Godzilla as Metaphor for Nuclear Anxiety – 60th Anniversary Release –

Godzilla_1954_2702

 

On a sunny day with calm waters, a Japanese steamer sinks in flames when the sea erupts; a salvage vessel sent to the rescue disappears the same way; exhausted, incoherent survivors babble of a monster. Could it be…? Then the biggest-budgeted film in Japanese history, the original Godzilla spawned 60 years of sequels and remakes, countless rip-offs, and a new genre: the kaiju eiga, or Japanese monster movie. Released in the U.S. in a butchered version called Godzilla: King of the Monsters, it was re-cut, re-arranged and atrociously dubbed, with cheesy new scenes (shot in Hollywood) of a pre-Perry Mason Raymond Burr observing the action from the sidelines. To make room for Burr and to excise a strong anti-nuclear subtext, King of the Monsters deleted 40 minutes of the Japanese version — its very heart — including the opening credits and ominous main theme by the great Akira Ifukube; Tokyo commuters wisecracking about surviving yet another disaster; a vituperative session in the Japanese parliament; the original cautionary ending; and more scenes with the real (human) star of the movie, Takashi Shimura (also the Seven Samurai leader that year). A tour de force by special effects genius Eiji Tsuburaya, whose use of “suitmation,” the often-belittled “man in a monster suit” method, was due to time and budget restraints.

“Pop Culture’s Grandest Symbol of Nuclear Apocalypse”

-Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly

“The comic book premise is never allowed to overwhelm the director’s

clear intention – to measure the aftershocks of the nuclear obliteration,

nine years earlier, of Hiroshima and Nagasaki…

Its Significance can be glimpsed only in the Japanese version.”

-Terrence Rafferty, The New York Times

“Belongs with – and might well trump – the art films Hiroshima, Mon

Amour and Dr. Strangelove as a daring attempt to fashion a terrible poetry

from the mindmeling horror of atomic warfare.”

-J. Hoberman, Village Voice

Release in New York (April 18-26)

Film Forum

209 West Houston Street, New York, NY 10014

Release Schedule in the US

  • April 12    HOLLYWOOD,  CA    TCM Classic Film Festival
  • April 18 – 24    NEW YORK,  NY    Film Forum
  • April 25 – May 1    SANTA FE,  NM    Jean Cocteau Cinema
  • May 1    SAVANNAH,  GA    Savannah Film Festival
  • May 2 – 4 & 6    SILVER SPRING,  MD    AFI Silver
  • May 2 – 5    PORTLAND,  OR    Hollywood Theatre
  • May 2 – 8    SEATTLE,  WA    SIFF Cinema Uptown
  • May 2 – 8    SOMERVILLE,  MA    Somerville Theatre

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