The crisis of the colliding mystery star is imminent! Can the Earth break free of its orbit? (怪星激突の危機迫る！地球の軌道脱出なるか)
— Japanese tagline
— American tagline
Gorath (妖星ゴラス is a Yōsei Gorasu, lit. Calamity Star Gorath)1962 Japanese tokusatsu science fiction film produced by Toho. The story for Gorath was written by Jojiro Okami, a former Japanese Air Force pilot who also gave the original ideas to the films The Mysterians, Battle in Outer Space, and Dogora. It was released to Japanese theaters on March 21, 1962.
Plot[edit | edit source]
As Tomoko Sonoda and Takiko Nomura prepare to go swimming in a lake, they are startled by the nearby launch of the rocketship JX-1 Hayabusa. The car radio informs them that Tomoko's father Raizo is the captain. Their mission is to observe a rogue star called Gorath. With a mass 6,000 times that of the Earth, it is on course to pass dangerously close to the planet. When they find it, however, its incredible gravitational pull starts to drag them in. Realizing the ship is doomed, Raizo tearfully orders the crew to collect as much data as possible and transmit it back to Earth in the time they have left.
Tomoko and Nomura encounter cadet astronaut Tatsuma Kanai fooling around in a robot costume at a Christmas celebration. As he slips past his fellow officers, Nomura praises his determination in the astronaut program. When Tomoko returns home, she is swarmed by reporters and finds a memorial to her father with dozens in attendance. Her grandfather, paleontologist Kensuke Sonoda, consoles her as she weeps for him. The Japanese government struggles to make sense of his data, as Gorath is only three-fourths of Earth's size. An investigation led by Drs. Kono and Tazawa deliver their findings, verified by their colleagues in the United States: Gorath is on a collision course with Earth. Kono requests that they take part in a United Nations effort to save their planet. Gorath's existence is quickly revealed to the public.
With the JX-2 Ootori under construction, Kanai continues his training. He and his fellow astronauts rush to meet Captain Endo when he arrives at the facility, only for him to silently turn away, signaling that their mission to Gorath has not yet been scheduled. Kanai and several others keep their spirits up by taking a joyride in a helicopter and singing of space exploration. They visit Secretary of Space Murata and petition him to authorize the launch of the JX-2. He informs them that the issue is a budgetary one, as the JX-1 was incredibly expensive, but he's recently secured the needed funds. Riding through Tokyo in a taxi, Kono and Tazawa are struck by how unconcerned their driver and the rest of the populace seem.
In a speech at United Nations Headquarters in New York City, Kono presents humanity's two options: destroy Gorath or move the Earth out of its path. Regarding the latter plan, Tazawa has calculated that the Earth must be over 400,000 kilometers from Gorath when it passes by. Heavy-water nuclear reactors will provide the necessary energy. Every country with a nuclear program pledges to declassify its research to aid in the operation. Back in Tokyo, Tazawa gives a presentation at the Diet Building showing the destruction Earth would face if Gorath passed within 200,000 kilometers: earthquakes, volcano eruptions, and the oceans and atmosphere sucked into space. The Japanese government receives a request from the U.N. to dispatch the JX-2 and immediately accepts. Vice Captain Saiki arrives at a dance to deliver the news to the astronauts. Only Kanai, visiting Nomura, is absent. Unsure he'll return from the mission, he presents her with an ornate necklace, but she rejects her. Her fiancé was one of the astronauts aboard the JX-1, and she refuses to accept that he's dead. Enraged, Kanai throws his picture out the window and storms out of the apartment.
JX-2 passes the French, Portuguese, and Czech international space stations that discovered Gorath. Endo remarks that such cooperation between nations would have been impossible before the United Nations. Work begins on a field of rockets in Antarctica to move the Earth. Tragedy strikes when one of the Atomic Burrowers causes a catastrophic cave-in, costing some 60 days of work. Approaching Gorath, the JX-2 finds that its gravitational pull has increased since it destroyed the JX-1, a consequence of it absorbing space debris on its journey. Kanai, piloting Capsule 1, launches to collect data on the star, with Endo cautioning him not to risk his life. Unable to get a reading on Gorath's mass, he soon disregards the order. Space debris strikes one of Capsule 1's thrusters, and as Gorath's surface flashes with colorful explosions, he manages to escape the star's pull just in time. However, the traumatic experience has caused him to lose his memory. The JX-2 docks at one of the international space stations so the data he gathered can be analyzed.
Back on Earth, the rockets in Antarctica fire successfully. Tomoko calls Tazawa via video phone to congratulate him, with his colleagues and her brother egging them on. He is uneasy, however, believing more rockets need to be added to account for Gorath's ever-growing mass. Kono opposes the idea but promises to consider it. After Tazawa leaves with Tomoko, Kono confides to Kensuke that the U.N. has concluded that nothing short of a miracle will save the Earth even if Tazawa gets his additional rockets; Gorath's pull is simply too powerful. Tomoko consoles Tazawa, saying that he at least gave humanity hope, and they embrace.
