Godzilla, King of the Monsters! (1956) Poster

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Americanized Version of a Japanese Master piece
calabloc8 September 2006
Godzilla: King of the Monsters starring Raymond Burr is a completely different work than the original Gojira. In the American version many references of the Nuclear Test have been muted and almost non-exsitent. While the Japanese version has many cautions about the plight of Nuclear war. Perhaps that decision was politically manipulated for the American Audience or it could be for the fact that the American producers wanted bottom-line cash and hook even if it meant making Godzilla: King of the Monsters no deeper than the flying saucer. All in all This movie is good for a laugh, but if your looking for a deep and haunting tale then opt for the original Gojira which has just recently been released of DVD by Classic Media.
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The greatest and most realistic of the 50s creature features.
kevinxirau31 August 2011
Godzilla is truly a legendary icon who has really stood the test of time for more than fifty years. His first film back in 1954 was very serious compared to most monster movies at the time. Most agree that it's a typical story of a prehistoric creature mutated by radiation rising up to challenge the world with his newfound power, but it's a little more than that. How so? Everything seems to be taken seriously by both filmmakers and the characters in the story. In this U.S. version, dubbing is kept to a very minimum by the lead characters while everyone else is speaking Japanese, which brings a small sense of realism. Godzilla himself is taken seriously by the filmmakers because while the primitive effects are obvious, his actions are like how a real animal reacts to a certain situation like when he approaches the electrical barrier and pauses to look at it curiously or when he snarls at a ringing clock tower because he thinks it might be another animal. He doesn't "attack" Tokyo just for the hell of it, he's just lashing out at whatever attacked him. After Tokyo is destroyed, the scene where the people mourn for the dead and dying truly moved me because the "attack" was treated like an actual disaster. I truly respect that.

Tomoyuki Tanaka really knew how to tell a war related story (war films in Japan were illegal at the time) and make his dinosaur the biggest star (literally) in the world. Steve Martin(Raymond Burr) and Dr. Serizawa are among the best known human characters in the entire series. I give this movie little more credit than before because of how it was made and the angle it was going for. Long live the King!
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Poor Tokyo!
BaronBl00d17 February 2000
The abuse and destruction unleashed on this Japanese city Tokyo is nothing short of epic in stature. The city, through the various romps of the titular character, literally swirls in flames, buildings fall at amazing speed , and just about every human form of transportation is reduced to rubble. This is the setting for much of the film, Godzilla - King of the Monsters. Despite being nothing more than a film with a man in a rubber suit trashing a miniature Tokyo set, this first Godzilla has much going for it. It is well-paced, and the action is engrossing and climactic. I saw the Americanized version with Raymond Burr, and thought Burr did a fine job playing foreign correspondent Steve Martin. Burr really helps create and add tension in the film with his narration and through the events we see through his eyes. The Japanese actors are very good as is the direction. Really the only low-point of the film for me was the inept dubbing, particularly the Brooklyn accent given to one of the chief Japanese scientists. Quite a gem!
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Japanese Version Far Superior!
jmillerdp14 May 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Having not seen all the "Godzilla" movies, I don't know if this is the best one. But, I'm guessing that it does have the best story and characters. There are two versions of this: The original Japanese version ("Gojira"), and the "Americanized" version, where Raymond Burr is inserted into the story, and other cuts are made.

I've seen both versions (available from Criterion, by the way). As you'd expect, the original version is better. In this case, however, the Japanese version (which has a separate IMDb page), is far superior. This is because we get to know the characters much better. There is a lot more human emotion in the original. Also, the cutaways to Raymond Burr (shot separately, two years later in the U.S.) don't distract from the story. The cuts from the original are critical, since they are about the characters.

A thematic difference is that there is the angle of Godzilla being the product of American Hydrogen Bomb testing. Definitely guessing that Americans didn't want to hear that part, which is why those comments are deleted from the Americanized version.

Of course, the 1950's American monster movies blame their monsters on radioactivity, so in that way, there isn't too much of a difference!

