GODZILLA Movie Thread

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Eric Paddon
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Re: GODZILLA Movie Thread

#16 Post by Eric Paddon » Sun Sep 03, 2017 3:10 pm

Two different views on that one! :) I admit the original version takes some getting used to when one has seen the US cut many times as I did before I ever saw the original cut but to me the cuts and editing were needed to create a movie for American audiences that compared to similar American market movies like "Beast From 20,000 Fathoms" is a vastly superior effort. Compared to the amateurish effort of added scenes in "King Kong vs. Godzilla" the ones done for this movie have a much greater level of care and quality, and it also helps that Burr is for the first time giving us his Perry Mason persona (his movie roles before this would show him often made up differently like in "Rear Window" or "A Place In The Sun") which has the unintentional effect of making his appearance seem more like that of a major US star and not a lesser B-actor as he was at the time.

Just did another re-edit job where I redid the Japanese cut of the first Gamera movie by removing the beyond awful scenes of amateur American "actors" from the opening ten minutes and replaced them with the US version scenes from "Gamera The Invincible" so the end result is the Japanese cut with the one area the US cut improved on. These kind of films with their multiplicity of versions and dubs can lead to some interesting bits of creative re-editing if one has the means to do it!

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Re: GODZILLA Movie Thread

#17 Post by mkaroly » Fri Sep 08, 2017 1:46 pm

GODZILLA RAIDS AGAIN (1955) - 4.5/10. Maybe I am being a bit harsh, but compared to the original this film is really flat in a lot of ways. The story is less about Godzilla and more about the humans...though the humans are pretty "blah." The movie has some great special effects (like the plane doing a loop around before crashing into the ocean, the fighting sequences between Godzilla and Anguirus, and the destruction of Osaka), but it's missing heart. It is less of a deep reflection and more of an attempt to be entertaining; as such, to me it is not very compelling at all. I did thoroughly enjoy the monster battle in Osaka (there is one part of it in which Angurius kicks his leg up and knocks Godzilla down which cracks me up) and all the destruction therein. Still, I was disappointed after being legitimately moved at the first film.

The American dubbed version is outrageously bad and annoying; the voice over narration from Tsukioka is brutally irritating as anyone with any sense can tell what's going on just by watching the film. I did like hearing George Takei do several voices...lol...I thought it was really dumb to rename Godzilla as Gigantis in order to avoid confusion, but to me it was unnecessary. The changes that were made added nothing to the original version, so I give this version five thumbs down...too cartoony and weird in its approach. On a positive note, this version actually gave me a deeper respect for the American version of GODZILLA '54 which at least attempted to treat the its original film respectfully.

Eric Paddon
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Re: GODZILLA Movie Thread

#18 Post by Eric Paddon » Fri Sep 08, 2017 2:33 pm

I have never watched the American dubbed "Gigantis." I think there was a legal loophole that forced the name change that I'd have to go back and read about as far as not being able to use the name "Godzilla" for a US theatrical release. I'm aware of how bad the dubbing is since everyone always singles out the dated in the 1950s phrase "banana oil!" that gets used at one point. That said, the film is mostly tedious in its original Japanese version though the return of Dr. Yamane showing footage from the first movie that plays in dead silence is eerie (and it makes clear that this is a second Godzilla and the first one is dead and wasn't conveniently "resurrected". Thus all subsequent Godzilla movies through the 70s are really about the one introduced in this film).

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AndyDursin
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Re: GODZILLA Movie Thread

