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Mothra (1961)

Mosura (original title)
Passed | | Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Thriller | 10 May 1962 (USA)
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3:22 | Clip
A giant, ancient moth begins to attack Japan when coming to the rescue of its two, foot-tall worshippers who were taken by shipwreck survivors.

Director:

Ishirô Honda

Writers:

Shin'ichi Sekizawa (screenplay), Shin'ichirô Nakamura (novel) | 2 more credits »
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2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Furankî Sakai ... Senichiro 'Sen-chan' Fukuda (AKA Bulldog)
Hiroshi Koizumi Hiroshi Koizumi ... Dr. Shin'ichi Chûjô
Kyôko Kagawa ... Photographer Michi Hanamura
Yumi Itô ... Shobijin (Twin Fairy) (as Yumi Ito)
Emi Itô Emi Itô ... Shobijin (Twin Fairy)
Jerry Itô Jerry Itô ... Kurâruku Neruson (as Jerî Itô)
Ken Uehara Ken Uehara ... Dr. Harada
Akihiko Hirata ... Doctor
Kenji Sahara Kenji Sahara ... Helicopter Pilot
Seizaburô Kawazu ... General
Takashi Shimura ... News Editor
Yoshio Kosugi Yoshio Kosugi ... Ship Captain
Yoshifumi Tajima Yoshifumi Tajima ... Military Advisor
Ren Yamamoto Ren Yamamoto ... Ship Survivor
Haruya Katô Haruya Katô ... Ship Survivor
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Storyline

Shipwreck survivors are found on Beiru Island (Infanto tô), which was previously used for atomic tests. The interior is amazingly free of radiation effects, and they believe that they were protected by a special juice that was given to them by the island's residents. A joint expedition of Rolisican and Japanese scientists explores Beiru and discovers many curious things, including two women only one foot (30 centimeters) high. Unscrupulous expedition leader Clark Nelson abducts the women and puts them in a vaudeville show. But their sweet singing contains a telepathic cry for help to Mothra, a gigantic moth that is worshiped as a deity by the island people. The giant monster heeds the call of the women and heads to Tokyo, wreaking destruction in its path. Written by Molly Malloy <mailcall@bluemarble.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

LOVE CRAZED MONSTER CRUSHES WORLD! (original USA poster-all caps) See more »


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Japan

Language:

Japanese | English | Indonesian

Release Date:

10 May 1962 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Mothra See more »

Filming Locations:

Tokyo, Japan

Company Credits

Production Co:

Toho Company See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (re-issue) | (theatrical) | (re-issue) (VHS) | (TV)

Sound Mix:

Perspecta Stereo

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

A scene explaining the origins of Mothra and the fairies was planned, but it was deemed too long and was dropped from the final draft. See more »

Goofs

When Mothra is destroying Newkirk City, the site of the action repeatedly returns to show various shots of destruction in front of the "Newkirk Motors" building. See more »

Quotes

ShobijinShobijin: Mothra will soon be here.
Journalist Senichiro 'Sen-chan' Fukuda: Mothra?
ShobijinShobijin: Mothra, she'll rescue us, and return us to our island!
See more »

Crazy Credits

In the credits for the U.S. version, including promo material released by Columbia Pictures, Eurasian model Jerry Ito (who plays the villianous Mr. Nelson) is billed as "Jelly Ito." See more »

Alternate Versions

The American version also deleted the scene where the two priests asks the populace of Newkirk City to pray for Mothra to end her rampage over the city. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Saturday Night Live: January Jones/Black Eyed Peas (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

Infanto no musume
Written by Kôji Kajita (as Susumu Ike)
Performed by Za Pînattsu
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Mothra review
30 January 2014 | by Al_The_StrangeSee all my reviews

Among Toho's repertoire of gargantuan and highly-destructive kaiju, who would have ever thought that a giant moth would become one of their most endearing characters? In the years that would come, Mothra would make an appearance in seventeen films, including a bunch of Godzilla films. In the beginning, though, the lepidopteran made its debut in this old-fashioned monster flick.

1961's Mothra runs pretty evenly, allowing the story to breathe adequately before dishing out some modest mass destruction. The film's first acts, with scientists exploring Infant Island, remind me greatly of Skull Island from King Kong; the manner in which they use the fairies as a sideshow is not too far off from Kong either, only instead of unleashing a giant monkey's wrath, the fairies sing and summon a giant larva. It's weird stuff, but the film plays everything out with a straight face. This film ultimately sets the pattern for future incarnations of Mothra (you seriously can't have Mothra without the singing fairies, the larva, or without specific phases of attacks). As the original feature, however, the only formula this film adheres to is that of the classic monster picture, with a bit of adventure thrown in, and it's neat that way.

The story's pretty much outlined above; it is a well-structured plot with a cast of alright (and sometimes goofy) characters. With all the fairies and monsters on display, I always felt that Mothra was a grade more unbelievable than most other monster movies, but thanks to the film's earnest tone, it works as a fine and dandy fantasy (and it's pretty neat to see such fantasy being opposed by modern and ultramodern weaponry). The story touches upon a few themes concerning capitalism and greed, but is never overbearing.

This film uses solid, quality photography and editing. Acting is good from the original cast (but might be marred heavily by the English dubbing if you chose to watch it). Writing gets the job done pretty well. This production shows its age, but still uses fine-looking sets, props, and costumes. Special effects are a bit rough, but for its time, they are smashing. Music is not bad either.

No matter how silly or fantastic it gets, I have a soft spot for Mothra, especially in seeing her future clashes with Godzilla and other monsters. The first and most original Mothra film presents the basics of Mothra-lore, which in turn echoes parts of the original King Kong, and would stand proudly next to classic monster flicks like Godzilla. Fans of the genre should give this original film a rent.

4/5 (Entertainment: Good | Story: Pretty Good | Film: Good)


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