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Godzilla (1954 film)

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Redirected from Godzilla, King of the Monsters!

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Godzilla Films
None
Gojira
Godzilla Raids Again
Toho Kaiju Film
Gojira 1954 Japanese poster
Godzilla
Directed by
Ishiro Honda
Produced by
Tomoyuki Tanaka
Written by
Ishiro Honda
Shigeru Kayama
Takeo Murata
Music by

Akira Ifukube

Distributed by
Toho Company Ltd.JP
Trans World US
Rating
Not Rated

Budget
$1,500,000
Gross
$2,250,000
Running Time
96 minutesJP
(1 hour, 36 minutes)
80 minutesUS
(1 hour, 20 minutes)
Designs Used
ShodaiGoji

Godzilla (ゴジラ?, Gojira) is a 1954 tokusatsu kaiju film produced by Toho Company Ltd., and the first installment in the Godzilla series as well as the Showa series. The film was released to Japanese theaters on November 3rd, 1954, and to American theaters as Godzilla, King of the Monsters! on April 27, 1956.


Plot

The Japanese fishing boat Eikō-Maru is attacked by a flash of light from the water near Odo Island and sinks. A rescue boat, the Bingo-Maru, is sent out to investigate the accident, but meets the same fate. A second search boat is sent out and finds a few survivors in the area, and like the other two boats, is shipwrecked.

Meanwhile, on Odo Island, the natives of the fishing community are unable to catch anything. An elder says that Godzilla must be the cause. According to legend, Godzilla is a kaiju who lives in the sea that comes from the ocean to feed on mankind. Whenever fishing was poor, the natives used to sacrifice girls to prevent Godzilla from attacking the village.

Later, a helicopter carrying investigative reporters arrives on Odo Island. The natives all believe that the recent disasters in the ocean were caused by Godzilla, but the reporters remain skeptical. That night the natives perform an exorcism in hopes that Godzilla will not attack again. As the natives are sleeping, a storm arrives and a giant monster attacks the small village, causing death and destruction.

The next day, the witnesses are brought to the Diet Building in Tokyo. Paleontologist Dr. Kyohei Yamane requests that an investigative party be sent to Odo Island. The ship is sent out and arrives safely on the island. Yamane finds giant footprints contaminated with radioactivity, along with a trilobite. Suddenly, the village alarm is set off and the villagers run towards the hills. Godzilla pops his head over the hill and roars. The villagers discover that Godzilla is too large to fight and flee for their lives. Godzilla then leaves for the ocean.

Afterwards, Yamane starts doing some research and discovers that Godzilla is really a prehistoric hybrid of land and sea reptiles. He also discovers that the sediment from Godzilla's footprint contained a massive amount of Strontium-90, which could have only have come from a nuclear bomb. After Yamane's presentation, a man from the crowd suggests that the information should not be publicly known. Since Godzilla is the product of atomic weapons, the truth might cause some bad consequences, since world affairs are still fragile. However, a woman objects to Mr. Ōyama's suggestion because the truth must be told. After she insults Ōyama's, chaos breaks loose in the Diet Building.

Godzilla's origins are then revealed to the public. An anti-Godzilla fleet is immediately sent out and uses depth charges against Godzilla, in an attempt to kill the monster. In his home, Yamane sits alone in the room with the lights out. Yamane, being a zoologist, does not want Godzilla to be killed, but rather, studied.

That night, Godzilla suddenly rises in Tokyo Bay in front of a party ship. Within a minute, the monster descends back into the ocean, but his brief appearance causes nationwide panic. The next morning, officials ask Yamane if there is a way to kill Godzilla. A frustrated Yamane explains that Godzilla has already survived a massive amount of radiation, and believes that he should be studied to see what keeps him alive.