#19 Post by AndyDursin » Fri Sep 08, 2017 3:40 pm

According to this, they changed the name simply because the first GODZILLA didn't, I guess, do so well and they wanted this to seem like a "new monster." Some legal issues kept it from circulation for many years altogether in the U.S.:
The North American rights to the film were purchased by Harry Rybnick, Richard Kay, Edward Barison, Paul Schreibman, and Edmund Goldman, the same producers who acquired the rights to Godzilla and released it as Godzilla, King of the Monsters!.[2] Instead of dubbing the film, the producers first planned to produce a new film titled The Volcano Monsters, while utilising the effects footage from the original Japanese film.[2] Rybnick hired Ib Melchior and Edwin Watson to write the screenplay. Toho approved of the idea and shipped suits for Godzilla and Anguirus to Hollywood so the filmmakers could shoot additional scenes.[2] Rybnick and Barison initially struck a deal with AB-PT Pictures Corp. to co-finance the film but the company closed shop in 1957.[2]
Schreibman, Goldman, and then-new financier Newton P. Jacobs decided to dub the film instead.[3] Hugo Grimaldi was hired to oversee the dubbing and editing of the film.[3] Masaru Sato's original music was replaced (except for a couple of tracks) with public domain stock music and Godzilla's roar was replaced with Anguirus' roar.[3] This version had the working title of Godzilla Raids Again, but the film was released in May 1959 as Gigantis the Fire Monster on a double-bill with Teenagers From Outer Space.[3] Schreibman took full credit for changing Godzilla's name to Gigantis, which was an attempt to convince audiences that "Gigantis" was a brand new monster, stating, "We called it 'Gigantis' because we didn't want it to be confused with 'Godzilla' [who had clearly been killed irreparably by the oxygenator]."[4] At one point, Schreibman inaccurately told reporters that the original Japanese film was called Angirus.[4] The film was dubbed at Ryder Sound Services in New York and featured the voice talents of Keye Luke, Paul Frees, and George Takei.[5]

Prior to the film's release, Schreibman approached Bill Foreman (then-President of Pacific Theaters) and convinced him to purchase the theatrical and television rights to both Gigantis and Teenagers from Outer Space and helped Foreman sell the theatrical rights to Warner Bros.[3] According to the deal, Foreman agreed to show both films in all of his theatres while Warner Bros. would distribute the films to other theatres and were given the American and Latin American theatrical rights to both films for four years.[3] The American version of the film was released theatrically on May 21, 1959 where it played as a double feature with Teenagers from Outer Space.[1]

After the film reverted to Foreman and his attorney Harry B. Swerdlow (who became designated owner of both films because Foreman did not want his name to appear on the copyright notices), they did not pursue any interest in continuing to sell the television rights, which resulted in Gigantis the Fire Monster disappearing from American theatres and television for two decades until the rights reverted to Toho in the mid-1980s.[3]

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Re: GODZILLA Movie Thread

#20 Post by mkaroly » Fri Sep 08, 2017 4:00 pm

Good stuff!

Ultimately with all those changes and everything I don't think GIGANTIS did well in the American market. In addition, on the DVD version I have the title of the American cut is not GIGANTIS THE FIRE MONSTER but GODZILLA RAIDS AGAIN...I understand the reasoning behind changing the name of the monster, but I still think it was a dumb idea! Lol...

I agree that the eerie silence in which the group viewed the footage from the first movie in the Japanese film was well done; the substitute footage in the American version before showing original Godzilla material is extremely corny.

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Re: GODZILLA Movie Thread

#21 Post by mkaroly » Sat Sep 09, 2017 10:14 am

KING KONG VS. GODZILLA (1962) - 6.5/10. I was fortunate to find a copy of the Japanese version of the film with English subtitles posted on YouTube; I watched it after I had seen the Blu-Ray of the American cut version. Looking at the Japanese film brought great relief as I was able to see all the stuff the American version cut out in order to present its own version of things. I feel like the Japanese version is superior; I felt it flowed much better and made more sense than the American cut. I liked that we got to see the characters all the way through (especially Mr. Tako); although I don't pretend to understand Japanese humor, the advantage of the Japanese cut is that the characters do not appear to be stereotypes (as they come across in the American version).

The Japanese version seems to be much more light-hearted with the goal of entertaining the audience; they made a great decision in leaving the final epic monster battle to the end of the film as a climax (rather than putting it in the middle of the film as they did in GODZILLA RAIDS AGAIN)...at it was worth the wait. With leg sweeps, back flips, and Godzilla's tail pummeling Kong (and Kong punching Godzilla in the face over and over again), the maker of this film really set the bar high on the monster fights. It was also nice to hear Sato's score and how it tried to be like Ifukube's score for the original GODZILLA yet with its own twist.

The big issue I have with the American version is that, by adding the banal UN reporter scenes (along with a dopey satellite out in space), the movie comes across as something attempting to be serious. Maybe that was entertaining back in the 50s and 60s; ultimately it comes off as condescending to me. The humor seems more lampoonish and "offensive" in the context of the American cut (and I say that knowing full well that I am watching this film through the eyes of someone living in 2017 and not 1962). These American versions do no justice to the original film; if anything they butcher the Japanese original. If people really were curious about the Japanese, these attempts to make them accessible to an American audience didn't do justice to the Japanese people or their culture.

