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Godzilla vs. Hedorah

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Godzilla vs. Hedorah (ゴジラ対ヘドラ,   Gojira Tai Hedora?, lit. Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster) is a 1971 tokusatsu kaiju film produced by Toho Company Ltd., and the eleventh installment in the Godzilla series as well as the Showa series. The film was released to Japanese theaters on July 24, 1971.


Plot

The movie starts out with a long shot of polluted water where Hedorah rises slowly, the title shows onscreen. Credits roll with shots of sludge and garbage floating past on the water mixed with images of a woman singing "Save the Earth" in Japanese. We then come to the home of the Yano family, consisting of Dr. Toru Yano, a marine biologist, his wife, Toshie, and his son, Ken. A fisherman comes to their house with a large black-colored tadpole-esque fish. A friend of the Yano's, Ken, the Doctor, and the fisherman agree it couldn't be a tadpole for a few reasons (Size, area where it was found, color, etc.). The doctor asks where the fisherman caught it, and he said it was down where he normally went shrimping, saying it was strange he didn't get any.

As the family and their friend are eating, a news report comes on about a large creature, similar to the fish they found, attacking two boats, destroying them. One theory put out was that it was a military weapon. A clear photo of the creature comes onscreen in the report. Ken exclaims it was the same as the fish the man brought earlier. They travel down to where the fish was caught in Suruga Bay, the doctor in scuba gear, the boy with a knife and pail. The doctor tells his son he'll be back in thirty minutes and dives in. Dr. Yano swims around for a while without finding anything other than garbage on the bottom of the water. As Ken cracks open oysters attached to the rocks in the water, finding nothing, the creature causes a wave to crash into him as it is swimming toward him. He holds his knife up in the air as it jumps above him, creating a large gash in its underbelly.

It swims off, leaving Ken on the rocks, calling out to his father. The doctor soon sees the creature, it goes toward him and burns his face with acid. He is brought back home later on, having been treated for burns. In an interview with the press, they discuss the two creatures (as the one that attacked Ken and Dr. Yano was much smaller), Ken refers to them as "Hedorahs", however the name appears to catch on. They discuss how both of the Hedorahs were found in polluted water. Another news report states three more tankers were taken down by the larger of the two. A crude cartoon of a green-colored Hedorah drinking oil from the tankers among hundreds of dead fish is shown. In the background, smoke billows from several chimney stacks.

Classic Godzilla music plays momentarily on a picture of a sunset/sunrise as Godzilla slowly comes on-screen and roars. Various shots of polluted water appears again. Ken has a short monologue about nuclear fallout and waste being put into the sea as Godzilla sets fire to the sludge on the water (apparently for a report of some kind, as evidenced by his lines at the end).

Hedorah then appears in land form, and begins to feed on pollution from a factory. Godzilla appears and attacks Hedorah, only to find out that the monster is immune to his heat ray. Hedorah then retreats back to the ocean with Godzilla on his tail.

Ken is at an amusement park and rides on the roller coaster when he spots Godzilla. Hedorah, now in flying form, appears and attacks the city. Meanwhile, Dr. Yano studies Hedorah's blood to find sulfur. He realizes that Hedorah can only be defeated by high temperatures, and kills the small Hedorah he had locked in his lab by electrocuting it. The army is notified of this weakness, and proceeds to build a machine to kill Hedorah at Mount Fuji.

Ken goes to a party at Mount Fuji where Hedorah attacks. Godzilla attacks Hedorah, but it changes to its final form. Hedorah then defeats Godzilla, and the humans at the party begin to throw fire at it. Hedorah is about to kill them, but Godzilla intervenes. Godzilla fights valiantly, but is once again defeated by Hedorah, with the power lines getting destroyed in the process. The army lures Hedorah to the weapon, only to find out that they do not have power. Godzilla grabs Hedorah and activates the weapon with his heat ray, frying him. He removes two white spheres from Hedorah and destroys them. The weakened Hedorah tries to fly away, but Godzilla flies after him. Hedorah returns to land form, and is drug back to the weapon by Godzilla. Godzilla activates the weapon again and finally kills Hedorah. Ken says his goodbyes to Godzilla as he heads back to the sea.

