ogata, Southern Seas Salvage employee
  • Momoko Kochi   as   Emiko Yamane
  • Akihiko Hirata   as   Dr. Daisuke Serizawa, scientist
  • Takashi Shimura   as   Dr. Kyohei Yamane, paleontologist
  • Fuyuki Murakami   as   Dr. Tanabe, Institute of Public Health representative
  • Sachio Sakai   as   Hagiwara, daily newspaper reporter
  • Toranosuke Ogawa   as   President of Southern Seas Salvage
  • Ren Yamamoto   as   Masaji Yamada, fisherman
  • Miki Hayashi   as   chairman of Diet committee
  • Seijiro Onda   as   Representative Oyama
  • Takeo Oikawa   as   chief of task force
  • Keiji Sakakida   as   Inada, man of Odo Island
  • Toyoaki Suzuki   as   Shinkichi Yamada, Masaji's brother
  • Kokuten Kodo   as   elder of Odo Island
  • Kin Sugai   as   Mrs. Ozawa
  • Tamae Kawai   as   young lady of Odo Island
  • Shizuko Azuma   as   dancing woman on pleasure boat / woman on train
  • Tsuruko Mano   as   Kuni Yamada, Masaji's mother
  • Tadashi Okabe   as   Dr. Tanabe's assistant
  • Kiyoshi Kammoda   as   dancing man on pleasure boat / man on train
  • Ren Imazumi   as   Japan Coast Guard officer
  • Masaaki Tachibana   as   TV tower announcer
  • Ichiro Tate   as   GHK live commentator
  • Yasuhisa Tsutsumi   as   Odo Islander
  • Jiro Suzukawa   as   Odo Islander
  • Saburo Iketani   as   GHK live announcer on Shikine
  • Katsumi Tezuka   as   Godzilla / daily newspaper desk worker
  • Haruo Nakajima   as   Godzilla / daily newspaper reporter / substation worker
  • Ken Echigo   as   sailor playing harmonica on Eiko Maru (uncredited)
  • Masayoshi Kawabe   as   Eiko Maru crewmember (uncredited)
  • Masaki Shinohara   as   Eiko Maru crewmember / newspaper reporter on Shikine (uncredited)
  • Yu Fujiki   as   Eiko Maru wireless communications officer (uncredited)
  • Sokichi Maki   as   commander of Coast Guard (uncredited)
  • Saburo Kadowaki, Akira Kitchoji, Mitsuo Matsumoto, Takuya Yuki   as   Japan Coast Guardsmen (uncredited)
  • Shigemi Sunagawa   as   Coast Guard officer / man looking up at Godzilla (uncredited)
  • Kamayuki Tsubono   as   Coast Guard officer / newspaper reporter on Shikine (uncredited)
  • Mitsuo Tsuda   as   Coast guard officer / police commander (uncredited)
  • Hideo Otsuka   as   Coast guard officer / doctor (uncredited)
  • Nobuo Katsura   as   Coast Guardsman (uncredited)
  • Akiu Jiro   as   Southern Seas Salvage executive (uncredited)
  • Masako Oshiro, Matsue Ono, Sumio Ueno   as   female family members of missing sailors (uncredited)
  • Kyoko Ozawa   as   female family member of missing sailors / female delegate (uncredited)
  • Yasumasa Onishi, Masahide Matsushita   as   male family members of missing sailors (uncredited)
  • Tokio Okawa   as   male family member of missing sailors / man looking up at Godzilla (uncredited)
  • Hideo Shibuya, Junichiro Mukai   as   newspaper reporters (uncredited)
  • Kuro Sakurai   as   newspaper reporter / task force member (uncredited)
  • Kenji Sahara   as   newspaper reporter / member of couple on pleasure boat (uncredited)
  • Shizuji Yoshida   as   rescued sailor (uncredited)
  • Hiroshi Akitsu, Ryutaro Amami, Akio Kusama   as   Odo Islanders (uncredited)
  • Hiroko Terasawa   as   young woman of Odo Island (uncredited)
  • Toriko Takahara, Tenji Tsurue   as   women of Odo Island (uncredited)
  • Goro Amano   as   man on Shikine (uncredited)
  • Ishiro Honda   as   substation worker (uncredited)
  • Keiichiro Katsumoto, Akira Sera, Shoichi Hirose   as   representatives (uncredited)
  • Takuzo Kumagai   as   Undersecretary of Defense (uncredited)
  • Yutaka Sada, Kazuo Hinata   as   men at countermeasures headquarters (uncredited)
  • Junnosuke Suda   as   train driver (uncredited)
  • Junpei Natsuki   as   substation engineer (uncredited)
  • Rinsaku Ogata   as   task force communications officer (uncredited)
  • Koji Uno   as   man who gives message to correspondent at task force headquarters (uncredited)
  • Toshitsugo Suzuki   as   newspaper reporter / man who escapes from Godzilla (uncredited)
  • Shigeo Kato   as   man who escapes from Godzilla / searchlight operator (uncredited)
  • Teruko Mita   as   mother cradling children (uncredited)
  • Soji Shima   as   GHK staff member (uncredited)
  • Kazuo Imai   as   refugee along the Sumida river (uncredited)
  • Hideko Ebata   as   nurse (uncredited)
  • Yoshie Kihara, Kazuyo Mochida, Yayoko Kitano   as   nurses on TV (uncredited)
  • Kazuko Ejima   as   victim (uncredited)
  • Eisuke Nakanishi, Takeo Inoue   as   Shikine crew (uncredited)
  • Haruya Sakamoto   as   newspaper reporter on Shikine (uncredited)
  • Koji Uruki, Yukio Kawamata   as   assistants to announcer on Shikine (uncredited)
  • Yutaka Oka   as   voice of warning announcer (uncredited)
  • Toho High School of Music students   as   students singing "Prayer for Peace" (uncredited)

Godzilla, King of the Monsters!

German Godzilla dub

Italian Godzilla, King of the Monsters! dub

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

  • Emilio Cigoli   as   Steve Martin
  • Rita Savagnone   as   Emiko Yamane
  • Giuseppe Rinaldi   as   Lieutenant Hideto Ogata
  • Vittorio Kramer   as   George Lawrence
  • Pino Locchi   as   Tomo Iwanaga

Appearances

Monsters

Weapons, vehicles, and races

Gallery

Main article: Godzilla (1954 film)/Gallery.

Soundtrack

Main article: Godzilla (1954 film)/Soundtrack.