The original version also has a bit more Godzilla smashy-smashy action! If you are in a hurry to see it, you are in for a wait. 'Zilla doesn't show up (except for a quick head shot) until about the 42-minute mark in both versions.

I definitely recommend the Japanese version. Yes, there are subtitles, but it's worth it! The American version runs 1:20 and the Japanese version runs 1:36.

Japanese version: ******* (7 Out of 10 Stars) / American version: ***** (5 Out of 10 Stars)
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How to Destroy a Japanese Masterpiece
claudio_carvalho16 February 2019
"Godzilla, King of the Monsters!" is the ridiculous Americanized version of the Japanese "Gojira" (1954) that destroys the Japanese masterpiece. The insertion of Raymond Burr´s character Steve Martin is a bad joke and the Japanese characters speaking in English is unbearably stupid. Do not waste your time trying to watch this garbage, prefer the original "Gojira". My vote is three.

Title (Brazil): Not Available
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An Enraged Monster Wipes Out An Entire City! (While Perry Mason watches on for America).
Spikeopath9 March 2013
Well it literally is a different animal from Ishirō Honda's seminal 1954 movie about the giant atomic lizard who wakes up in a bad mood. Here the American version clips the atmosphere considerably (and the running time), craftily edits Raymond Burr into Honda's movie and of course removes the anti-American sentiment that once existed. Yet the film did prove to be very popular with English speaking film fans and further enhanced the growing appeal of all things Godzilla like.

As it is it's a decent enough film, especially if you have never seen Honda's original. For sure it's still creaky in that "man in rubber suit" way, but the iconic creature is still thrilling as it goes about its merry way destroying some carefully constructed model workings. The nuclear war heedings are still there and there's much fun to be had, intentional or otherwise. Its pale in comparison to the original, but it's not a stinker either. 6/10
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The Americanized Version
sddavis6318 September 2008
American studios obviously believed two things: (1) that Godzilla could be sold to American audiences, and (2) that American audiences wouldn't watch the original Japanese version, and so a familiar American actor would have to be added. The end result was the filming of many scenes incorporating Raymond Burr as American newspaper reporter Steve Martin, who just happened to be in Tokyo when Godzilla struck.

In all honesty, I haven't seen the Japanese original ("Gojira") and so I have no basis on which to compare the two versions, so "Godzilla: King Of The Monsters" has to be looked at on its own merits. Let's admit right off the top that it has a lot of weaknesses. The Burr scenes aren't edited in particularly well, there are some strange decisions about dubbing (sometimes the original scenes are left in, with Japanese language and all and a narration by Burr explaining what's happening and sometimes English is dubbed over the original Japanese, and there didn't seem to me to be any particular rhyme or reason for which decision was made to which scene), the special effects are primitive (but it was made in the 1950's), and the monster stretched credibility a bit (partly the costume, and partly that he was 400 feet tall - how would the link between Jurassic era land animals and sea animals be so big?) Having said that, unless your agenda is simply to bash Americans for Americanizing the movie, you also have to admit that it's not bad. The opening scene is marvellous, with Martin being rescued from a destroyed building and brought to a hospital on a stretcher. If you didn't know the story (and we do, so perhaps this loses its impact) you'd swear off the top that this is a movie about an atomic bomb attack. For all the above weaknesses, the movie's fun pretty much all the way through if not particularly scary, and the casting of Burr accomplished what the studios wanted - Godzilla became as much an American cult classic as a Japanese one.

