Mothra vs. Godzilla (モスラ対ゴジラ?, Mosura tai Gojira lit. Mothra Against Godzilla) is a 1964 tokusatsu kaiju film produced by Toho Company Ltd., and the fourth installment in the Godzilla series as well as the Showa series. The film was released to Japanese theaters on April 29, 1964, and to American theaters on November 25, 1964.
A news reporter named Sakai and his photographer Junko take pictures of the wreckage caused by a typhoon. Later on that day a giant egg is discovered on the shore. The local villagers salvage it and scientists come to study the egg.
While Sakai and Junko try to ask Professor Miura questions about the egg, an entrepreneur of Happy Enterprises named Kumayama scurries the scientists off and explains that he bought the egg from the local villagers. Instead of letting scientists study the egg, Kumayama wants to make it into a large tourist attraction. Sakai, Junko, and Professor Miura are disgusted and believe that Kumayama has no right to keep the egg.
While the three are discussing the egg at a hotel, they discover Kumayama checking in. Sakai wonders aloud if somebody else may be working with Kumayama and investigates the matter. Kumayama walks into Mr. Torahata's room, the head of Happy Enterprises. As the two are discussing the billion-dollar tourist attraction, two tiny twin girls, known as the Shobijin, interrupt them. The Shobjin explain that they are from "Mothra Island" (known in later Godzilla movies as "Infant Island") and that the egg belongs to a monster named Mothra who lives there. Torahata and Kumayama ignore the girls' pleads and try to capture them.
The Shobjin escape the room and meet with Sakai, Junko, and Professor Miura outside the hotel. The girls beg them to bring the egg back too and the three promise to try as hard as they can to bring the egg back to Mothra Island. The girls explain that if the egg is not returned, a larva will hatch and will cause great destruction to its surroundings. Sakai tries to write editorials but "...public opinion is powerless against the law."
The girls soon leave and even though they could not get the egg back, they thanked Sakai, Junko, and Miura for their kindness. While the three are testing for radioactivity in an industrial area, Godzilla suddenly pops out of a beach and begins to attack the surrounding cities.
The editor of Sakai's newspaper believes that the military cannot do anything against Godzilla and discusses it with Sakai and Junko. Jiro, another reporter who loves to eat eggs, walks in and suggests that Mothra might be able to defeat Godzilla. Sakai and Junko are skeptical that the island would agree because atomic testing had destroyed most of their island, and they had failed to return the egg to them.
The two go to Infant Island anyway with Professor Miura. They are captured by the local villagers and are brought to the tribe’s chief. The three ask for assistance but, as expected, are turned down because of the atomic testing that destroyed their island, and Japan's failure to return the egg.
The Shobjin are heard singing and everyone walks towards them. Sakai, Junko, and Miura ask the Shojobin for Mothra's assistance but they are also turned town. Junko then pleads to all the villagers that not everyone from Japan should be blamed for what happened to their island. Godzilla is killing everyone and refusing their country assistance Sakai then adds that "we're all human" and that everyone is connected and must help each other. Mothra's screech is soon heard and the Shobjin ask everyone to follow them. They convince Mothra to help Japan but the monster is weak. After the monster will fight Godzilla it will have no power to return to the island.
The next day, Kumayama barges into Torahata's room and demands Torahata to give him his money back that Torahata had recently swindled from Kumayama. The two get into a fistfight and Kumayama knocks Torahata down. Kumayama crawls into Torahata's money cabinet and begins to steal the money from it. Torahata wakes up and sees Godzilla approaching the hotel. He then grabs a gun and kills Kumayama. Torahata tries to escape with his money but Godzilla destroys the hotel, crushing the greedy head of Happy Enterprises to death.
Godzilla walks towards the egg and tries to destroy it until Mothra shows up. The two fight a tough battle where Mothra seems to have the upper hand. While on the ground, Godzilla fires his atomic ray at Mothra and badly burns one of her wings. Mothra dies with her wing resting on top of the egg. Godzilla walks away. The Shobjin then explain to Sakai, Junko, and Miura that the egg can be hatched today. The tiny twins soon begin to sing.
Meanwhile, the military tries to fight Godzilla by electrocuting him with "artificial lighting" but fail. The Shobijin continue singing and the monster egg finally hatches with not one, but two Mothra larvae. The Mothra larvae follow Godzilla to Iwa Island and use cocoon spray on Godzilla to wrap the giant monster up in a cocoon. Godzilla struggles as he becomes fully wrapped up and plunges into the ocean. The Mothra larvae celebrate and return to their island.
Staff role on the left, staff member's name on the right.
Actor's name on the left, character played on the right.
American International Pictures originally released the film in the United States in September of 1964, and it opened in New York City on November 25, 1964. Retitled Godzilla vs. the Thing, Mothra's appearance was kept out of promotional material, which hinted that Godzilla's opponent would be a hideous tentacled creature and referred to it only as "The Thing". New York Times film critic Eugene Archer reacted to the film and its title: "Well, there are three things, not counting the movie. One has wings and looks like a big bee. The other two are hatched from the first Thing's egg, after quite a bit of worshipful kootch dancing from a pair of foot-tall native goddesses...".
In video releases of the 1980s, the film was titled simply 'Godzilla vs. Mothra. However, Mothra is still repeatedly called "The Thing" in the film, confusing many film-goers who thought "The Thing" and "Mothra" were two separate monsters.
In the original April 29th, 1964 Japanese release of Mothra vs. Godzilla, the film had 3,510,000 people attend. The first re-issue of the film, on December 19th, 1970, had an attendance of 730,000. When the film was re-released again on March 15th, 1980, it got 2,980,000 people attend and made ¥1,550,000,000, or $7,000,000. All releases put together made a gross of ¥2,330,000,000, or $10,000,000, and had a total attendance of 7,220,000.
Mothra vs. Godzilla is often considered by both fans and critics alike as being one of the best in the Showa series of Godzilla films.
Studio Canal (2001)
Classic Media (2002)
Classic Media (2006)
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