Development

In February 1954, Toho began preproduction on In the Shadow of Glory, a film which would be shot in the Dutch East Indies (presently Indonesia) under the direction of Senkichi Taniguchi and co-produced with Indonesian company Perfini. However, on March 20, shortly before shooting was scheduled to begin, Toho received a letter declaring that the Indonesian studio had backed out of the production; this is documented to have been due to rising tensions between the two nations after Japan had taken control of the Dutch East Indies during World War II.[5] In an effort to renegotiate, Japanese producer Tomoyuki Tanaka went to Jakarta, but was unsuccessful. On his flight back to Tokyo, feeling anxious about losing esteem with Toho executive Iwao Mori, he began to ideate a film starring a giant monster. Tanaka ultimately penned an outline entitled The Giant Monster from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, taking inspiration from the accident of the Lucky Dragon No. 5 fishing boat (which in March of that year had been caught in the fallout of a hydrogen bomb test while unknowingly fishing too close to the test site at the Bikini Atoll), as well as the American film The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953) which he had read about in a trade journal.[6][note 1]

In April, Mori accepted Tanaka's proposal and brought Toho's special effects director Eiji Tsuburaya, who had worked on several box office hits for the company, onto the project. Tsuburaya had been considering making a giant monster film ever since seeing King Kong (1933) two decades prior.[8] In 1951, he had submitted an outline for a film involving a giant octopus destroying fishing vessels in the Indian Ocean, and just a year before Godzilla, he and screenwriter Takeo Murata turned in a proposal about a giant whale attacking Tokyo. Concepts from both would end up being incorporated into the early drafts of Godzilla.[9]

Production

Chosen to direct was war veteran and pacifist Ishiro Honda, who would later on direct a good half of the Godzilla series during the Showa era, along with several other science fiction films. The man in charge of effects, Eiji Tsuburaya, originally wanted to film Godzilla in stop-motion animation like his personal favorite film, King Kong. However, Haruo Nakajima quoted Tsuburaya in saying that "...it would take seven years to make...", so it was decided to portray the titular monster through an actor in a suit, a style of special effects that would be popularized by this film and later known as "suitmation." The Godzilla suit was originally brown and weighed over 200 pounds. When suit actor Haruo Nakajima tried to move in it, it took several minutes. A lighter suit was made along with a pair of suspended legs. The filming took approximately three months.

Alternate titles

  • G Production: Godzilla (G作品 ゴヂラ,   Jī Sakuhin Gojira, early story treatment title)
  • G Production (G作品,   Jī Sakuhin, working title)
  • Atomic Dinosaur (原子恐龍 Yuánzǐ kǒnglóng, Taiwan)
  • Godzilla, King of the Monsters! (United States; Australia)
    • Monster King Godzilla (怪獣王ゴジラ,   Kaijū ō Gojira, Japanese title for the U.S. version)
  • Godzilla: Monster of the Sea (Godzilla: Monstret Från Havet; Sweden)
  • Japan: Under the Terror of the Monster (Japón: Bajo el Terror del Monstruo; Spain)
  • The Monster of the Pacific Ocean (O Monstro do Oceano Pacífico; Portugal)
  • Godzilla, the Monster of the Century (Godzilla, το τέρας του αιώνος, Godzilla, to téras tou aió̱nos; Greece)
  • Birth of Godzilla (哥吉拉的誕生 Gējílā de dànshēng, Taiwanese DVD title)
  • Godzila, The Sea Monster (Godzila, O Monstro do Mar; Brazil)
  • Awakened Destruction (Probuzená zkáza; Czechoslovakia)
  • Godzilla - King of Monsters (Godzilla - Konungur óvættanna; Iceland)
  • Godzilla, King of the Monsters (Godzilla, rey de los monstruos, Uruguay)
  • Godzilla, the Sea Monster of Odo (Godzilla, het zeemonster van Odo; Netherlands)
  • Godzilla, Sea Monster (Godzila, morsko čudovište; Yugoslavia)

Theatrical releases

View all posters for the film here.

  • Japan - November 3, 1954[4]  [view poster]Japanese poster; May 1957[10] (U.S. version)  [view poster]Japanese 1957 poster
  • Taiwan - December 7, 1955  [view poster]Taiwanese poster
  • United States - April 27, 1956 (New York City premiere)  [view poster]American poster; July 11, 1956 (Los Angeles opening day); May 7, 2004; April 18, 2014
  • Canada - August 5, 1956 (preview), August 6, 1956
  • West Germany - August 10, 1956  [view poster]German poster
  • Netherlands - September 6, 1956
  • Spain - November 5, 1956  [view poster]Spanish poster
  • Denmark - November 26, 1956  [view poster]Danish poster
  • United Kingdom - December 1956  [view poster]British poster
  • Czechoslovakia - 1956  [view poster]Czechoslovak poster
  • Mexico - 1956  [view poster]Mexican poster
  • Argentina - 1956  [view poster]Argentinian poster
  • Cuba - 1956  [view poster]Cuban poster
  • Sweden - January 28, 1957
  • France - March 14, 1957  [view poster]French poster
  • Italy - July 1957  [view poster]Italian poster; 1977 (Cozzilla)  [view poster]'Cozzilla' poster
  • Portugal - July 24, 1957  [view poster]Portuguese poster
  • Belgium - 1957  [view poster]Belgian poster
  • Poland - 1957  [view poster]Polish poster
  • Australia - September 16, 1957  [view poster]Australian poster
  • Brazil - January 1958  [view poster]Brazilian poster
  • Turkey - March 5, 1958
  • Iceland - August 30, 1958
  • South Korea - May 7, 2004
  • Thailand - 1960
  • Yugoslavia  [view poster]Yugoslav poster

Foreign releases

U.S. release

U.S. Godzilla, King of the Monsters! poster

In 1955, Edmund Goldman, former foreign branch manager of Columbia Pictures and co-founder of Manson Distributing Corp., purchased the North American theatrical and television exhibition rights for Godzilla from International Toho Inc. for a sum of $25,000 ($291,400 adjusted for inflation), the contract dated September 27, 1955, stipulating that the licensee would be allowed to re-edit the picture with Toho's final approval. Goldman, who was more studied in exporting Hollywood films abroad than domestic distribution, approached producers Harold Ross and Richard Kay of Jewell Enterprises, who came up with ideas to localize the film for American audiences. Ross and Kay sought financial aid from Joseph E. Levine of Embassy Pictures Corporation, who, enthused by the film's potential, entered into a partnership on the film with Jewell and brought on the publicity services of Terry Turner, the producer responsible for ad campaign of the successful 1952 re-release of King Kong.[11]

In 1956, TransWorld Releasing Corporation and Embassy Pictures distributed Godzilla in the U.S. Extensively re-edited, it now featured 21 minutes of new footage, starring Raymond Burr as American journalist Steve Martin. This version premiered at the Loew's State Theatre in New York City on April 27, 1956, under the title Godzilla.[note 2][12][13][14] This version is more popularly known as Godzilla, King of the Monsters!, which has been the title used on television and video, and possibly other territories during its 1956 theatrical release. In New York City, Godzilla was shown exclusively at the Loew's State until May 18, 1956, after which it expanded to other theaters on the Loew's circuit throughout June.