The ending is a bit abrupt, and seemed pretty decisive, leaving me to puzzle where all the sequels came from, but overall, if not great this was still an enjoyable film, probably undeserving of some of the criticism it gets. 6/10
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Leapin' Lizards!
grahamsj331 January 2003
This is the granddaddy of all the Japanese monster movies. It's and oldie ('56!) but a goodie! The Japanese have stirred up this bad boy and are they gonna pay! Godzilla goes on a rampage and stomps entire cities just plain ole FLAT! The SFX in this film are so dated that they're quite humorous now. The acting was never called good, but who cares when you have a huge T-Rex-ish monster on the loose? The Japanese military tries to stop Godzilla but to no avail! This is one that everyone who loves monster movies should OWN!
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Not as powerful as "Gojira"
gigan-927 April 2009
Warning: Spoilers
The American version, released in 1956, is shorter and based on Raymond Burr's character, Steve Martin, point of view. He gives a great performance and the film maintains its dark tone; to a degree that is. Much of the dialouge speaking of Godzilla's atomic origins and the atomic bomb itself are removed. Luckily Akira Ifukube's music isn't removed, which is one of his best. Unfortunately, "Godzilla Raids Again", "King Kong vs. Godzilla", and "Ghidorah: the Three-Headed Monster" all have some form of cutting to their original scores. Terry Morse, director of the American edits, used some clever moves to integrate Burr into the story and overall, Morse did good. The film may not compare to the original Honda vision, but it's still pretty good. I find it worth adding to any G-fan's, or classic sci-fi lover's collection.
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After seeing the original, this pales
ebiros221 October 2005
Warning: Spoilers
This was the Godzilla that I grew up with and didn't know that it was edited for American audience. After learning that there's an original Japanese version (thanks to IMDb), I ordered the video from Japan and saw it for the first time as it was intended to be seen.

After comparing this version to the original, I can see that grafting of parts Raymond Burr appears is well done but I could also see the discontinuity in the story line. For instance, first scene Dr. Yamane appears on this version is the scene after he sees Godzilla in the original, but in this movie it's set before he sees Godzilla,. But in his dialog he's already talking about Godzilla and its incredible life force.

The Japanese fisherman appearing in this movie also can't speak Japanese right. After seeing the original, it looks so fake and out of place.

This still is a good movie, but if you're a Godzilla fan, I recommend seeing it in its original form without dubbing in English. Overall story line is much more coherent, and you'll understand the plot better.
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Stands Apart
tom_bombadillo-116 July 2009
Warning: Spoilers
If you are a fan of Godzilla you will know that this movie stands apart any other Godzilla film. It's different in that there is so much more drama put into Godzillas actions and as a result can be taken more seriously. In almost every other movie he can run right over a building and we know nothing about the people inside it. Yet, this film encircles that very subject. I think this film was very much the "Cloverfeild" of its time. It's dark, scary, and even a little emotional. Godzilla has had quite a transformation in the last 50 years whether he is a child's hero, saving the world, or destroying it; he is a timeless classic.
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NOT the original, but the first Hollywood rip-off
mstomaso1 July 2005
Dear Godzilla,

I decided to look into a piece of film history today, so I watched Godzilla: King of the Monsters for about the fifth time. I realize that your decision to permit this film was made early in your career, before you had established the the status of a legend, and that you might have felt the American cinemarket might not be ready for the biggest, hottest star ever produced off the coast of Japan, but I have to say that I think this entire film was a mistake.

The pasted in Raymond Burr scenes are awful and dull, and the voice-over narrative is unnecessary and distracting. You look great, of course, with the exception of one scene - about midway through the film, after you've been reanimated by nuclear testing and the paleontologists have recognized you as the missing link between Jurassic terrestrial and marine reptiles - when, for some reason, you appear as an unmoving silhouette in the background looming over a burning, wrecked Tokyo.

My complaints regarding this film all stem from its Americanization. I really don't understand why you allowed so many American scenes to be added to the film, and why you waived the right to review the script. Gojira was a much better film, of course, and time has told that tale well.

With Undying Affection,

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Show Them Back to Back
Sargebri16 April 2003
Like many of the other Godzilla fans, this is the only version of the the Big-G's debut that I have seen. I have never had the pleasure of watching the original Japanese version, which is even more dark in nature than this Americanized version. I often wonder how much more of an impact the original version of this film would play and would it be treated in a more favorable light than this version. However, this is still a great film despite its flaws. Raymond Burr does a credible job as Steve Martin and he does his best to convey the horror of Godzilla's attack, even though his scenes were shot much later. However, I hope that one day someone will have the bright idea to show both the Americanized version and the original back to back to allow the audience to choose for themselves which one is better.
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Tokyo Burning
sol12186 March 2010
**SPOILERS** An obvious Japanese version of "The Beast of 20,000 Fathoms" the movie "Godzilla" quickly overshadowed its predecessor and has become one of he most popular monster movies of all times. With it having at least a dozen sequels over the last 55 years after it's initial release in 1954.