Yamane's daughter, Emiko Yamane, is engaged to Dr. Daisuke Serizawa, a colleague of Yamane's. Emiko, however, is in love with Lieutenant Hideo Ogata of the Nankai Steamship Company. When Emiko visits Serizawa to tell him that she loves Ogata, and wishes to break off her engagement to him, Serizawa reveals to her his own dark secret. He had created a device that can destroy all life in the sea. This device is called the Oxygen Destroyer, and is more powerful than any nuclear weapon. He gives Emiko a demonstration in his lab, by using the device in a fish tank. All the fish are disintegrated, only leaving skeletons. Shocked by this discovery, Emiko leaves Serizawa, promising not to tell anybody what she witnessed. She was unable to tell Serizawa about Ogata, or that she wanted to break the engagement.

That night, Godzilla appears again out of Tokyo Bay and attacks the city. While the monster's attack was relatively short, it had caused much destruction and death. The next morning, the military hastily constructs a line of 40 meter electric towers along the coast of Tokyo that will send 300,000 Volts of electricity through Godzilla, should he arrive again. Civilians are then evacuated from the city and put into bomb shelters. The military then prepares a blockade along the fence line.

When night falls, Godzilla surfaces from Tokyo Bay again. The monster easily breaks through the giant electric fence, with no pain inflicted. The bombardment of shells from the Japanese army also has no effect. As Godzilla breaks through the high-tension wires, he uses his atomic breath to melt the electric fences. The tanks and military are useless against Godzilla, who continues his raid well into the night. By the end, the entire city is destroyed and thousands of innocent civilians are dead, dying, or wounded. As Godzilla wades into the sea, a squadron of jets fire rockets at the monster but Godzilla is unscathed as he descends once again into Tokyo Bay.

The next morning, the city is in absolute ruins. Hospitals are overrun with victims, many exposed to heavy doses of radiation. As Emiko sees the many victims of Godzilla's attack, she takes Ogata aside and tells him Serizawa's dark secret, in hope that together, they can convince Serizawa do something against Godzilla.

Ogata and Emiko visit Serizawa to ask that they use the weapon against Godzilla. Serizawa refuses and storms down to his basement to destroy the Oxygen Destroyer. Ogata and Emiko follow him down in order to prevent him from doing so. However, this only results in a short fight between Ogata and Serizawa, with Ogata receiving a minor head wound. As Emiko treats the wound, Serizawa apologizes. Ogata tries to convince Serizawa that he is the only one who can save the world.

Then, after the argument, a grim television program appears on the air, showing the devastation and deaths caused by Godzilla, along with prayers for hope and peace. Shocked by what he's witnessing, Serizawa ultimately decides to use his last Oxygen Destroyer, but only one time. Serizawa then ultimately destroys his research, knowing that this weapon was almost as dangerous and destructive as Godzilla himself, and that destroying this weapon will be for the betterment of society.

The next day, a navy ship takes Ogata and Serizawa to plant the device in Tokyo Bay. Serizawa requests that he be put in a diving suit to make sure the device is used correctly. Ogata at first refuses, but soon gives in. Ogata and Serizawa then descend into the water, and find Godzilla resting. Seemingly unaware of the divers, the monster slowly walks around the ocean floor. Ogata then is pulled back to the surface while Serizawa activates the Oxygen Destroyer. As Serizawa watches Godzilla dying from the destructive weapon, he cuts his cord and dies with Godzilla, sacrificing himself so that his knowledge of the horrible weapon dies with him. A dying Godzilla surfaces, lets out a final roar, and sinks to the bottom, disintegrating.

Although Godzilla is destroyed, the tone is still grim. As the people aboard the ship look to the sun and salute the sacrifice of Serizawa, it is uncertain whether the death of Godzilla is either the end or the beginning of an apocalyptic era.