Unlike all future Godzilla films, much of the Japanese dialogue was not dubbed, with other characters often translating conversations for Steve. Although key elements were removed from the original cut of the film, Raymond Burr added legitimacy through an American perspective to an otherwise foreign film. Godzilla, King of the Monsters! was later released in Japan under the title Monster King Godzilla (怪獣王ゴジラ,   Kaijū ō Gojira). This style of "Americanization" through the inserting of a Western actor became commonplace in the localization of subsequent kaiju films, most notably Half Human, Varan (as Varan the Unbelievable), King Kong vs. Godzilla, and Daiei's film Gamera the Giant Monster (as Gammera the Invincible). In 1985, when New World Pictures released The Return of Godzilla in the U.S. as Godzilla 1985, they chose to emulate Godzilla, King of the Monsters! and include new footage featuring American actors, including Burr, who reprised his role as Steve Martin. After years as a TV staple, Vestron Video released Godzilla, King of the Monsters! on VHS in 1983, with several other companies following suit over the next 15 years. It was first released on DVD by Simitar Entertainment in 1998.

For years, it was difficult to view the original Japanese version of the film in the U.S. It played in Japanese-American theaters in 1955 and at New York City's Public Theater in 1982 as part of a series on Japanese film.[15][16] In 2004, Rialto Pictures released the unedited Japanese version to theaters across the country.[17] Classic Media released the Japanese version as Gojira on DVD in 2006, with Godzilla, King of the Monsters! included on a second disc. In 2012, Godzilla joined the Criterion Collection on DVD and Blu-ray, with both versions thoroughly restored. In 2014, Rialto brought it back to theaters. North American distribution rights to Godzilla are currently held by Janus Films, along with numerous other Showa Toho kaiju films.

Differences between Godzilla, King of the Monsters! and the original Japanese version of the film include:

  • The film's opening credits sequence is omitted, and replaced with a shot of the ocean's surface boiling taken from later in the film followed by Godzilla's roar and the title card. Rather than beginning with the sinking of the Eiko Maru, the American version opens with Steve Martin narrating over the ruins of Tokyo as he lies in rubble after Godzilla's vicious rampage the previous night. Steve is taken to a hospital and speaks with Emiko Yamane, who is played by a body double alternated with close-up shots of Momoko Kochi in the role from the Japanese version. He then recalls the events which led him to this point, with the entirety of the film up until the aftermath of Godzilla's rampage presented as a flashback narrated by Steve.
  • A scene where Steve is on the plane to Japan is added before the sinking of the Eiko Maru, in which he explains through narration that he was heading for Japan to visit a college friend of his, Dr. Serizawa, who is portrayed as a famous scientist rather then a reclusive one.
  • Godzilla's roar is added when the flash of light underneath the water blinds the men on the Eiko Maru.
  • The scene where Hideto Ogata cancels his date with Emiko is cut and replaced with Steve arriving in Japan to talk to Serizawa's assistant (a character exclusive to the American version) and a security officer played by Frank Iwanaga who questions Steve about whether he saw the destruction of the ship. Being a reporter, Steve wants to know what is going on, and the security officer takes him to the office of the shipping company. Clips of the officer translating the Japanese speech for Steve are added to the scene where the shipping company tries to figure out what happened.
  • Kyohei Yamane is said to have been called in by the shipping company to discuss the cause of the shipping accidents. The scene of this discussion utilizes footage taken from later in the film where government officials ask Dr. Yamane about possible measures to eliminate Godzilla, and is not dubbed, with the security officer simply translating the conversation for Steve. His translation is not actually accurate to the conversation taking place, which is most conspicuous when Dr. Yamane says "Gojira", despite Godzilla's existence supposedly not being known at this point.
  • A scene of Steve calling his editor to tell him about the ship attacks is added after the sinking of the Bingo-Maru. During the phone call, Steve says that eight ships have been destroyed, while only two had been sunk at that point in the Japanese version.
  • In the scene where Masaji Yamada washes ashore on Odo Island, Steve's narration explains that he died, while in the Japanese version he simply passed out. This becomes a continuity error later during the sequence where Godzilla comes ashore on Odo Island during a typhoon, as footage of Masaji looking up in terror as Godzilla approaches his house is retained.
  • Steve is part of the party of reporters that is dispatched to Odo Island to investigate, accomplished through shots of him inside a helicopter which is meant to be the same one carrying Hagiwara and the other members of the press. Steve and the security officer watch the exorcism ceremony on the island that night, and listen to the conversation between Hagiwara and the island elder. This conversation is not dubbed, and the officer translates it for Steve. The island elder's voice is dubbed over to add in a single word, "Gozilla." The security officer repeats the name for Steve, who mispronounces it as "Godzilla" when he asks if that is supposed to be the name of the creature the islanders believe responsible for the shipping disasters.
  • Some shots of Steve and the security officer staying in a tent and exiting it to witness the devastation are spliced into the sequence where Godzilla comes ashore on Odo Island during a typhoon.
  • The testimonies at the National Diet Building by the Odo Island residents who survived Godzilla's attack are summed up through narration by Steve. During Yamane's following speech, shots of Steve watching are added. This is followed by a scene where Steve briefly interviews Yamane, played by a body double, to ask him if he can be a part of the expedition to Odo Island, to which Yamane replies "Of course."
  • Shots of Steve on the boat are added to the scene of the Odo Island expedition team's departure. Serizawa's presence in the scene, however, is cut, as he is said to be doing important field tests at this point.
  • The audience is introduced to Ogata and the love triangle between him, Emiko, and Serizawa through Steve narrating Ogata and Emiko's conversation on the way to Odo Island, with shots of Steve watching them spliced in.
  • Shots of Steve and the security officer are added during the Odo Island expedition and Godzilla's first appearance.
  • When Dr. Yamane discusses Godzilla in front of the assembly at the Diet, he estimates that Godzilla stands 400 feet tall, compared to 50 meters (about 164 feet) in the Japanese version.
  • The huge argument that breaks out in the assembly at the Diet is not dubbed or subtitled, leaving what exactly is being argued about unclear.
  • A scene of commuters on a train discussing having to go back to the bomb shelters in the wake of news about Godzilla is cut.
  • A scene is added where Steve first calls his editor to update him on what Godzilla is and the JSDF's depth charge attack. Afterwards, he shares a brief phone conversation with Serizawa, who, like Emiko and Dr. Yamane, is played by a body double.
  • The specifics of the love triangle between Serizawa, Emiko, and Ogata are altered. Whereas in the Japanese version Serizawa is said to simply be in love with Emiko, who herself is in love with Ogata and only sees Serizawa like a brother, in the American version Steve explains that Emiko was betrothed to Serizawa when they were both children. Thus, in the American version, Emiko's visit to Serizawa is to break off her engagement with him rather than just to tell him that she plans to marry Ogata.
  • The scene where Emiko visits Serizawa with the reporter Hagiwara is removed. It is only revisited partially through flashback later in the film when Emiko reveals the existence of the Oxygen Destroyer, something that occurs in the original Japanese version as well. It is stated instead by Steve through narration and Serizawa on the phone call that Emiko asked to see Serizawa herself to break off her engagement with him.
  • When Emiko tries to tell Serizawa about her relationship with Ogata, instead of starting a conversation by asking him what he is working on, she tells him that she is glad that he is back, as Serizawa was said to be doing important field tests earlier in the American cut.
  • Godzilla's roars are added when he rises from the water near a pleasure boat.
  • A montage of the JSDF's preparations is added between Godzilla's first and second attacks, narrated by Steve.
  • The scene where Emiko talks to her father as he sits alone in his study and Godzilla rising from the water near a pleasure boat happen in the Japanese version before Emiko visits Serizawa. The American cut fades from Emiko walking away from Ogata after telling him that nothing happened at Serizawa's house to the depth charge attack against Godzilla, while Dr. Yamane arriving home is moved to after the JSDF preparation montage.
  • When Emiko tells Ogata that she did not get the chance to tell Serizawa about their relationship, Ogata says, "I understand, Emiko" instead of just giving her a reassuring nod.
  • Shots of Steve are spliced into Godzilla's first attack on Tokyo.
  • The scene where the military comes up with the plan to defend Tokyo with electric towers is narrated over by Steve. Afterwards, a scene where the security officer explains the plan to Steve, who had to leave the meeting early, is added.
  • While the electric towers surrounding Tokyo are explained to have been built between Godzilla's first and second attacks in the Japanese version, in the American version they already existed and are just charged with extra voltage. In the Japanese dialogue, the voltage is stated as 50,000 volts, while in the English dialogue it is changed to 300,000 volts.
  • The scene where Ogata attempts to ask Dr. Yamane's consent to marry Emiko, but ends up getting thrown out of the house after he argues that Godzilla should be killed instead of studied, is cut.
  • Shots of Steve recording his live report are added throughout Godzilla's arrival and second rampage through Tokyo.
  • Godzilla's pause before attacking the electric towers is extended slightly.
  • Godzilla's second rampage through Tokyo is rearranged, due to the scene where Godzilla destroys the building Steve is recording from.
  • Instead of Emiko telling Ogata what Serizawa showed her like in the Japanese version, she, Ogata, and Steve share a scene together as Steve is laying in his hospital bed where Emiko tells the two of them. Emiko's conversation with Serizawa in the flashback is not dubbed but instead narrated over by her.
  • Ogata and Serizawa's conversation about using the Oxygen Destroyer is shortened. Ogata's line, "Then you have a responsibility no man has ever faced. You have your fear, which may become reality. And you have Godzilla, which is reality" is new to the American version.
  • Serizawa's line reassuring Emiko that burning his notes is the right thing to do as she weeps is cut.
  • The naval ship finding Godzilla and Serizawa asking Ogata to help him place the Oxygen Destroyer is summed up by Steve through narration.
  • Shots of Steve on the naval boat are added.
  • Godzilla's death roar is changed. A variant created by Toho for the dubbing music and effects track is played over the roar heard in the Japanese track, creating a flange effect.
  • Dr. Yamane's closing speech warning that a second Godzilla may appear if nuclear testing continues is replaced by Steve narrating: "The menace was gone. So was a great man. But the whole world could wake up and live again."
  • In lieu of the removed opening credits, English-language credits are added after the film's ending, accompanied by Akira Ifukube's score.

On November 3, 2021, Toho's 4K restoration of Godzilla played at Alamo Drafthouse theaters across the country.[18] Alamo Drafthouse locations screened the film again on November 3, 2022.[19].

Filipino Tokyo 1960 poster

Filipino release

People's Pictures released Godzilla in the Philippines in 1957, under the title Tokyo 1960.[20] It appears to have been edited to a similar extent as Godzilla, King of the Monsters, with posters advertising actors Tessie Quintana, Eddie del Mar, and Zaldy Zshornack, director Teodorico C. Santos, composer Ariston Avelino, and executive producer Cirio H. Santiago. Footage of this version has yet to surface, however.

French and Belgian release

French Godzilla poster

In France and Belgium, a 92-minute French-language combination assembly of footage exclusive to the original Toho version and Godzilla, King of the Monsters! was released by Les Films du Verseau on March 14, 1957. Adapted by Bruno Guillaume and Michel Gast, the French dubbing was recorded at Studios "S.I.M.". It contains many adaptational liberties in both dialogue and editing. Differences from the Japanese and American versions inherent to the French version include:

  • While still told as an account from Steve Martin's perspective, the events of the story play in chronological order, as in the Japanese version.
  • Steve Martin works for the "New York Herald" out of New York instead of United World News in Chicago.
  • Odo Island is renamed Oko Island.
  • Ogata is a student of Dr. Yamane. In his introductory scene with Emiko, he is asked over the phone by Yamane to assist with his conference with the government officials.
  • Dr. Yamane is a radiobiologist in addition to a paleontologist. In the earlier placed scene where he meets with the officials (as in the American version), he reasons an atomic phenomenon may be the cause of the ship disasters.
  • The injury to Dr. Serizawa's eye is a recent one caused by his experiments, rather than being an injury he sustained in the Second World War. His inland "field experiments" and absence are merely a ruse to draw away suspicion from the experiments conducted in secret in his own Tokyo laboratory. The allegations of a German colleague by Hagiwara and Serizawa's dismissal of such one are omitted in the dialogue.
  • Confined to his hospital bed, Martin does not attend the operation to kill Godzilla with the Oxygen Destroyer himself, but watches the events unfold via television.
German Godzilla poster

West German and Austrian release

In West Germany and Austria, a shorter German language cut of the Toho version was released by Lehmacher Film on August 10, 1956. A version distributed by Atrium Film containing a different opening credits sequence also exists. In total, 13 minutes were removed from the film.[21]

Italian Cozzilla poster

Italian release

The first theatrical release of Godzilla, King of the Monsters! in Italy was distributed by Paramount Pictures in 1957. The film was simply titled Godzilla, and dubbed into Italian.