Staff

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

  • Directed by   Yoshimitsu Banno
  • Written by   Yoshimitsu Banno, Kaoru Mabuchi
  • Produced by   Tomoyuki Tanaka
  • Music by   Riichiro Manabe, Mari Keiko
  • Cinematography by   Yoichi Manoda
  • Edited by   Yoshitami Kuroiwa
  • Production Design by   Taiko Inoue
  • Special Effects by   Teruyoshi Nakano
  • Assistant Director of Special Effects   Koichi Kawakita

Cast

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

  • Akira Yamauchi   as   Doctor Toru Yano
  • Hiroyuki Kawase   as   Ken Yano
  • Toshie Kimura   as   Toshie Yano, Ken's Mother
  • Keiko Mari   as   Miki Fujinomiya
  • Toshio Shiba   as   Yukio Monai
  • Yoshio Yoshida   as   Fisherman Gohei
  • Haruo Suzuki   as   JSDF Commanding Officer Suzuki
  • Yoshio Katsube   as   JSDF Engineering Officer Katsube
  • Tadashi Okabe   as   Scientist
  • Yasuzo Ogawa   as   Civilian
  • Wataru Omae   as   Police Officer
  • Haruo Nakajima   as   Non-commissioned officer
  • Eizaburo Komatsu   as   Non-commissioned officer
  • Koji Uruki   as   Non-commissioned officer
  • Yutaka Oka   as   Non-commissioned officer
  • Takuya Yuki   as   Communications Officer Yuki
  • Yukihiko Gondo   as   Helicopter Pilot
  • Tatsuhito Go   as   Young Man
  • Kentaro Watanabe   as   News Announcer Watanabe
  • Tatsu Okabe   as   Interviewer Okabe
  • Kazuo Imai   as   Mahjong Man
  • Saburo Kadowaki   as   Mahjong Man
  • Masaki Shinohara   as   Mahjong Man
  • Nobuo Katsura   as   Mahjong Man
  • Haruo Nakajima   as   Man on TV
  • Akio Kusama   as   Man on TV
  • Soji Ubukata   as   Man on TV
  • Shigeo Kato   as   Construction Worker


Appearances

Monsters

Weapons

Vehicles

Alternate titles

  • Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster (United States)
  • Hedorah, the Toxic Bubble (Hedorah, la burbuja tóxica; Spain)
  • Godzilla Against Monsters of Smog (Godzilla contra monstruos del smog; Mexico)
  • The Monsters of Smog (Los monstruos del smog; Mexico)
  • Fankenstein's Battle Against the Devil's Monster (Frankensteins Kampf gegen die Teufelsmonster; Germany)
  • Godzilla: Fury of the Monster (Godzilla - Furia di Mostri; Italy)
  • Godzilla Against the Monster of Fog (Godzilla contre le monstre du brouillard; French Belgium)
  • Godzilla Against Hedorah (Godzilla kontra Hedora; Poland)
  • Satan's Creature (Satans creatuur; Netherlands)
  • Monster Hedorah (Canavar Hedorah; Turkey)

Theatrical releases

  • Japan - July 24, 1971
  • United States - 1972
  • Spain - 1971
  • Germany - 1971
  • Italy - 1971
  • Poland - 1971
  • Belgium - 1972
  • England - 1975

U.S. release

Godzilla Movie Posters - Godzilla vs. Hedorah -English-

American Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster poster

Godzilla vs. Hedorah was released theatrically in the United States in 1972 by American International Pictures, under the title Godzilla vs. The Smog Monster. The film was dubbed into English, and were also several small alterations: dialogue was dubbed into English by Titan Productions, several shots with Japanese text were replaced with English or textless equivalents, additional sound effects and foley were added to some scenes. The opening song, Return the Sun!, is recorded over with new English lyrics and retitled Save the Earth.

This version was rated 'G' by the MPAA, and the same version was given an 'A' certificate by the BBFC for its UK theatrical release in 1975.

The AIP version has been replaced in the North American home video and television markets (even including Sony's DVD) by Toho's international version, titled Godzilla vs. Hedorah instead of Godzilla vs. The Smog Monster. This version features the original English dub produced in Hong Kong, and by extension lacks the English-language song, Save the Earth which was replaced with the original opening song Return The Sun!. This version was first broadcast in the United States by the Sci-Fi Channel, on January 20, 1996.

Box office

Godzilla vs. Hedorah had a budget of ¥90,000,000 . When the film was released on July 24, 1971 in Japan, it received an attendance of 1,740,000.

Reception

Godzilla vs. Hedorah has received mixed reviews, with some liking it for its special effects and plot, while others dislike it for its bizarre content and inconsistent tone, which ranges from serious and disturbing, to surreal and weird, and to silly and goofy.

Japan Hero said the film is "recommended for Godzilla fans, but don't expect much out of it," adding that while "the special effects appear to be pretty good" and "watching it in its original [Japanese] language does make the movie more tolerable," "the character designs ... are bad" and "the music ... really kills the movie." Monster Zero criticized the film's production values and said that it "succeeds in carrying the series over the edge into strictly kid's stuff" and "begins the series' inexorable slide into oblivion." Stomp Tokyo said the film has "many obvious, crippling flaws" but added that "there are some good things," praising the monster action in particular.[12] In a review of Godzilla 1985, Roger Ebert cited it as his favorite of the Godzilla movies.