My last comments concern the ending; in the Japanese version there is a character who makes an environmental statement before the end of the film. In addition, as Kong walks back to his island, both his roar and Godzilla's roar are heard after "The End" pop up, suggesting that both are alive. In the American version only Kong's roar is heard. I am not sure why the American version did that, but I wish they would have included both roars at the end as the Japanese version did. The Japanese version is very entertaining (as are the fight sequences in the American cut).

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Re: GODZILLA Movie Thread

#22 Post by Eric Paddon » Sat Sep 09, 2017 11:17 am

The "satellite" is actually a piece of stock footage from the Toho sci-fi movie "The Mysterians" from 1957 and the extra scenes of destruction in the "earthquake" as the two monsters fall into the sea are also lifted from that film.

What's really weird is that for many years, the lack of access to the Japanese version led many books in the US to falsely assert that at the end of the Japanese version Godzilla emerges the winner and Kong doesn't and that it was the US version that changed the ending. The only explanation I can think of for how that tall tale got started is that maybe some thought Kong's emergence was a sign of him "running away". At any rate it took decades for this misinformation to finally be corrected.

Supposedly Toho did make a straight English dub of their original version or the European market but this version has never surfaced and likely never will. And Universal's control of the US rights to the film through their version means that we'll never see it released officially in the US region.

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Paul MacLean
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Re: GODZILLA Movie Thread

#23 Post by Paul MacLean » Sat Sep 09, 2017 12:22 pm

mkaroly wrote:
Sat Sep 09, 2017 10:14 am
It was also nice to hear Sato's score and how it tried to be like Ifukube's score for the original GODZILLA yet with its own twist.
When younger, I would read glowing reviews and comments about the score for King Kong vs. Godzilla, and I'd think "What are they talking about? That score was crap!"

Only years later did I learn that the US cut of this film was mostly tracked with library music!

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Re: GODZILLA Movie Thread

#24 Post by mkaroly » Sat Sep 09, 2017 2:35 pm

Paul MacLean wrote:
Sat Sep 09, 2017 12:22 pm
mkaroly wrote:
Sat Sep 09, 2017 10:14 am
It was also nice to hear Sato's score and how it tried to be like Ifukube's score for the original GODZILLA yet with its own twist.
When younger, I would read glowing reviews and comments about the score for King Kong vs. Godzilla, and I'd think "What are they talking about? That score was crap!"

Only years later did I learn that the US cut of this film was mostly tracked with library music!
They did the same for GIGANTIS THE FIRE MONSTER, and it was really annoying in that film!

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Re: GODZILLA Movie Thread

#25 Post by mkaroly » Sat Sep 16, 2017 1:35 pm

MOTHRA VS. GODZILLA (1964) - 7.5/10. I juts find this to be an incredibly entertaining film, where Honda and his team built on all the things in the previous three films that were successful and made them better. More than at any point in the past three films, Godzilla is put on the defensive and is vulnerable; he pretty much has no success in this film against his opponents, so it adds a dimension to Godzilla as a character. There are a lot of memorable scenes in the film: Godzilla's appearance, rising up from the dust, was really well done. Godzilla staring at Mothra's egg and the expression on his face; at least in comparison to the previous three films, the Godzilla costume in this film looks "alive" and not as rigid. It's almost like you can see him thinking and reasoning. There are a couple of moments where Godzilla's mouth jiggles...whether that was on purpose or but accident, I liked the more fluid movements of Godzilla's body in this film - he reacts and analyzes, which gives him even more dimensionality. The explosions were dynamic; the three note "Mothra" musical motif was memorable; even the human characters were interesting, from the villainous bad guys to the heroes, all-in-all I think this film is a solid accomplishment. The only complaint I have concerns the final battle in the film: it goes on too long, and having the heroes rescue children from the island sat that point seemed a bit late (i.e. it should have come earlier in the story).

The American cut, GODZILLA VS. THE THING, is the best job that America has done with the films so far. There is one addition to the film that is not in the Japanese version (where American ships fire missiles at Godzilla on the shoreline) which doesn't demean the Japanese version or detract from it at all (though the brandishing of the American flag front and center of the frame was a bit much...we know who it is). I can handle the American cuts of Godzilla films when they are done this well, so thumbs up for this version as well (thought he title is a bit dopey).

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Re: GODZILLA Movie Thread

#26 Post by Eric Paddon » Sat Sep 16, 2017 5:28 pm

Yeah, the title was silly and it had to with the fact that the first Mothra film had a different US distributor. I wonder how many went in thinking Godzilla was going to face a giant monster that looked like James Arness? :D

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