In Antarctica, an enormous walrus-like reptile suddenly attacks the U.N. base, though the outside world initially believes an earthquake caused the destruction. Kensuke identifies it as an animal after studying a blood sample. He theorizes that it was awakened by the rockets warming its habitat. A VTOL jet spots it and fires a laser at a nearby mountain, burying it in rubble. Kensuke and Kono land and try to observe it up close, but it quickly breaks free, prompting them to withdraw. Left with no other choice, the VTOL attacks Maguma directly, its laser quickly killing it.
Just before landing on Earth, the crew of the JX-2 watches as Gorath absorbs the rings of Saturn. One of the space stations accompanies them. Tomoko and Nomura prepare to evacuate Tokyo, though Nomura believes there's nowhere to run. Two of Kanai's colleagues bring him to them in the hopes of restoring his memory, but he fails to recognize them. Still, they agree to take him with them. Gorath becomes visible in the sky as the exodus continues, then consumes the Moon. Tidal waves flood Tokyo. An earthquake swallows up the satellite and JX-2, along with a village near the Sonoda house. Tidal waves strike the U.N. base in Antarctica as well, but the rockets persist. Watching Gorath on television, a terrified Kanai's memory is restored. All are silent as Gorath passes the Earth. Drenched in sweat, Tazawa announces they have succeeded, and the base erupts in celebration. The rockets shut down, as Tazawa and a colleague contemplate the task ahead: returning the Earth to its original orbit. The Sonodas, Kanai, and Nomura watch as flood waters slowly recede from Tokyo. The United Nations delivers a message to the world: "Everyone, we have just begun. Together, we overcame the doom of the suspicious star, Gorath. If we could come together and cooperate to overcome the danger that threatened us, can't we take this opportunity to work together for all eternity?"
Staff[edit | edit source]
- Main article: Gorath (film)/Credits.
Staff role on the left, staff member's name on the right.
- Directed by Ishiro Honda
- Written by Takeshi Kimura
- Based on a story by Jojiro Okami
- Executive producer Tomoyuki Tanaka
- Music by Kan Ishii
- Cinematography by Hajime Koizumi
- Edited by Reiko Kaneko
- Production design by Takeo Kita, Teruaki Abe
- 1st assistant director Koji Kajita
- Director of special effects Eiji Tsuburaya
- 1st assistant director of special effects Masakatsu Asai
Cast[edit | edit source]
Actor's name on the left, character played on the right.
- Ryo Ikebe as Dr. Tazawa, astrophysicist
- Yumi Shirakawa as Tomoko Sonoda
- Akira Kubo as Tatsuma Kanai, cadet astronaut
- Kumi Mizuno as Takiko Nomura
- Hiroshi Tachikawa as Wakabayashi, Otori pilot
- Akihiko Hirata as Endo, Otori captain
- Kenji Sahara as Saiki, Otori vice captain
- Jun Tazaki as Raizo Sonoda, Hayabusa captain
- Ken Uehara as Dr. Kono, astrophysicist
- Takashi Shimura as Kensuke Sonoda
- Seizaburo Kawazu as Tada, Minister of Finance
- Ko Mishima as Sanada, engineer
- Sachio Sakai as Doctor
- Takamaru Sasaki as Seki, Prime Minister
- Ko Nishimura as Murata, Minister of Space
- Eitaro Ozawa as Kinami, Minister of Justice
- Masanori Nihei as Ito, Otori crew member
- Kozo Nomura as Space station observer
- Keiko Sada as Secretary
- Hideyo Amamoto as Cabaret patron
- George Furness as Hooverman
- Ross Bennett as Gibson
- Junichiro Mukai as Space station guard
- Nadao Kirino as Hideo Manabe, deputy chief of Falcon
- Fumio Sakashita as Hayao Sonoda
- Ikio Sawamura as Taxi driver
- Toshihiko Furuta, Masayoshi Kawabe as Otori observers
- Koji Kamimura, Tadashi Okabe as Otori calculators
- Rinsaku Ogata, Kenichiro Maruyama as Otori engineers
- Koichi Sato, Yukihiko Gondo as Otori pilots
- Yasushi Matsubara, Yasuhiko Saijo as Otori communications officers
- Koji Uno, Shinpei Mitsui as Newspaper reporters
- Akira Yamada, Hiroshi Takagi as Hayabusa engineers
- Koji Suzuki, Koji Ishikawa as Hayabusa pilots
- Wataru Omae, Takuya Yuki as Hayabusa calculators
- Jiichiro Sho, Yasuo Araki as Hayabusa observers
- Kazuo Imai as Hayabusa communications officer
- Yusuke Suzuki as Hayabusa fueling technician
- Jiro Kumagai as Government official
- Osman Yusuf as Arctic base technician (uncredited)
- Katsumi Tezuka, Haruo Nakajima (disputed) as Maguma
English dub[edit | edit source]
Appearances[edit | edit source]
Monsters[edit | edit source]
Weapons, vehicles, and races[edit | edit source]
Gallery[edit | edit source]
- Main article: Gorath (film)/Gallery.