American Kaiju called the film "a confused Godzilla non-epic that doesn't seem to be sure just who it was made for in the first place. "DVD Talk said it "earns points for trying something new, to break away from what was fast becoming a tired formula. The film isn't as entertaining as Godzilla vs. Gigan or Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla, but it is more original and daring, and fans will want to pick it up."

The U.S. dubbed version was featured in the 1978 book The Fifty Worst Films of All Time.

Home media releases

TriStar Pictures (2004)[1]

  • Released: October 19, 2004
  • Region: Region 1
  • Language: Japanese, English
  • Format: Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Other Details: 2.35:1 aspect ratio, 87 minutes run time, 1 disc, American version

Toho (2004)

  • Released: May 6, 2014
  • Region: Region 1
  • Language: Japanese

Madman (2006)

  • Released: 2006
  • Region: Region 4

Kraken Releasing (2014)[2]

  • Released: May 6, 2014
  • Region: Region 1
  • Language: Japanese, English (Dubbed)
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Other Details: 1.77:1 aspect ratio, 86 minutes run time, 1 disc, Japanese and American versions

Kraken Releasing (2014)[3]

  • Blu-ray
  • Released: May 6, 2014
  • Language: Japanese, English (Dubbed)
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Other Details: 1.77:1 aspect ratio, 86 minutes run time, 1 disc, Japanese and American versions

Trivia

  • Godzilla vs. Hedorah includes a scene that is the first, and only, time Godzilla demonstrated the ability of flight in a film, using his atomic breath as jet propulsion. Yoshimitsu Banno reportedly added the scene to provide a light moment in what is otherwise a fairly dark movie compared to many of those which preceded it. Godzilla also demonstrated this ability in the comic series Godzilla: Ongoing and in Godzilla: The Game.
  • Despite Tomoyuki Tanaka reportedly prohibiting Yoshimitsu Banno from ever working on another Godzilla film, Toho attempted to produce a sequel to Godzilla vs. Hedorah with Banno as director, though this never made it past the concept stage. After Tanaka's death, Banno attempted to create a spiritual successor to Godzilla vs. Hedorah called Godzilla 3D to the MAX, which was scrapped in favor of Legendary Pictures' Godzilla, for which Banno was credited as an executive producer.
  • During the fight against Hedorah in the countryside, Godzilla tries to fend off one of Hedorah's eye beams by performing the famous '+' position with his arms, as a reference to the Ultraman series. However, this fails, and he gets his arms burnt.
  • Hedorah is the last monster that Godzilla battles in the Showa series that acts independently and is not under the control of some other being.

References

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This poll was created on August 18, 2013, and so far 189 people voted.
Godzilla films
Godzilla series
Showa era GodzillaGodzilla 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 Mechagodzilla
Heisei era The Return of GodzillaGodzilla vs. BiollanteGodzilla vs. King GhidorahGodzilla vs. MothraGodzilla vs. Mechagodzilla IIGodzilla vs. SpaceGodzillaGodzilla vs. Destoroyah
Millennium series Godzilla 2000: MillenniumGodzilla vs. MegaguirusGodzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out AttackGodzilla Against MechagodzillaGodzilla: Tokyo S.O.S.Godzilla: Final Wars
TriStar Pictures Godzilla (1998 film)
MonsterVerse GodzillaGodzilla: King of the MonstersGodzilla vs. Kong
Post-Millennium series Shin GodzillaGodzilla: Monster Planet
Cancelled or scrapped films
Showa era Bride of GodzillaThe Volcano MonstersBatman vs. GodzillaGodzilla vs. Hedorah sequelU.S.-Japan Collaboration: GodzillaAll Monsters Attack DirectiveGodzilla vs. RedmoonGodzilla vs. the Space Monsters: Earth Defense DirectiveThe Return of King GhidorahA Space GodzillaGodzilla vs. Asuka Fortress
Heisei era The Return of Godzilla (original draft)Godzilla: King of the Monsters 3-DUntitled animated Godzilla filmGodzilla vs. King KongGodzilla vs. Mechani-KongThe Return of King GhidorahGodzilla vs. GigamothGodzilla vs. MechaMothraGodzilla vs. BerserkGodzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II (Early draft)Godzilla vs. AstroGodzillaGodzilla vs. Ghost GodzillaGodzilla vs. Barubaroi
Millennium series Godzilla RebornGodzilla X Varan, Baragon and Anguirus: Giant Monsters All-Out AttackGodzilla vs. Gamera
American films Godzilla (1994 film)Godzilla 3D to the MAX
TriStar Pictures Godzilla 2
MonsterVerse Godzilla (June 2012 screenplay)