"Godzilla, King of the Monsters" is the Americanized version of the movie that has Raymond Burr as American reporter Steve Martin. As he film begins we see Martin recounting what he just lived through after Godzilla demolished the city of Tokyo leaving thousands of dead and wounded, like himself, in his wake. Just days before Martin landed in Tokyo on a stopover to his trip to Cairo Egypt never suspecting that he'll be reporting the biggest story of the 20th century.

It was during that time that a number of Japanese fishing boats and their crews were incinerated by rays of deadly radiation coming from the ocean floor. Together with his good friend Japan's top paleontologist the eminent Dr. Kyohei Yamane, Takashi Ahimura, Martin and a boatload of Japanese newsmen including Dr. Yamane's 22 year-old daughter Emiko, Momok Kochi, traveled to the out of the way Ito Island where one of the few surviving fishermen, of the radiation attacks, came from. It's on Oto Island where it's been reported by the local natives that a gigantic prehistoric monster has suddenly made an unexpected, after some 2 million years, and unwanted public appearance!

I didn't take long for the monster-Godzilla-to show his, or its, face proving beyond a doubt that he's in fact real not some made up legend by the Ito islanders. He later also does a number on the island leaving most of it in ruins! Out of the water and on to dry land Godzilla then attacks, under the cover of night, the bustling Japanese city of Tokyo which we soon find out was just a probing action on his part. Godzilla was testing out the city's defenses to find a weak spot for his later and far more devastating attack 24 hours, again under the cover of darkness, later. With nothing to stop it Godzilla turns the city of Tokyo into a hell on earth causing more damage to it then even the great fire bombings of Tokyo in March 1945 by Gen. LaMay's fleet of B-29 bombers.

***MAJOR SPOILERS*** Steve Martin who had witnessed the destruction of the city from his hotel window ended up buried under the rubble barely surviving the carnage. Martin is later responsible in getting the ball rolling in Godzilla's destruction through Emiko's hand picked, by her and his parents, future husband top Japanese scientist Dr. Daiskuke "Eyepatch" Serizawa. It was Dr. Serizawa who was Martin's good friend and collage classmate, despite a ten year age difference, who knew about his underwater experiments that in the end lead to Godzilla's demise. It was the romantic triangle between Dr. Serizawa and Emiko's new love Japanese Japanese Navy sailor Ogata, Akira Takerada, whom she met and fell in love with on her and Steve Martins trip to Oto Island that was the reason the he in the end used his secret oxygen destroyer capsule, that he swore Emiko to secrecy, to do in the raging prehistoric beast. A life long pacifist Dr. Serizawa now with his love Emiko leaving him for Ogata felt that the only thing in life left for him to do is do in Godzilla before he destroys the Japanese Islands and the tens of millions of people living on them.

***MAJOR MAJOR SPOILER*** In the ultimate act of self sacrifice Dr. Serizawa in keeping the secret of the deadly oxygen destroyer from the world at large and out of the hands of any nation, like the US & USSR, who'll use it for military purposes takes that secret to his watery grave together with Godzilla whom it ends up destroying!

P.S One thing about the movie "Godzilla" that really stands out is the first class, very rare in a monster film, acting by those in it. The love triangle between Emiko Ogata and Dr. Serizawa was so well done and heart-fully convincing that it in fact overshadowed the main theme in the movie; A 400 foot prehistoric monster on the loose in a major 20th century metropolis: Tokyo Japan. It's that Academy Award caliber acting that raised the film heads and shoulders above the many 1950's monster film, in the US and abroad, that it competed with at the time!
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Godzilla, First Monster Of Japan
bkoganbing23 February 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Godzilla was the film that launched its own genre, the Japanese monster pictures. Not many films can claim that and not many countries have suffered more damage to their cities. You'd think that two atomic bombs would have been enough.

