Mothra (1961)

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Mothra Films
None
Mothra
Mothra vs. Godzilla
Mothra
Japanese poster for Mothra
Directed by Ishiro Honda
Producer(s) Tomoyuki Tanaka
Written by Takehiro Fukunaga, Yoshie Hotta,
Shinichiro Nakamura, Shinichi Sekizawa
Music by Yuji Koseki
Distributor TohoJP
Columbia PicturesUS
Rating Not Rated
Budget ¥200,000,000
Running time 101 minutesJP,
90 minutesUS
Aspect ratio 2.35:1
Rate this film!
4.63
(67 votes)

For the 1996 film also titled "Mothra" in Japan, see Rebirth of Mothra.
A gruesome marvel! From giant egg to giant moth, attacking the whole world with fury! (凄絶驚異!巨卵から大蛾へ全世界を襲う猛威!)
„ 

— Japanese tagline

Mightiest monster in all creation! Ravishing a universe for love!
„ 

— American tagline

Mothra (モスラ,   Mosura) is a 1961 tokusatsu kaiju film produced by Toho, and the first film to feature the character Mothra. It is an adaptation of the serial novel The Luminous Fairies and Mothra, published in Weekly Asahi earlier in 1961. The film was released to Japanese theaters on July 30, 1961.

Plot

In the waters off Infant Island, a presumably uninhabited site for Rolisican atomic tests, the Genyu Maru II is caught and run aground in the turbulence of a typhoon. A rescue party following the storm finds four sailors alive and strangely unafflicted with radiation sickness, which they attribute to the juice provided them by island natives. The story is broken by tenacious reporter Zenichiro the "Snapping Turtle" Fukuda and photographer Michi Hanamura, who infiltrate the hospital examining the survivors.

The Rolisican Embassy responds by co-sponsoring a joint Japanese–Rolisican scientific expedition to Infant Island, led by Rolisican businessman Clark Nelson. Also on the expedition are radiation specialist Dr. Harada, linguist Shinichi Chujo, and stowaway reporter Fukuda. There, the team discover a vast jungle of mutated flora, a fleetingly-glimpsed native tribe, and minuscule twin girls. These "Shobijin," as Fukuda calls them, wish their island to be spared further atomic testing. Acknowledging this message, the team returns and conceals these events from the public.

Nelson, however, returns to the island with a crew of henchmen and abducts the girls, gunning down several natives who try to save them. While Nelson profits off a "Secret Fairies Show" in Tokyo featuring the girls singing, both they and the island natives beseech their goddess Mothra, a giant egg, for help. Fukuda, Hanamura, and Chujo speak with the girls, who have learned Japanese through their telepathic ability; they express conviction that Mothra will come to their aid. Meanwhile, Fukuda's newspaper has accused Nelson of holding the girls against their will; Nelson denies the charge and threatens to file a libel suit against the paper. Meanwhile, the egg on Infant Island hatches to reveal a gigantic caterpillar, which begins swimming across the Pacific Ocean toward Japan. The caterpillar destroys a cruise ship and survives a napalm attack on a beeline path for Tokyo. The Rolisican Embassy, however, defends Nelson's property rights over the girls, ignoring any connection to the monster.

Mothra finally arrives on the Japanese mainland, impervious to the barrage of weaponry directed at her, ultimately building a cocoon in the ruins of the Tokyo Tower. Public feeling turns against Nelson, and he is ordered to release the girls. He flees incognito to Rolisica, where Mothra, now in her imago stage, immediately resumes her search. Police scour Rolisican capital New Kirk City for Nelson as Mothra lays waste to the metropolis. Ultimately Nelson is killed in a shootout with police, and the girls are assigned to Chujo's care. Observing a religious significance in Mothra's unique symbol, which resembles the Christian cross, Chujo hits upon a novel way to attract Mothra to an airport runway. The girls are returned amid salutations of "sayōnara," and Mothra flies back to Infant Island.