Staff

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

  • Directed by   Ishiro Honda
  • Written by   Ishiro Honda, Shigeru Kayama and Takeo Murata
  • Produced by   Tomoyuki Tanaka
  • Music by   Akira Ifukube
  • Cinematography by   Masao Tamai
  • Edited by   Yasunobu Taira
  • Production Design by   Satoshi Chuko and Takeo Kita
  • Assistant Directing by   Koji Kajita
  • Special Effects by   Eiji Tsuburaya

Cast

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

  • Akira Takarada   as   Lieutenant Hideo Ogata
  • Momoko Kochi   as   Emiko Yamane
  • Akihiko Hirata   as   Doctor Daisuke Serizawa
  • Takashi Shimura   as   Doctor Kyohei Yamane
  • Fuyuki Murakami   as   Doctor Tabata
  • Sachio Sakai   as   Reporter Hagiwara
  • Toranosuke Ogawa   as   President of Nankai Shipping Company
  • Ren Yamamoto   as   Fisherman Masaji
  • Miki Hayashi   as   Chairman of Diet Committee
  • Takeo Oikawa   as   Chief of Emergency Headquarters
  • Seijiro Onda   as   Oyama
  • Tsuruko Mano   as   Shinkichi's Mother
  • Toyoaki Suzuki   as   Shinkichi
  • Kokuten Kodo   as   Gisaku
  • Kin Sugai   as   Ozawa
  • Tadashi Okabe   as   Reporter
  • Ren Imaizumi   as   Radio Operator
  • Junpei Natsuki   as   Power Substation Engineer
  • Kenji Sahara   as   Man Aboard Ship
  • Katsumi Tezuka   as   Hagiwara's Editor
  • Haruo Nakajima   as   Newspaperman, Godzilla (ShodaiGoji)

Appearances

Monsters

Weapons, Vehicles, and Races

Gallery

Main article: Gallery:Godzilla (1954 film).

Soundtrack

Main article: Godzilla (1954 film soundtrack).

Production

With war films becoming frowned upon in Japan's film industry after World War II, Toho Studios looked for a new genre of films to make. Tomoyuki Tanaka, coming back to Japan after making progress on an over seas production, had a thought of "what if a giant monster awoke from nuclear radiation and attacked Japan, taking residence in Tokyo Bay?". While nuclear radiated monsters started becoming popular at the time, the use in this film is due to the accident of the Lucky Dragon No. 5 fishing boat which was unknowingly catching fish too close to the Bikini Islands when an atom bomb test was conducted.

Chosen to direct was war veteran and pacifist Ishiro Honda, who would later on direct a good half of the Godzilla series during the Showa era. To handle the special effects were Eiji Tsuburaya and Yasuyuki Inoue. Eiji Tsuburaya was one of the greatest masters of miniature effects on film; one of his WWII works (a recreation of the attack on Pearl Harbor) was later mistaken for actual war footage. Eiji Tsuburaya originally wanted to film Gojira in stop motion like a recent 1953 sci-fi blockbuster, The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, and the earlier classic and personal favorite of Tsuburaya's, King Kong. However, Haruo Nakajima quoted Tsuburaya in saying that "...it would take seven years to make..." so suitmation was created. The ShodaiGoji suit was originally brown, and weighed over 200 pounds. When suit actor Haruo Nakajima tried to move in it, it took several minutes. A lighter suit was made along with a pair of suspended legs. The filming took approximately three months.

Alternate Titles

  • Godzilla, King of the Monsters! (United States)
    • Monster King Godzilla (怪獣王ゴジラ?, Kaijū ō Gojira; Japan)
  • Godzilla - The most sensational film of the present (Godzilla - Der sensationellste Film der Gegenwart; Germany)
  • Godzilla: Monster of the Sea (Godzilla: Monstret Från Havet; Sweden)
  • Japan: Under the Terror of the Monster (Japón: Bajo el Terror del Monstruo; Spain)
  • The Monster of the Pacific Ocean (O Monstro do Oceano Pacífico; Portugal)
  • Godzilla, the Monster of the Century (Godzilla, το τέρας του αιώνος, Godzilla, to téras tou aió̱nos; Greece)