Actually in its own way and the original version was in fact trying to make a statement about the evils that could be launched from splitting the atom. Japan certainly was qualified to make such a film. Even the version that we in America saw contained that same message. Awakening this prehistoric evil into modern times could destroy mankind or at least Japan.

It was probably a good thing Godzilla was done in black and white. Later Japanese monster films in color showed some of the flimsiness of the cardboard and paper mache sets that the monster of the film would destroy as he was doing his thing be it Godzilla, Gammera, Rodan, Mothra, whomever.

It was thought that adding an American name would insure some box office. Raymond Burr was not yet Perry Mason, not yet Ironside, he was a well respected character actor who did play mostly villains. We're told his scenes were all shot in America and the Japanese players came over here to shoot with him. They do look like they were shoehorned into the film.

I'm not sure of the science involved in doing in Godzilla. It involved destroying all the oxygen in the water of Tokyo Bay and leaving it a bleached undersea graveyard. Godzilla's taken up residence there and rests during the day and prowls the city at night doing a lot of mayhem and destruction. The best part of the film is Godzilla's death scene, it's as dramatic as King Kong's. On that the special effects boys deserve a lot of credit.

Godzilla launched a genre as Japanese filmmakers looked to create bigger and better monsters who dealt in more and more death and destruction. What I never figured out is why it was always their cities?
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Godzilla, King of the Monsters!: Really!?
Platypuschow11 July 2018
My understanding of Godzilla, King of the Monsters! was that it was the USA's first outing with the titular monster. I was kind of mistaken.

You see Godzilla, King of the Monsters! is not an original US made movie. Now we all know the US have a long history of making inferior versions of foreign films but here is something else entirely.

Godzilla, King of the Monsters! is merely a compressed version of the original Japanese Godzilla (1954). No I mean literally, it IS the Japanese movie but with a few additional scenes added.

These scenes star Raymond Burr (Perry Mason) as a reporter who has travelled to Japan to get the story of this giant monster.

So 90% of the movie is just the original Japanese one and 10% is American footage. And this was released as a US Godzilla film!? What an absolute crock!

I simply couldn't believe what I was watching. It's fairly interesting how they managed to integrate Burr into the movie, but this simply isn't a new film. It's like watching a directors cut with a few additional scenes!

Godzilla, King of the Monsters! is one of those movies that simply should never have existed.

The Good:

Raymond Burr

The Bad:

The whole fact it exists is a bit of a joke

Things I Learnt From This Movie:

I'm very glad this trend of ripping entire movies and modifying them didn't catch on

Perry Mason walking just doesn't sit right with me
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Godzilla should not be destroyed, he should be studied.
The 1954 classic was apparently not good enough for American audiences. They remade the film with Raymond Burr narrating the action and starring as a reporter covering the incident.

Rather than a subtitled film, we get one dubbed. At least they left some of the Japanese dialog.

Stars of the original film, Takashi Shimura, Momoko Kôchi, and Akira Takarada, took second billing to Burr, who dominated throughout.

Godzilla was a grave representation of the horrors of the H bomb; horrors that Japan knew all too well. Scenes of the destruction caused by Godzilla, and of the broken, burning bodies pulled from the rubble, look authentic enough to be documentary footage of Hiroshima or Nagasaki. The film, a huge hit in the original form, must have been therapeutic for the Japanese people.
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Still has a certain quality and dignity after all the decades and derivatives
lemon_magic16 December 2010
Warning: Spoilers
All right, let's be honest...objectively speaking, the "American" re-release of "Gojira"...with Raymond Burr's scenes mixed in to make it more palatable to Amercian audiences...is a pretty dumb movie. It's a monster movie, for heaven's sake, not "The Seven Samurai" (Though I understand that the director and Kurasawa were lifelong friends.) Still, you can watch this movie decades later after dozens (hundreds?) of remakes, knockoffs, rip-offs and tributes...and you can still see the craft and creativity and freshness that inspired the imagination of viewers and filmmakers.