Staff

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

Cast

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

  • Frankie Sakai   as   Zenichiro "Snapping Turtle" Fukuda, journalist
  • Hiroshi Koizumi   as   Dr. Shinichi Chujo, linguist
  • Kyoko Kagawa   as   Michi Hanamura, photographer
  • Ken Uehara   as   Dr. Harada, radiation specialist
  • Yumi Ito, Emi Ito   as   Shobijin
  • Jerry Ito   as   Clark Nelson, Rolisican businessman
  • Takashi Shimura   as   News editor
  • Akihiro Tayama   as   Shinji Chujo, Chujo's little brother
  • Obel Wyatt   as   Dr. Roff
  • Akihiko Hirata   as   Ship doctor
  • Kawazu   as   General Seizaburo
  • Yoshibumi Tajima   as   Military advisor
  • Robert Dunham   as   Rolisican cop
  • Harold Conway   as   Rolisican ambassador
  • Kenji Sahara   as   Helicoptor pilot
  • Akira Yamada, Takeo Nagashima, Arai Hayamizu   as   Infant Islanders
  • Tetsu Nakamura, Akira Wakamatsu, Hiroshi Akitsu, Hiroshi Iwamoto, Toshio Miura, Osman Yusuf   as   Nelson's henchmen
  • Yoshio Kosugi   as   Ship captain
  • Ren Yamamoto, Haruya Kato, Ko Mishima, Rinsaku Ogata   as   Ship survivors
  • Kazuo Imai   as   Announcer
  • Wataru Omae, Kazuo Higata   as   Officials
  • Shoichi Hirose, Toshihiko Furuta   as   Dam workers
  • Koji Uno   as   Reporter
  • Tadashi Okabe, Akio Kusama, Mitsuo Tsuda   as   Surveyors
  • Mitsuo Matsumoto, Hiroyuki Satake   as   Police officers
  • Hiroshi Sekita   as   Sekida, Orion Maru steering assistant

Titra Sound Studios English Dub

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

  • Bernard Grant   as   Zenichiro Fukuda
  • Bret Morrison   as   Dr. Harada

Appearances

Monsters

Weapons, Vehicles, and Races

Gallery

Main article: Mothra (film)/Gallery.

Soundtrack

Main article: Mothra (Soundtrack).

Alternate Titles

  • Mothra Attacks Tokyo! (モスラアタック東京!,   Mosura Atakku Tōkyō, Japanese 8mm title)
  • Mothra Threatens the World (Mothra bedroht die Welt; Germany)
  • Mothra the Indestructible (Mothra la indestructible; Mexico)
  • Mothra, the Wild Goddess (Mothra, a Deusa Selvagem; Brazil)

Theatrical Releases

U.S. Release

Poster for the American release of Mothra

Columbia Pictures distributed Mothra in the United States in a double bill with The Three Stooges in Orbit. Columbia removed about ten minutes of footage from the Japanese version of the film, the longest omission being the removal of the second Shobijin song, "Daughters of Infant Island." The English dialogue was dubbed by Titra Sound Studios in New York under the direction of Lee Kresel. Infant Island is referred to as "Beiru Island" in the English script, and Fukuda's "Snapping Turtle" nickname was localized as "Bulldog."

Columbia initially released Mothra on home videocassette in 1984, with a hi-fi audio reissue following in 1986. The company renewed its rights to the film in 1987 and retains its North American distribution rights to this day. In 1988, home video rights were sublicensed to GoodTimes Entertainment, who issued the film on cheaper LP mode tape with the Columbia logo removed. In 1992, Columbia restored Mothra for cable broadcasts and later released this restoration, which differed in several regards from the original theatrical and television cut, through Columbia/TriStar Home Video in 1995.[1] It later released the film on DVD through its parent company Sony Pictures Entertainment in 2009 in a set with its two other Toho tokusatsu films, The H-Man and Battle in Outer Space. The U.S. version was again restored to a presentation almost identical to the original theatrical cut. This set also included the Japanese cut of the film, marking the first time it was available officially in North America. Mill Creek Entertainment sublicensed the film in 2019 and released it on a special SteelBook Blu-ray. This release also included both the Japanese and American cuts of the film.

