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GODZILLA aka GOJIRA
USA: Rialto Pictures
Cast: Takashi Shimura, Akira Takarada, Momoko Kochi, Akihiko Hirata, Fuyuki Murakami, Sachio Sakai, Toranosuke Ogawa, Ren Yamamoto, Miki Hayashi, Takeo Oikawa, Seijiro Onda, Tsuruko Mano, Toyoaki Suzuki, Kokuten Kodo, Kin Sugai, Tadashi Okabe, Ren Imaizumi, Junpei Natsuki, IshirO Honda, Kenji Sahara, Ryosaku Takasugi, Katsumi Tezuka, Haruo Nakajima , Yasuhisa Tsutsumi, Saburo Iketani
Director: IshirO Honda
Language: Japanese (English subtitles)
USA: 98 mins
UK: 96 mins
UK Certificate: PG contains mild scary monster scenes
USA Release Date: 14 May 2004 (Limited Re-release - Los Angeles)
USA Release Date: 7 May 2004 (Limited Re-release - New York)
UK Release Date: 14 October 2005 (Limited Release)
On a sunny day and 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. What's going on...?
GODZILLA was the biggest budgeted film in Japanese history at that time, costing nearly twice as much as the same studio's THE SEVEN SAMURAI, released the same year. A massive hit, it spawned 50 years of sequels, countless rip-offs, and a new genre: the kaiju eiga, or Japanese monster movie.
However when sold to an American distributor two years later, it was re-cut, re-arranged and badly dubbed, with added scenes (shot in Hollywood) with Raymond Burr in the lead role in the re-titled GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS! (1956).
But the original Japanese GODZILLA is one of the great films by a sci-fi master, IshirO Honda. The US version was 20 minutes shorter, with another 20 edited out to make room for Burr, so that nearly a third (about 40 minutes) was removed. The unrelentingly grim American version excised all of the film's comic relief and censored its strong anti-H-Bomb message, turning it into a run-of-the-mill monster-on-the-loose picture.
Now the original uncut version of GODZILLA with a new 35mm print, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the film's premiere, is being re-released. It also includes around 40 minutes of never-before-seen footage with new translation and subtitles.