The buildup to the first actual reveal of the monster is neatly done...and when the camera finally reveals the famous outline looming over the crest of a ridge and the hikers freak and start running for their lives...there are very few scenes in any monster or disaster movie ever made that can rival the revelatory quality of Godzilla's first appearance.

The scenes where Raymond Burr appears aren't as goofy and disconnected as I'd been led to believe - for the most part his voice overs and narration are well considered and not too heavy on the exposition. His scenes look pretty close in lighting, scenery, costumes,and design to the original cut. Also, in most of those scenes, the Japanese actors and extras appearing with him work well to preserve the continuity so he isn't just emoting into a vaccuum. Yes, there are a couple gaffes, but even then Burr was a pro, and he makes it work.

I'm glad I finally got to see the (almost) original...it lived up to its reputation.
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Butchered, but still alive
curl-624 June 2006
Warning: Spoilers
The Americanization of this film completely takes away the allegorical depth that made the original Gojira so unique. However, it would take more than a disrespectful distributer to ruin Gojira himself, and the film is still watchable, though a pale, pale shadow of the original.

Thankfully, the best part of the film, Godzilla's rampage through Tokyo, has been left untouched. To be honest, I always favour monster action over drama, so the extensive editing to the human story didn't bother me much. In fact, if I may border on being sacrilegious, it improves the sometimes sluggish pace of the original.

Still, seeing a haunting allegory reduced a run-of-the-mill 'monster on the loose,' movie is very sobering.

If you're a G fan, you've probably already seen this film, but if you haven't, I'd recommend you see the original, uncut Gojira first; that's how it was meant to be.
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Slow going until the big guy appears
preppy-32 June 2011
The classic horror film that introduced Godzilla to us. He's a dinosaur like creature who was awakened by H bomb testing. He attacks Tokyo and nothing seems to be able to stop him.

I never saw the original movie but I have seen this "Americanized" version. It's a badly dubbed and edited version of the original. New scenes were added with Raymond Burr playing a reporter in Tokyo when Godzilla hits. It's inter cut with the Japanese version. The lousy dubbing is distracting and it's pretty dull until Godzilla pops up. The special effects are obvious but still work and (unlike later Godzilla films that were aimed at kids) this is deadly serious. It's very grim and dark and Godzilla is pure evil. It was obviously made for adults. It's not a great film by any means but it has a place in cinema history as introducing Godzilla to us. I heard the 1954 original is much better but never saw it. This version gets a 6.
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Am I taking this too seriously?
aernest2 June 2011
Warning: Spoilers
To me, this movie is rather heartbreaking. Who would have suffered more from the effects of nuclear power (in all its manifestations) than the Japanese at that time? Who would have seen more radiation burns and sickness than they? Who had seen two of their major cities disappear in the space of seconds? Is it just possible the Americanization was designed, not only to make the film more marketable, but to obscure the metaphor? It's hard not to think of this, especially with the current Japanese nuclear troubles.

The film itself, whether in the Americanized or original version, is better than any of its descendants, and far less campy. Though I do enjoy the later ones because of their campy outlandishness, this one stands somberly alone.
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I used to think this was it- not one of the best, but a cool prototype anyway
MisterWhiplash16 January 2007
Oh when Americans first pillaged foreign product for big mainstream gains. With Godzilla, King of the Monsters! we see the beginning of a franchise in all its fractured, cheesy glory. After finally seeing the original Japanese version, Gojira, I also went back to the American version too, which I had seen when I was younger. The impression left by the Americanized version isn't very large, but when compared to the CGI 98 Godzilla at the time- I saw the first around the same time as they played the old ones over and over to build up publicity- it's a spring chicken, err, radioactive lizard to be exact. Seeing how its cut together here again, I'm a little surprised of how noticeable it all is with Burr in the scenes, but I don't mind terribly much (I can always think, well, it could be worse...it could be one of the Godzilla movies from the late 60s that time forgot).