Theatrical Releases

  • Japan - November 3, 1954  [view poster]Gojira 1954 Japanese poster; 1957 (Godzilla, King of the Monsters!)  [view poster]Godzilla King of the Monsters poster
  • United States - April 27, 1956  [view poster]Godzilla Poster
  • Sweden - 1954  [view poster]Godzilla King of the Monsters Sweden Poster
  • Spain - 1956  [view poster]Godzilla Movie Posters - Gojira -Spanish-
  • England - 1956  [view poster]Godzilla King of the Monsters England Poster
  • Australia - 1956  [view poster]Godzilla King of the Monsters Australia Poster
  • Germany - 1956  [view poster]Godzilla Movie Posters - Gojira -German-
  • Portugal - 1956  [view poster]Gojira Poster Portugal
  • Hungary - 1956
  • Mexico - 1956  [view poster]Godzilla King of the Monsters Mexico Poster
  • Argentina - 1956  [view poster]Godzilla King of the Monsters Argentina Poster
  • Cuba - 1956  [view poster]Godzilla King of the Monsters Cuba Poster
  • France - 1957  [view poster]Godzilla Movie Posters - Gojira -French-
  • Italy - 1957  [view poster]Godzilla Movie Posters - King of the Monsters -Italian-; 1977 (Cozzilla)  [view poster]Godzilla King of the Monsters Italy Poster 1
  • Belgium - 1957  [view poster]Godzilla Movie Posters - Gojira -Romanian-
  • Poland - 1957  [view poster]Godzilla Movie Posters - Gojira -Polish-
  • Brazil - 1958  [view poster]Gojira Poster Brazil 1

Foreign Releases

U.S. Release

A powerful undercurrent in this film is derived from visual and psychological references to the atom bomb. Godzilla is not only radioactive, but after he smashes through a city, the ruins are quite reminiscent of Hiroshima or Nagasaki. The characters visit a radiation ward hosting victims who have been contaminated by proximity to Godzilla or his radioactive breath.

And of course Daisuke Serizawa's reluctance to use his awful weapon is clearly intended to reference thermonuclear horror.

In the U.S., this film was released as Godzilla, King of the Monsters!. It starred Raymond Burr, and featured additional dubbing and re-editing, with footage of Burr worked into the film. Burr plays as American journalist, Steve Martin. Burr's role was to provide a narrative on the events unfolding in Japan from an American perspective. Martin's character was close to the style of American journalist Edward R. Murrow. Martin in detail reports the atmosphere and attack that Godzilla has caused in Japan, much like Murrow's description of the Blitz in London caused by the Nazis. Although key elements were removed from the original Gojira, Raymond Burr added legitimacy through an American perspective to an otherwise foreign film. Because of Burr's addition, Godzilla was a success and cultural icon in the United States. While 20 minutes were added, 40 minutes were cut out for the American edition, including most of a scene in which journalists watch from Tokyo Tower as Godzilla approaches, heroically continuing their broadcast until they are killed.

For years it was difficult to obtain the original Japanese version in the West. It had a very limited release, mostly for film salesmen, in 1955 America and again in 2004 by Ratio pictures. But it finally has been released in a double-disc edition by Classic Media titled Gojira/Godzilla, permitting Godzilla fans to easily compare the film versions. The DVD soon won an award. A couple of other countries followed suit, including Australia and Germany. In Japan, both versions were released in a double laserdisc version in 1994 and in 2004 a box set containing all Godzilla films minus Godzilla: Final Wars.

Italian Release

The first theatrical release of Godzilla, King of the Monsters! in Italy was in 1957. The film was titled Godzilla il re dei mostri, a literal translation of the American title.

Cozzilla (1977) Full Movie01:29:04

Cozzilla (1977) Full Movie

In 1977, a colorized version of Godzilla, King of the Monsters! directed by Luigi Cozzi was released theatrically in Italy. The Italian-dubbed film featured 80 minutes of footage from Godzilla and Godzilla, King of the Monsters! with 25 minutes of World War II newsreel footage and other 1950's monster movies added in. "Cozzilla," as it's often called, combining the last name of the movie's director and "Godzilla," was colorized using a process called "Spectorama 70" which consisted of applying various multi-colored gels to black-and-white footage.[1]

Box Office

The film had a budget of ¥64,000,000 (roughly adjusted to $900,000), with marketing costs ending up at ¥37,000,000 (roughly adjusted to $600,000), for a total of ¥101,000,000 (roughly adjusted to $1,500,000). The film sold 9,610,000 tickets and grossed ¥152,000,000 (roughly adjusted to $2,250,000).

