directed by Ishiro Honda

starring Takashi Shimura, Haruo Nakajima, Akihiko Hirata and Momoko kochi

Rialto Pictures

it’s not easy being the King of All Monsters. It’s a thankless gig. Armies, robot monsters, flying moths and weird mutants constantly attack you in an effort to usurp your power. Then those wacky Americans come along and make a silly Saturday morning cartoon followed by a terrible film about your life with the fellow from Ferris Bueller and muck up your street cred. Then of course, there are the cities. You just can’t move through them, you have to go over them and that makes a mess.

Despite all the trials, tribulations, tussles and toxins, Japan’s best fire breathing mutant monster, Godzilla has turned 50. To celebrate this auspicious event, Rialto Pictures have re-released the original Japanese version of Godzilla, showing all of us just what the King of All Monsters did when he was younger.

For fans of Godzilla, the release of Ishiro Honda’s original 1954 film has been long overdue. His movie is finally seeing the light of day in its purest form with its noir texture and dark atmosphere. Honda’s original cut conveyed the spirit and feel of the Japanese cultural psyche of the 1950s, one that encapsulates peace, ecology and Japanese folklore while underscoring political tensions resulting from the atomic bombs and American occupation.

Technically, this fresh uncut version of Godzilla is a staggering improvement over the original. This subtitled version omits Raymond Burr’s narration, creating a darker and more apocalyptic film than the Westernized version fed to the American cinema palate fifty years ago.

The plot is pretty simple. An undersea explosion awakens Godzilla, a sleeping monster (known in Japan as Gojira) with a fetish for breathing fire, crushing buildings and swatting planes like tiny gnats. Feeling incredibly perturbed and somewhat territorial, an enraged and ferocious Godzilla goes nuts, trashing, thrashing and demolishing everything in his path, but mostly the city of Tokyo.

It’s been a hard career for Godzilla. His 28 films have created a body of work that has created a rapid worldwide cult following, making him instantly recognizable alone or in crowds. Thankfully, this new version will set the record straight and establish him as more than just a hokey kitsch sub-cultural phenomenon.

In March Japan’s Toho Studios announced that they are resting Godzilla after the release of Godzilla: Final Wars. Final Wars pits Godzilla against ten different foes in a monstrous tour de force.

Rialto Pictures: www.rialtopictures.com/

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Recently on Ink 19...

  • Jacqueline Kerrod
    Jacqueline Kerrod

    17 Days in December (Orenda Records). Review by Bob Pomeroy.

  • Pokey Lafarge
    Pokey Lafarge

    In The Blossom Of Their Shade (New West Records). Review by Jeremy Glazier.

  • Best of Film 2021
    Best of Film 2021

    Lily and Generoso select and review their ten favorite features, seven supplemental films, and two prized repertory releases of 2021.

  • I Saw A Dozen Faces…
    I Saw A Dozen Faces…

    From The Windbreakers to Bark, Tim Lee is a trooper in the rock and roll trenches…and he’s lived to tell it all in his new memoir.

  • The Lyons
    The Lyons

    A man on his deathbed is surrounded by bickering family members, many of which you would strangle him given the chance. In other words: a brilliant comedy!

  • The Reading Room
    The Reading Room

    Today’s episode features author Anna-Marie O’Brien talking about her book Adventures of a Metalhead Librarian: A Rock N’ Roll Memoir with Ink 19’s Rose Petralia.

  • Bush Tetras
    Bush Tetras

    Rhythm and Paranoia (Wharf Cat). Review by Scott Adams.

  • Tom Tom Club
    Tom Tom Club

    The Good The Bad and the Funky (Nacional). Review by Julius C. Lacking.

  • Barnes & Barnes
    Barnes & Barnes

    Pancake Dream (Demented Punk Records). Review by Carl F. Gauze.

  • Jeremiah Lockwood
    Jeremiah Lockwood

    A Great Miracle: Jeremiah Lockwood’s Guitar Soli Chanukah Album (Reboot). Review by Bob Pomeroy.

From the Archives