Soundtrack[edit | edit source]
- Main article: Gorath (film)/Soundtrack.
Alternate titles[edit | edit source]
- Calamity Star Gorath (literal Japanese title)
- Ominous Star Gorath (alternate translation)
- Gorath: Calamity Star (alternate English title)
- UFOs Destroy the Earth (Ufos zerstören die Erde; West Germany)
- Clash of the Planets (Le choc des planètes; France)
Theatrical releases[edit | edit source]
- Japan - March 21, 1962 [view poster]
- United States - May 15, 1964 [view poster]
- Thailand - 1963
- West Germany - July 10, 1975
U.S. release[edit | edit source]
Gorath was given a limited West Coast theatrical release in the United States by Brenco Pictures. The English-language version features extensive re-editing and shortening of many scenes. Among the greatest changes was the re-writing and editing of a six-minute sequence featuring the monster Maguma, of which most footage was deleted. Although Maguma's carcass remains visible in one shot, dialogue was re-written to avoid references to the creature and substituted with references to explosive or volcanic action. The distributors found the character's appearance comical, mockingly dubbing him "Wally the Walrus," a reference to the cartoon character Wally Walrus. Test audiences felt similarly, even with the monster given Rodan's fiercer roar and shrouded in optically printed fog. The U.S. release originally opened with a seven-minute prologue featuring an astronomical lecture, though this sequence appears to have been excised from the film soon after its preview screening at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, California.
The English dubbing was recorded by Ryder Sound Services, and scripted by Star Trek writer John Lucas. Only four voice actors were used to dub the film. Besides the voices, the audio soundtrack was tampered with, including adding a sound effect for Gorath which was not present in the original Japanese version, and the use of Ikuma Dan's score for The Last War (another Toho film held by Brenco) as additional music.
Brenco Pictures re-released the film on a double feature with The Human Vapor in 1968, but between the two releases never turned a profit on their investment in Gorath. The company closed in 1969 soon after the death of co-owner Edward L. Alperson on July 3 of that year. The film was purchased by Heritage Enterprises and aired on U.S. television. The further-edited television cut of Gorath was also the version of the film primarily used for VHS releases in the United States.
Gorath is currently unavailable on DVD or Blu-ray in the United States, though it occasionally airs on Comet TV.
Video releases[edit | edit source]
Toho DVD (2004/2013/2015)
- Region: 2
- Discs: 1
- Audio: Japanese (1.0 and 4.0)
- Subtitles: Japanese
- Special features: Audio commentary by Koji Kajita, isolated score, Japanese and international trailers, Gorath retrospective by Teruyoshi Nakano
Anolis Blu-ray (2021)
- Region: Unknown
- Discs: 1
- Audio: Japanese, German (DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Mono)
- Subtitles: German
- Special features: Audio commentary by Ingo Strecker and Jörg Jedner, Teruyoshi Nakano interview, international trailer, German theatrical trailer, Advertising materials, photo gallery, 24-page booklet by Ingo Strecker and Jörg Jedner
- Notes: Includes 86-minute German theatrical version.
Toho Blu-ray (2022) [Toho Monsters & Special Effects]
- Region: A
- Discs: 2
- Audio: Japanese (DTS-HD Master Audio Mono and 4.0)
- Subtitles: Japanese
- Special features: Audio commentary by assistant director Koji Kajita, special effects rushes (3 minutes), Japanese and international trailers, Gorath retrospective by Teruyoshi Nakano, image gallery
- Notes: Packaged with Varan, Dogora, and Space Amoeba. Due to the large number of special features in this set, only the supplements relevant to Gorath are described above.
Videos[edit | edit source]
Trailers[edit | edit source]
Miscellaneous[edit | edit source]
Trivia[edit | edit source]
- Gorath later appeared as a meteorite in Godzilla Final Wars. According to the Xiliens, Gorath was on a collision course with Earth and would destroy the planet upon impact. In truth, this was a ruse to lead humanity to believe the Xiliens intended to save them from the collision, and the meteorite they showed the humans was merely a hologram. The real Gorath asteroid was later summoned by the Controller of Planet X as a vessel used to transport the Xiliens' most powerful weapon, Monster X, to Earth.
- The United Nations VTOL prop from Gorath was later modified by Tsuburaya Productions to represent the SSSP's numerous Jet VTOLs in the company's popular television series Ultraman. The show also modified a torch used by a JX-2 astronaut to rescue Tatsuma Kanai from Capsule 1; it became a powerful ray gun called the Spider-Shot, favored by SSSP member Daisuke Arashi.
- Unusual among Toho sci-fi films, Gorath takes place over the course of several years. The JX-1 launches on September 9, 1976, Japanese papers report its destruction on December 25, 1979, and scientists predict Gorath will reach the Earth by February 1982.
[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]
This is a list of references for Gorath (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: 
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