Godzilla, King of the Monsters! was given a $25,000 lease by Toho, which made its budget just about $25,000 more than the original Japanese film's. The film grossed $2,000,000, making it a box office hit. Both films grossed a combined total of roughly $4,250,000.

Reception

Gojira opened in Japan in 1954 and sold approximately 9.6 million tickets, gaining a lot of money for the time. While successful, it was small in relation to other works of the same year such as Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai, which along with Gojira have become Japan's most famous films. A sequel was rushed into production. In America, the film was re-edited with added footage of American actor Raymond Burr, playing reporter Steve Martin and retitled Godzilla, King of the Monsters!. In America, it was also more successful than anticipated. The re-edited version of the film would be the one shown all over Europe and gained Godzilla an unprecedented audience which has since made the monster an icon as recognizable as Superman. Its box office earnings were 152 million Yen ($2.25 million).

For the German theatrical version 13 minutes of the film were cut, cutting out Dr. Kyohei Yamane's return to Japan, shortening his speech and presentation of what Godzilla is and shortening the final scene. This version was used for all home video releases of the film. The uncut director's cut was not released until 2004, when it appeared in a special 50th anniversary box set by Splendid Film, along with the German version and for the first time ever the US version, plus a two disc edition of Final Wars. Gojira was then made available as an individual release. In the U.S. and Canada, Classic Media released Gojira in 2006 as part of its 'Master Collection'; this release was a two-disc set, with one disc being the Japanese original version and the other being the American version with Raymond Burr

In the 1970s, the film was re-released in Italy in a crudely colorized version with clips of Rodan, Godzilla Raids Again and World War 2 footage added. The film was not well received and was only shown on TV a few times. The colorized version has since been very rare.

Video Releases

Simitar (1998)[2]

  • Released: May 6, 1998
  • Region: All Regions
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0), English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Format: Dubbed, Full Screen, Letterboxed, NTSC
  • Other Details: 1.85:1 Aspect Ratio, 96 minutes run time, 1 disc, 1956 American version

Toho (2001)

  • Released: 2001
  • Region: Region 2
  • Language: Japanese

Classic Media (2002)[3]

  • Released: September 17, 2002
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada)
  • Language: English, Japanese
  • Format: Black & White, NTSC
  • Other Details: 1.33:1 aspect ratio, 78 minutes run time, 1 disc, 1956 American version

Madman (2004)[4]

  • Released: November 16, 2004
  • Region: Region 4 (PAL)
  • Language: English, Japanese
  • Format: PAL, Import
  • Other Details: 1 disc, 1954 Japanese and 1956 American versions

Classic Media (2006) [5]

  • Released: September 5, 2006
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada)
  • Language: Japanese (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Format: Collector's Edition, Black & White, NTSC, Full Screen, Subtitled
  • Other Details: 1.33:1 aspect ratio, 175 minutes run time, 2 discs, 1954 Japanese and 1956 American versions

BFI (2006)[6]

  • Released: 2006
  • Region: Region 2
  • Language: English

Toho (2009)

  • Blu-Ray
  • Released: 2009
  • Language: Japanese

Criterion (2012)[7]

  • Released: January 24, 2012
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada)
  • Language: Japanese
  • Format: Black & White, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Other Details: 1.37:1 aspect ratio, 96 minutes run time, 2 discs, 1954 Japanese version

Criterion (2012)[8]

  • Blu-Ray
  • Released: January 24, 2012
  • Region: Region A/1
  • Language: Japanese (PCM Mono)
  • Format: Black & White, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Other Details: 1.77:1 aspect ratio, 96 minutes run time, 1 disc, 1954 Japanese version