In 1977, a colorized version of Godzilla, King of the Monsters! directed by Luigi Cozzi was released theatrically in Italy, in advertising as Godzilla, il re dei mostri. The Italian reissue runs longer than the original King of the Monsters, inserting several minutes of stock footage from World War II newsreels and other 1950s monster movies. "Cozzilla", as it is often called, combining the last name of the movie's director and Godzilla, was colorized using a process called "Spectorama 70" which consisted of applying various multi-colored gels to black-and-white footage. Fabio Frizzi composed a cover of "Prayer for Peace" for this version's soundtrack, which would later be the basis for the main titles of Lucio Fulci's horror films Zombi 2 and City of the Living Dead.[22]

United Kingdom release

UK Godzilla, King of the Monsters! poster

Eros Films brought Godzilla, King of the Monsters! to UK theaters in February 1957, as part of a double feature with House of Dracula.[23] It became the first of several kaiju films to receive an X rating from the British Board of Film Censors (BBFC), preventing children under 16 from seeing it. In 2005, the British Film Institute became the first company to release an English-subtitled version of Godzilla on home video, with their DVD following a limited theatrical run. The film's re-release prompted the BBFC to reclassify it as PG for "mild threat, scary scenes, injury detail."[24]Sony released The Criterion Collection's Blu-ray edition of the film in 2019 as part of its Godzilla: The Showa-Era Films, 1954–1975 box set.

Box office

Godzilla had a budget of ¥60 million, with the cost of marketing and prints adding another ¥40 million.[25] The film earned ¥152.14 million in distributor rentals, making it the eighth-highest grossing Japanese film of 1954.[3]

Godzilla, King of the Monsters! was given a $25,000 lease by Toho, which made its budget just about $25,000 more than the original Japanese film's. The film grossed $2,000,000, making it a box office hit.[2] Both films grossed a combined total of roughly $4,250,000.

Reception

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Godzilla opened in Japan in 1954 and sold approximately 9.6 million tickets, gaining a lot of money for the time. While successful, it was small in relation to other works of the same year, such as Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai which, along with Godzilla, has become Japan's most famous film. A sequel was rushed into production. In the U.S., the film was re-edited with added footage of Canadian/American actor Raymond Burr playing reporter Steve Martin and retitled Godzilla, King of the Monsters!. In the U.S., it was also more successful than anticipated. The re-edited version of the film would be shown in many European and Latin American territories and gained Godzilla an unprecedented audience which has since made the monster an icon as recognizable as Superman. Its box office earnings were 152 million yen ($2.25 million).

For the West German theatrical version 13 minutes of the film were cut, cutting out Dr. Kyohei Yamane's return to Japan, shortening his speech and presentation of what Godzilla is and shortening the final scene. This version was used for all home video releases of the film. The unedited director's cut was not released until 2004, when it appeared in a special 50th anniversary box set by Splendid Film, along with the West German version and for the first time ever the U.S. version, plus a two-disc edition of Godzilla Final Wars. Godzilla was then made available as an individual release. In the U.S. and Canada, Classic Media released Godzilla in 2006 as part of its Master Collection; this release was a two-disc set, with one disc being the original Japanese version and the other one being the U.S. version with Raymond Burr.

Preservation

The original 35mm nitrate camera negative of Godzilla no longer exists. First generation 35mm prints and master positives are not known to exist.

In 2014, Tokyo Laboratory decided to carry out a 4K restoration of the film. 1973 and 1975 edge code 35mm internegatives residing at Tokyo Laboratory were found to be one generation older than the third generation, 1983 edge code 35mm master positive that had been the source for home video releases for years. All three materials were scanned in 4K DPX on an ARRISCAN film scanner. Restoration was conducted in 2K, with the second generation sources being prioritized. The restoration was then redone in 4K in 2021.[26]

After the U.S. version's first release in major U.S. cities, the United Kingdom and Australia, Movielab struck a 16mm reduction negative for television syndication. A 16mm print made from this negative was first shown on Monday, October 13, 1958 at 7:30 P.M. on WOR-TV in New York City.[27] The title on the printed-in film leader is flanked by Paramount logos, the Commonwealth term "spool" is used on the film leader instead of "reel", and the title "THIS PICTURE IS SUITABLE ONLY FOR ADULTS" with accompanying 35mm negative splice is also printed in at the start of the film before the TransWorld logo. All of these characteristics indicate that the original negative of the U.S. version had been conformed to the 1957 Paramount Australian release, and that a 35mm master positive had been printed from it at some point after the conforming and then used to print the television negative prior to the 1958 premiere on WOR-TV.[28][29][30] The well-known Godzilla, King of the Monsters! title card is printed into the television negative, but a title lasting 30 seconds crediting Burr, Honda and Terry Morse was cut into the television negative itself one second before the end of the fade out of the main title.[31][32] Instead of splicing in silence or additional sound underneath their credits title, Movielab let this 30-second title and one second of cut title card throw the sync off until the fade in to decimated Tokyo by recording 29 seconds of silence into the beginning of the soundtrack negative; this causes the TransWorld logo and title card to be silent and Godzilla's stomps and roar to be heard fully within the spliced-in title. Other than the end title, the ending credits are missing from the element used to print the television negative.

In the 1980s, a video master was made for television syndication and home video release. Black dust differs from the 35mm master positive used to print the 16mm television negative, and damage had accumulated on the original negative of the U.S. cut - particularly an uncertain form of decomposition seemingly only affecting the camera original U.S. footage - so the video master was transferred from a separate master positive printed at a much later date. Before Criterion's 2012 restoration, this master was used for all known home video releases in English-speaking countries and Japan. The TransWorld logo is present in this master positive, as is the full Godzilla, King of the Monsters! title card without the television negative's opening credits spliced in. However, on all known and authorized home video releases other than the cropped widescreen side of the 1998 Simitar DVD, and seemingly all television airings, the visual component of the TransWorld logo is replaced with a black screen. The ending credits other than the ending title are missing from the video master, as is the Australian ratings title.

