In 1954 Toho Studio gave the people of Japan a horrific tale of a giant monster created by H Bomb tests. It rises from the ocean and inflicts untold damage on Tokyo and the people who live there.
The movie, entitled "Gojira" was a smash at the box office and was soon picked up for US consumption, but it was changed. More about that a little later.
When several ships have been destroyed, Japanese officials grow very concerned, especially after the rescue parties are also destroyed. Survivors are picked up on ODO Island and they tell a tale about a huge monster. The islanders believe it is an ancient god named "Gojira" causing all the trouble.
Soon the huge radioactive lizard who spews a deadly fire from his mouth emerges from Tokyo Bay and completely destroys the entire city, killing thousands. The monster is finally defeated by an invention called "The Oxygen Destroyer" developed by a scientist named Serizawa.
There are many disturbing scenes in this movie, the most is when a woman sits on the street with her two small children. She knows they are going to die and she tells them that they will all soon join their father. The other is when a young child watches her father die in front of her eyes.
Two years later in 1956 this was picked up for distribution in the USA and it was changed so much it didn't even resemble the original movie. Some of it was considered too brutal for the USA and so about 40 minutes were cut from the film and inserts of US star Raymond Burr replaced them. It really watered down the film.
It was still a major hit in the USA and Toho decided to make a sequel. That will be looked at here soon. The film in its original form is a beautiful and horrifying film with a rousing music score by Akira Ifukubi...so rousing is the score that it has been used in Godzilla films for the last 66 years!!
The Criterion presentation is a wonder to behold and the Showa Era set is easily one, if not THE top release of 2020. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!
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