Classic Media (2012)[9]

  • Blu-Ray
  • Released: July 1, 2012
  • Region: Region A/1
  • Language: Japanese
  • Format: Black & White, Dubbed, Full Screen
  • Other Details: 1.37:1 aspect ratio, 98 minutes run time, 1 disc, 1954 Japanese version

Videos

Trailers

Miscellaneous

Cozzilla

Trivia

  • In Godzilla vs. Destoroyah it is said that the oxygen destroyer used by Dr. Serizawa created Destoroyah.
  • Godzilla vs. Megaguirus offers a different version of the movie that has Godzilla simply go away and then reappear at other times through history.
  • In Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack, Godzilla is killed by the Oxygen Destroyer, but his body is later inhabited by the collective will of the dead from the World Wars.
  • The trilobite in this film reappears in Godzilla Against MechaGodzilla.
  • In the Kiryu Saga, Godzilla is killed by the Oxygen Destroyer but his skeleton survives and is used to construct MechaGodzilla.
  • When they close-up into Godzilla either roaring or using his atomic breath, a puppet is being used.
  • The sound effects team originally tried to create Godzilla's roar by using animal roars that had been edited. They sampled all kinds of birds and mammals, but nothing seemed to be the right match for the reptile-like noises a monster like Godzilla would make. Akira Ifukube, who was the film's composer, proposed stepping away from using animal samples. He took a string off of his contrabass and rubbed it with gloves soaked in pine tar. The sound that came from it was used as Godzilla's roar.
  • In the Wii version of Godzilla: Unleashed the Godzilla from this movie appeared as a playable monster.
  • Although Godzilla's first film appearance was in this film, released in November of 1954, he made his first official debut four months earlier, in July, when an earlier version of the film's script was read on a radio as an 11-part radio drama.
  • In a strange error, the television that airs the memorial program turns on all by itself. None of the three characters present turn it on, nor do they take notice of the seemingly impossible occurrence.

References

This is a list of references for Godzilla (1954 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]

Kaiju   Films
Godzilla Films Godzilla (1954 film)Godzilla Raids AgainKing Kong vs. GodzillaMothra vs. GodzillaGhidorah, the Three-Headed MonsterInvasion of Astro-MonsterEbirah, Horror of the DeepSon of GodzillaDestroy All MonstersAll Monsters AttackGodzilla vs. HedorahGodzilla vs. GiganGodzilla vs. MegalonGodzilla vs. MechaGodzillaTerror of MechaGodzillaThe Return of GodzillaGodzilla vs. BiollanteGodzilla vs. King GhidorahGodzilla vs. MothraGodzilla vs. MechaGodzilla 2Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzillaGodzilla vs. DestoroyahGodzilla 2000: MillenniumGodzilla vs. MegaguirusGodzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out AttackGodzilla Against MechaGodzillaGodzilla: Tokyo S.O.S.Godzilla: Final WarsGodzilla (2014 film)Godzilla 2
Gamera Films GameraGamera vs. BarugonGamera vs. GyaosGamera vs. VirasGamera vs. GuironGamera vs. JigerGamera vs. ZigraGamera: Super MonsterGamera: Guardian of the UniverseGamera 2: Advent of LegionGamera 3: Awakening of IrysGamera: The Brave
Mothra Films MothraRebirth of MothraRebirth of Mothra IIRebirth of Mothra III
Miscellaneous Films GODZILLAKing Kong (1933 film)Japanese King KongKing Kong Appears in EdoSon Of KongThe Beast From 20,000 FathomsRodanThe MysteriansVaranH-ManGorathAtragonMatangoDogoraFrankenstein vs. BaragonWar of the GargantuasKing Kong EscapesSpace AmoebaDaigoro vs. GoliathThe X From Outer SpaceKing Kong (1976 film)King Kong LivesYamato TakeruKing Kong (2005 film)CloverfieldGo! GodmanMonsters

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