The stomps heard under the TransWorld logo are at a higher volume and clarity than the single stomp heard under the title card, and an audible splice is present between the TransWorld logo's stomps and the title card; these characteristics are heard in both the master positive used to create the 1980s video master and the element recorded to Movielab's 16mm television soundtrack negative. These facts - along with the presence of the TransWorld logo and Godzilla, King of the Monsters! title card in a 16mm print of unknown lineage struck in 1956[33] - suggest that the TransWorld logo and Godzilla, King of the Monsters! title card were cut into the 35mm original negative of the U.S. version at some point in 1956 after the premiere as Godzilla sans TransWorld logo. The presence of part of the new title card in the theatrical trailer suggests that the title card had already been created by the time the film had premiered. The accompanying cuts in the picture and soundtrack to the excised ending credits are identical between the master positive used to print the television negative and the master positive used to create the 1980s video master, indicating that the ending credits were cut out of the original picture and soundtrack negatives of the U.S. version at some point after the addition of the TransWorld logo and new title card, but before the creation of the master positive used to print the 16mm television negative. The end credits were reinstated with the 2006 Classic Media DVD release, although mistakenly placed after the end title.

In 2018, Godzilla, King of the Monsters! was broadcast on the Comet TV station in a less restored version of the 35mm fine grain used for the majority of Criterion's HD restoration. This element - struck before the other two 35mm master positives - follows the original premiere version, featuring the title Godzilla, ending credits, and no TransWorld logo. In their video release, however, Criterion edited in both the more familiar Godzilla, King of the Monsters! title card and the TransWorld logo from a scan of the 16mm television negative.

The Godzilla title card is also seen in Toho's Monster King Godzilla cropped 2.35:1 theatrical release. Only an extremely worn 35mm release print and the subtitle negatives survive of Monster King Godzilla. It is unknown whether the original 35mm negative of the U.S. version survives.

Technical specifications

Japanese version (1954)

  • Shooting format: 35mm black and white negative (spherical)
  • Lab work: Toho Laboratory
  • Distribution format: 35mm black and white print (spherical)
  • Aspect ratio: 1.37:1
  • Audio format: Optical mono
  • Spoken language: Japanese
  • On-screen language: Japanese (credits)
  • Lab reel count: 10 reels
  • Projection reel count: 10 reels[34]
  • Footage count: 8737 feet (2663 meters[34])
  • Notes: "Produced with the Cooperation of the Japan Coast Guard" title before Toho logo.

Godzilla, King of the Monsters! (1956)

  • Shooting format: 35mm black and white negative (spherical)
  • Cut on: 35mm black and white internegative and camera negative (spherical)
  • Distribution format: 35mm black and white print (spherical)
  • Aspect ratio: 1.37:1
  • Audio format: Optical mono
  • Spoken language: English, Japanese
  • On-screen language: English (credits)
  • Lab reel count: 9 reels[35]
  • Projection reel count: 5 reels
  • Footage count: Approx. 7,200 feet (2195 meters)

Video releases

Toho Video VHS (1980)

  • Region: NTSC
  • Tapes: 1
  • Audio: Japanese (Mono)
  • Notes: Presents an abridged 90-minute version of the film. Reissued with new cover in 1983.

Toho Video VHS (1983)

  • Region: NTSC
  • Tapes: 1
  • Audio: Japanese (Mono)
  • Notes: Presents a heavily abridged 30-minute digest version of the film.

Toho Video LaserDisc (1985)

  • Region: NTSC
  • Discs: 1 (CLV, 2 sides)
  • Audio: Japanese (Mono)
  • Notes: First home video release of the uncut version of the film.

Simitar DVD (1998)[36]

  • Region: 1
  • Discs: 1
  • Audio: English (1.0 Mono, 5.1 Surround)
  • Subtitles: None
  • Special features: Optional 1.66:1 presentation (cropped), Simitar-produced trailers for the company's kaiju releases, art gallery, trivia game, Sci-Fi Monsters documentary
  • Notes: Out of print.

DVD Toho DVD (2001)[37]

  • Region: 2
  • Discs: 1
  • Audio: Japanese (2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: Japanese
  • Special features: Audio commentary by Akira Takarada, isolated music and sound effects track, isolated score, Akira Ifukube interview, cast profiles, trailer

Classic Media DVD (2002)[38]

Siren Visual Entertainment DVD (2003)

  • Region: 4
  • Discs: 1
  • Audio: English (2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: None
  • Special features: None
  • Notes: NTSC-to-PAL conversion. Packaged with King Kong vs. Godzilla (same disc). Out of print.

Madman DVD (2004)[39]

Classic Media DVD (2006) [40]

  • Region: 1
  • Discs: 2
  • Audio: Japanese (2.0 Mono), English (2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Special features: Two audio commentaries by Steve Ryfle and Ed Godziszewski (one for each version of the film), 12-page booklet, Japanese and U.S. trailers, two 13-minute featurettes (Godzilla Story Development and Making of the Godzilla Suit)
  • Notes: Also included in a box set called The Godzilla Collection. Reissued in 2014 without the booklet. Both releases are out of print.

BFI DVD (2006)[41]

  • Region: 2
  • Discs: 1
  • Audio: Japanese (2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Special features: Audio commentary by Steve Ryfle, Ed Godziszewski, and Keith Aiken, Japanese and U.S. trailers, three featurettes (The Japanese Fishermen, Designing Godzilla, and Story Evolution), galleries of posters, storyboards, and stills/sketches, booklet

TOHO Visual Entertainment Blu-ray (2009)[42]

  • Region: A/1
  • Discs: 1
  • Language: Japanese (2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: Japanese
  • Special features: Audio commentary by Akira Takarada, isolated music and sound effects track, Akira Ifukube interview, cast profiles, trailers, score performed by a live orchestra, large stills gallery
  • Notes: English subtitles are not included.

Classic Media Blu-ray (2009)

  • Region: A/1
  • Discs: 1
  • Audio: Japanese (2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Special features: Audio commentary by Steve Ryfle and Ed Godziszewski, 12-page booklet, trailers, two 13-minute featurettes (Godzilla Story Development and Making of the Godzilla Suit)
  • Notes: Presents the film in the unusual aspect ratio of 1.47:1. Out of print.

The Criterion Collection DVD / Blu-ray (2012)[43]

  • Region: 1 (DVD) or A/1 (Blu-ray)
  • Discs: 2 (DVD) or 1 (Blu-ray)
  • Audio: Japanese (1.0 Mono), English (1.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Special features: Two audio commentaries by David Kalat (one for each version of the film), interviews with Akira Ifukube, Akira Takarada, Haruo Nakajima, Yoshio Irie and Eizo Kaimai, and Tadao Sato, two 9-minute featurettes (The Unluckiest Dragon and Godzilla Photography)
  • Notes: The Blu-ray is also included in Criterion's 2019 box set Godzilla: The Showa-Era Films, 1954–1975. Sony distributed a Region B/2 version of the set in the United Kingdom.