Reception

Mothra was a considerable critical and financial success in Japan. It launched the career of screenwriter Shinichi Sekizawa, who would go on to write several Godzilla films as well as contribute to Tsuburaya Productions' Ultraman series. The monster Mothra would go on to become a very popular character, appearing in the Godzilla series film Mothra vs. Godzilla in 1964 and countless other films in the series afterward. Mothra eventually received her own trilogy of films in the late 1990's. Mothra also received favorable reviews in the United States when it was released there, with critics praising its cinematography and special effects.

Mothra remains a popular and beloved film among fans of the kaiju genre, due to its unique story and the fact that it introduced the fan-favorite kaiju Mothra.

Video Releases

Sony DVD (2009) [Icons of Sci-Fi: Toho Collection]

  • Region: 1
  • Discs: 3
  • Audio: Japanese (2.0 Mono), English (2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Special Features: Audio commentary by Steve Ryfle and Ed Godziszewski (Mothra and Battle in Outer Space), trailers
  • Note: Packaged with H-Man and Battle in Outer Space.

Sony DVD (2013)

  • Region: 2, 4, 5
  • Discs: 1
  • Audio: Japanese (2.0 Mono), English (2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Special Features: Original trailer, 24-page illustrated booklet by Jonathan Clements

Mill Creek DVD (2014)

  • Region: 1
  • Discs: 1
  • Audio: English (2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: None
  • Special Features: None
  • Note: Packaged with 20 Million Miles to Earth, The Giant Claw, and It Came From Beneath the Sea.

Anolis Blu-ray (2019)

  • Region: B/2
  • Discs: 2
  • Audio: Japanese, German, English (2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: German
  • Special Features: Audio commentary by Steve Ryfle and Ed Godziszewski (English); audio commentary by Jörg Buttgereit, Bodo Traber and Ingo Strecker (German); audio commentary by Florian Bahr (German); 20-page booklet by Ingo Strecker; American and Japanese trailers; Japanese Super 8 version; photo gallery

Mill Creek Blu-ray SteelBook (2019)[2]

  • Region: None
  • Discs: 1
  • Audio: Japanese, English (DTS-HD Master Audio)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Special Features: Audio commentary by Steve Ryfle and Ed Godzizewski, trailers, photo gallery

Videos

Trailers

Japanese Mothra trailer
American Mothra trailer
American Mothra TV spots
1994 Sci-Fi Channel bumpers

Trivia

External Links

References

This is a list of references for Mothra (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. Culver, Brian R. (Fall, 1998). Many Many Mothras. Kaiju-Fan Issue #9.
  2. Aiken, Keith (26 April 2019). Mill Creek Entertainment to Release Kaiju Classic MOTHRA as Special Edition SteelBook Blu-ray!. SciFi Japan.

Comments

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ShodaiMeesmothLarva

23 days ago
Score 0
Dunno if this was false info, but Wikipedia says that the Diet Building was supposed to appear in this film before changing it to Tokyo Tower. The article also mentions New Kirk City as being based in New York City and San Francisco.
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VaderRaptor

23 days ago
Score 0
Would Godzilla vs. Mothra be a Mothra film?
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Titan of Water

13 months ago
Score 0
This was the first time since G54 were I liked the characters! I especially loved the “bulldog” guy. The fairies singing is beautiful. The cuteness of both Mothra’s larvae form and Imago form actually work here because she is a nice monster only causing destruction because she is searching around human civilization for her fairies. Speaking of Destruction, the scenes in Tokyo and New Kirk had some really great destruction scenes, A really good film, 5/5
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Pedro

15 months ago
Score 0
There is no trivia?!
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Green Blob Thing

32 months ago
Score 0
Finally watched this film today. It's a great movie and one of the best from the Showa era. Almost everything about it is perfect and features some of the best human characters from any Showa film.
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