The Gareth Edwards Godzilla “remake” is scheduled to hit U.S. theaters on May 16th this year, so it makes absolutely monstrous sense to roll out a totally revamped cut of Ishirô Honda’s 1954 original Godzilla — especially since it’s the 60th anniversary. (Check out the 60th anniversary post for Godzilla: The Original just below.)
How revamped? How does restored and uncut sound to you, you monster fiend? That’s right, according to the press release (see below), what will be screened starting at New York’s Film Forum from April 18th through 24th is going to be the original cut and not the American cut with Raymond Burr.
After the New York run, Godzilla will screen in Sante Fe, Portland, Seattle, Houston, Lexington and Columbus. If you like a good, classic monster movie with a huge metaphor, make sure to catch the screening run of Ishirô Honda’s Godzilla: The Japanese Original. Who knows when you’ll next have the chance to see this big monster on the big screen.
The Press Release:
[sic] A new restoration of GODZILLA: THE JAPANESE ORIGINAL, the monster classic that has spawned six decades of sequels, imitations, and remakes, will debutApril 12 at the fifth TCM Classic Film Festival in Hollywood, followed by a national release beginning at New York’s Film Forum, April 18-24.
GODZILLA was originally released here in 1956 as Godzilla: King of the Monsters, an atrociously cut, dubbed and re-edited version that inserted American actor Raymond Burr into the action; only an hour was used of the original’s 98 minute running time. Burr does not appear in the original, uncut version, which has an all-Japanese cast including Kurosawa regular Takashi Shimura, who the very same year appeared as leader of the Seven Samurai.
As directed by Ishirô Honda, with special effects by the legendary Eiji Tsuburaya, GODZILLA: THE JAPANESE ORIGINAL is much darker in tone than the dumbed-down U.S. release version, which entirely eliminated the original’s underlying theme: in the Japanese version, the monster is clearly a metaphor for the nuclear menace and the film itself a cry for world peace and disarmament. The American version also cut out all of the original’s astonishing Strangelove-like black humor.
The original GODZILLA holds up as one of the greatest science fiction/monster films ever made, boasting still-impressive special effects, as the radiation-breathing prehistoric monster, awakened after millennia by Hydrogen Bomb testing – and impervious to repeated shelling by the Japanese army – wreaks destruction on Tokyo.
GODZILLA became Toho Studio’s #1 box office hit of 1954 (its #2 that year was Seven Samurai) and was so popular worldwide that the company has since produced nearly 30 sequels and remakes; a statue near Toho headquarters in Tokyo pays tribute to their most valuable property. In 1984, the prestigious film journal Kinema Junpo rated it among the top 20 Japanese films of all time. In 1989, a published survey of 370 Japanese movie critics, Nihon Eiga Besuto 150 (Best 150 Japanese Films), ranked Godzilla the 27th greatest Japanese feature ever made.
A new American version of Godzilla from Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures, directed by Gareth Edwards (2010’s Monsters), will be released nationally May 16.
Rock Hard \m/