TOHO Visual Entertainment 4K Ultra HD / Blu-ray (October 25, 2023)[44]

  • Region: N/A (4K Ultra HD) or A (Blu-ray)
  • Discs: 1
  • Audio: Japanese (1.0 Mono), English (1.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: Japanese
  • Special features: Audio commentary by Akira Takarada, Akira Ifukube interview, "The Oxygen Destroyer", unused footage, Japanese trailer, export trailer, textless trailer, Godzilla, King of the Monsters! trailer, Japanese Godzilla, King of the Monsters! trailer, score performed by a live orchestra, large stills gallery, 1970 15-minute 8mm cut of the film
  • Notes: Includes the cropped Japanese version of Godzilla, King of the Monsters!. Uses the 4K scan and restoration of the Japanese version of the film conducted by Tokyo Laboratory in 2014 with an ARRISCAN.[45]

Videos

Trailers

Japanese trailer
Export trailer
Textless trailer
Monster King Godzilla Japanese trailer
Godzilla, King of the Monsters! trailer
Godzilla, King of the Monsters! TV trailer
Godzilla, King of the Monsters! radio spots
Vestron VHS Godzilla, King of the Monsters! trailer
Simitar VHS Godzilla, King of the Monsters! trailer
French trailer
Cozzilla Italian trailer
"Three Reasons" Criterion promo

Miscellaneous

Cozzilla with English subtitles
Alternate Godzilla, King of the Monsters! title card
Monster King Godzilla
Japanese theatrical credits
All of the new footage added to Godzilla, King of the Monsters!
Guillermo del Toro talks to Criterion about Godzilla

Trivia

  • Godzilla predates Toho's practice of theatrically releasing films with official companion features. Therefore, it was released in Japan with various different films, including Katakiuchi Kenjutsu (仇討珍剣法)[46].
  • The U.S. theatrical version was not packaged together with a companion feature nationwide in 1956, as it was released on a states rights basis. The film was shown with various films in different regions, depending on the sub-distributor. For its first run in Southern California in July 1956, Republic Pictures booked Godzilla, King of the Monsters! at 46 theaters, including 35 Fox West Coast hard-top theaters as well as Cal Pac and independent drive-ins, with the companion film A Strange Adventure (1956), featuring a supporting role by Nick Adams. Adams later starred in two 1965 Toho kaiju films: Frankenstein vs. Baragon and Invasion of Astro-Monster, the first originally meant to feature Godzilla and the second actually featuring Godzilla.
  • Godzilla's attack on the Eiko Maru takes place on August 13. Two calendars in Ogata and Emiko's first scene show the month ending on a Tuesday, as it actually did in 1954.
    • A synopsis from Toho's 1955 English sales pamphlet places the events of the film in the summer of 1955, however.[47]
    • The "Cozzilla" version of the film states that Godzilla's rampage through Tokyo takes place on August 6, 1954, referencing the date the United States dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima.[48]
  • While the Godzilla series has been rebooted several times, many films in the series include references to the original film and the year 1954, whether they actually share continuity with it or not.
    • Godzilla Raids Again features many references to the original film, along with a stock footage sequence of Godzilla's attack on Tokyo.
    • The Return of Godzilla features some mentions of the first Godzilla's attack on Tokyo, while Dr. Hayashida at one point shows Hiroshi Okumura a photograph of Godzilla destroying the Diet Building from this film.
    • In Godzilla vs. Biollante, the Oxygen Destroyer makes a cameo during the scene set in Goro Gondo's office, resting against the wall.
    • In Godzilla vs. Destoroyah, it is revealed that the Oxygen Destroyer used to kill Godzilla in this film mutated a colony of Precambrian crustaceans under Tokyo Bay into the monster Destoroyah.
    • In Godzilla vs. Megaguirus, Godzilla simply returned to the ocean after destroying Tokyo in 1954 and did not appear again until 1966. The film never mentions the Oxygen Destroyer, suggesting that Dr. Daisuke Serizawa possibly never invented it or could not be convinced to use it against Godzilla. However, the Godzilla Defense Force Codex states that "the Oxygen Destroyer failed to kill Godzilla, instead sending the kaiju into decades of hibernation."
    • In Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack, Godzilla was killed by the Oxygen Destroyer in 1954, but its use was kept secret by the government, who gave the JSDF credit for killing the monster.
    • In the Kiryu series, Godzilla was killed by the Oxygen Destroyer in 1954, but his skeleton survived and was used as the framework for the bio-robot Kiryu, which was used by the Japanese government in 2003 to battle the second Godzilla that first appeared in 1999.
    • In Godzilla Final Wars, it is stated that Godzilla first appeared in 1954, and the Earth Defense Force was subsequently formed to fight him. Aside from this reference, the two films do not share continuity.
    • In Legendary Pictures' Godzilla, it is stated that Godzilla was awakened by an American nuclear submarine in 1954 and menaced U.S. and Soviet forces in the South Pacific until the Castle Bravo nuclear test was conducted in an attempt to kill him later that same year. As with Godzilla Final Wars, this film only shares a reference to the year 1954 with the original film and is not part of the same continuity.
  • Close-up shots of Godzilla in this film were accomplished using puppets of Godzilla's upper body rather than the full-body suit. In addition, a partial Godzilla suit consisting only of the monster's lower body was employed for some shots of Godzilla's legs.
  • The sound effects team originally tried to create Godzilla's roar by using animal roars that had been edited. They sampled all kinds of birds and mammals, but nothing seemed to be the right match for the reptile-like noises a monster like Godzilla would make. Akira Ifukube, who was the film's composer, proposed stepping away from using animal samples. He took a string off of his contrabass and rubbed it with gloves soaked in pine tar. The sound that came from it was used as Godzilla's roar.
  • Although this was Godzilla's first film, the character's real debut was The Monster Godzilla (怪獣ゴジラ), a radio drama which aired on Nippon Broadcasting, based on Takeo Murata's first-draft script. Its 11 half-hour episodes played from July 17 to September 25.[49] To date, the audio of the drama has only been released in the form of a CD (Godzilla Sound Memorial, alongside a 1984 interview with Tomoyuki Tanaka) packaged in the G-Shock - Godzilla Premium Collections 2001- set (Gの衝撃 ゴジラ・プレミアム・コレクションズ2001) by Toho in 2001.
  • Originally, the effects in this film were to be accomplished by stop-motion animation (filming small immobile puppets while moving them between each frame so that the playback will create an illusion of movement), which was very popular at the time. However, due to the film's budget, Eiji Tsuburaya made up a newer and cheaper method for this film later dubbed "suitmation" - foam-fabricating costumes that are coated with layers of latex and portrayed by actors.
    • Despite this, two scenes in the film appear to use stop-motion: at 58:28, when one of the fire trucks sent to stop the fires caused by Godzilla's rampage flips over, and at 1:03:58, when an agitated Godzilla swings its tail into a nearby building.
  • In Akira Kurosawa's posthumously published book A Dream is a Genius, Godzilla is listed at number 34 on the list of the director's top 100 favorite films.[50]
  • Godzilla is one of the few films in the series to show nudity, as several women in the background of a shot during the first scene on Odo Island are topless. Unlike instances of nudity in two later Showa era Godzilla films, Godzilla vs. Megalon and Terror of Mechagodzilla, this shot was retained in the U.S. version; however, it was shortened by several seconds.
  • Some stock footage of Godzilla's rampage from this film would later be used for the monster Varan's attack on Tokyo in the film Varan (1958).
  • In an unusual continuity error, the television that airs the memorial program following Godzilla's attack turns on by itself. None of the three characters present turn it on, nor do they take notice of the seemingly impossible occurrence.
  • The international research teams arrive on planes which include a Boeing 377 Stratocruiser and a Lockheed L-049 Constellation.