Ultimately, what makes the movie exciting and dumb fun are the attack sequences, especially Godzilla's destruction of Tokyo. Also, as a kid, there's something very effective with the black and white, as it almost comes off as being darker than the other color-film Godzilla movies of the early 60s; one can see the ash all rising around, and a shot or two looks like it could've been lifted from the old newsreels following the end of WW2. Actually, Godzilla is, originally and with 'best intentions', an allegory for nuclear destruction. The American version doesn't stress this nearly as much as Gojira, and what is cut out now gets felt on a repeat viewing. But I could think of worse things to do on a Sunday afternoon.
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History Now
winner5516 October 2006
With "Gojira/Godzilla", Toho studios created something very special - a cultural phenomenon, a metaphor for a particular experience of a particular phase of recent history. The film is not "mythic" in the sense that it captures the imagination as do the ancient myths - it is the myth itself, the story that we tell around our hearth fires at night to make the inexplicable somehow familiar, to ward the demons away.

This is not a great film - although, despite the technically poor special effects, there are actually a number of interesting cinematic moments here. But the real importance of the film is the way it struck a chord in the hearts and minds of the post-WWII era, when Japan and America needed to find some way to learn to live together after years of trying to snuff each other out. In this regard, the "Steve Martin" episodes inserted into the American version of the film, although not as well done as the Japanese portions, mark a thematic stroke of genius. Raymond Burr strikes just the right attitude toward the Japanese at that moment in history - he treats them as he would any other human beings. He shows no arrogance, no impatience, no contempt. He is just one of the cast of characters thrown into a historic catastrophe for which none of them are prepared.

I noted that, despite its flaws, the film has undeniably magic cinematic moments. The longest of these is the most memorable - it begins with the argument between the scientist and his (unhappy) fiancé, about using his invention to destroy Godzilla; that moment is just so-so - but it bleeds into the scene where the chorus of children sing a national prayer for deliverance, which is what finally influences the scientist enough for him to change his decision.

There then follows a strange, elegiac finale. I won't give much of it away, but I will say that is hardly the common end of a '50s 'big lizard' horror movie. And in it, the terrors of Earth's primitive past and the destructive technology of modern science become one, enveloping man and monster alike.

This finale is a staggering innovation in a '50s horror film - and we have not seen its like in any American horror film, despite various efforts to accomplish it (for instance in the recent remake of King Kong). The reason why Americans always miss this mark is because, to be honest, America doesn't have any real myths of its own; consequently, we can't figure out how to say farewell to any myth we never had.

But a myth that says farewell to myth is precisely what this film is all about. Godzilla is NOT a radiation-mutated dinosaur; he's a fire-breathing dragon. He is Japan's history (both the good and the bad) come back to haunt it - with a vengeance. And The elegiac tone of the finale expresses the Discovery the Japanese made, following the Second World War, that the worst of their past was as bad as any they might charge against others, and that the best of it - the samurai tradition that dwindled itself into militarism - could destroy them more completely than any enemy.

Godzilla is another face for Orochi, the dragon that gave birth to Japan in at least one ancient myth; but the world has grown too small for him, and now all he can do is destroy it.

Walt Whitman said of his "Leaves of Grass" that it was not so much a poem but "the stuff of poems", the raw material from which future poets must draw inspiration if they were to write any poetry that could be called American.

I don't know that we can go this far with "Godzilla" - but its historic importance means that it will outlive every science fiction film made since. Because it IS history, it is what, without sentiment, we most vividly remember.
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Godzilla, King of the Monsters!
skybrick7365 August 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Having watched the original Gojira right before the American produced debauchery which is King of the Monsters, I can't help but be disappointed in it. Adding in American actor Raymond Burr, who did alright in the film didn't mesh at all with the story or editing of the original Japanese characters. The movie didn't have the dark atmosphere like Gojira portrayed which led to the Godzilla scenes being a little duller. Many of the important scenes describing the message of nuclear bombing was cut from the American version leaving a bad taste in my mouth. As a modern day movie watcher I would suggest to definitely skip this movie and check out the original Japanese original since dubbing foreign movie classic is surely an outdated method.
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