External links

Notes

  1. Tanaka later reportedly denied having any knowledge of The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms.[7]
  2. The combined continuity submitted to the State of New York for censorship on the eve of the premiere transcribes the title card as Godzillla. The title mentioned in correspondence with the State of New York is Godzilla, and in the original application, Godzilla is indicated as the exact title appearing on the print.

References

This is a list of references for Godzilla (1954 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. Ryfle & Godziszewski 2017, p. 84.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Davis 2012, p. 95.
  3. 3.0 3.1 The Complete 85-Installment History of Kinema Junpo's Best Ten: 1924-2011. Kinema Junpo. May 2012. p. 112. ISBN 978-4873767550.
  4. 4.0 4.1 ゴジラ|ゴジラ 東宝公式サイト (official Godzilla.jp page)
  5. Ryfle 1998, p. 22.
  6. Ragone 2014, p. 34.
  7. "本多猪四郎と戦争・ゴジラ・原水爆". IshiroHonda.com. Retrieved 9 July 2023.
  8. Ryfle 1998, p. 21.
  9. Toho 1985, pp. 220-221.
  10. Ryfle & Godziszewski 2017, p. 106.
  11. Ryfle 1998, pp. 51-52.
  12. Screen Shot 2024-03-02 at 8.44.45 PM.png
  13. Screen Shot 2024-03-02 at 8.45.22 PM.png
  14. Screen Shot 2024-03-02 at 8.46.29 PM.png
  15. Astounding Beyond Belief: Godzilla review in the Honolulu Advertiser, 10/7/55.
  16. Rochester Review: History, in Celluloid
  17. Gojira (1956) - Rotten Tomatoes
  18. Grobar, Matt (6 October 2021). "Alamo Drafthouse Sets 'Godzilla' Anniversary Screenings; 'Spencer' To Close Austin Film Festival; Lord & Miller Headlining Infinity Fest – Film Briefs". Deadline.
  19. "Gojira Returns to Alamo Drafthouse". Godzilla.com. 18 October 2022.
  20. Classic Horror Film Board - TOKYO 1960 (1957 movie... with Godzilla?!)
  21. [1]
  22. Talking COZZILLA: An Interview with Italian GODZILLA Director Luigi Cozzi << SciFi Japan
  23. Monsters From An Unknown Culture: Godzilla (and friends) in Britain 1957-1980 by Sim Branaghan – Part 1
  24. "Godzilla". BBFC. Retrieved 1 December 2023.
  25. Ryfle 1998, p. 33.
  26. Tatsuya Matsunaga (2021). ""使用禁止のネガ"に"失われたはずの予告フィルム"、『4Kゴジラ』制作秘話がゴジラ映画の考古学だった". Retrieved 19 November 2023.
  27. Screen Shot 2024-03-03 at 11.28.36 PM.png
  28. Ccd4e74fvz0c.jpg
  29. Screen Shot 2024-03-03 at 11.08.59 PM.png
  30. Screen Shot 2024-03-03 at 11.09.28 PM.png
  31. Screen Shot 2024-03-03 at 11.12.51 PM.png
  32. Screen Shot 2024-03-03 at 11.13.03 PM.png
  33. Ray Faiola (18 January 2012). "Godzilla DVD review". The Classic Horror Film Board.
  34. 34.0 34.1 Ishikawa, Eugene; Hirai, Yutaro, eds. (28 September 2012). Toho Special Effects Movie Complete Works. villagebooks. p. 4. ISBN 4-864-91013-8.
  35. Combined Continuity on Godzilla. Jewell Enterprises, Inc. 18 April 1956. p. 1.
  36. Amazon.com: Godzilla, King of the Monsters (1998 Re-Release of the American Version)
  37. DVD Reviews - Godzilla
  38. Amazon.com: Godzilla King of the Monsters (1956)
  39. Amazon.com: Godzilla-50th Anniversary Edition (Pal/Region 4)
  40. Amazon.com: Gojira / Godzilla, King of the Monsters (2004)
  41. [2]
  42. All Godzilla Movies Japanese Import Blu-Ray Review Thread
  43. Amazon.com: Godzilla (The Criterion Collection) (1954)
  44. Sato, Toshiaki (18 July 2022). "7 "Godzilla" works released in 4K remastered UHD for 3 consecutive months!". Note.
  45. Author(s). "Godzilla: Reviving the King of the Monsters." ARRINEWS, September 2014, pp. 12-15.
  46. Gojira 1954 Newspaper.jpg
  47. http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-BoE3ngwxTPs/U7hv3UVVSGI/AAAAAAAAACI/LOh3trjsMfs/s1600/Toho+Films+1955-56-05+Godzilla.jpg
  48. http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-H0nmElgR2es/U3Gb3lwelvI/AAAAAAAACc4/MB1yl9KMqyk/s1600/shot0652.png
  49. Godzilla Dictionary [New Edition]. Kasakura Publishing. 7 August 2014. p. 43. ISBN 9784773087253.
  50. Akira Kurosawa’s List of His 100 Favorite Movies - Open Culture

Bibliography

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