It was 57 years ago today, that the world was introduced to a radioactive, fire breathing, reptilian engine of destruction in GOJIRA (1954). It was the start of an amazing, near-unparalleled film franchise, spawning 28 sequels, comics, toys, cartoons and an American-produced ‘remake’ in 1998. Directed by Ishiro Honda, Gojira is considered to be one of the finest films ever made in Japan, often mentioned alongside Kurosawa’s SEVEN SAMURAI. First introduced to American audiences in 1956’s re-edited version, GODZILLA – KING OF THE MONSTERS, the film lost most of it’s ‘anti a-bomb’ morality and all but obliterated the love triangle sub-plot, that helped flesh out the central human characters so well. Added scenes with Raymond Burr as reporter Steve Martin (yes, REALLY) replaced much of these scenes and ideas. He’s fought 3 headed space-dragons, giant moths, robots, living sludge, alien versions of himself, alien invaders and Japan’s defense forces. And we still watch him. Godzilla (as we call him here in the USA) even has his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In early January, the film will be getting the distinguished Criterion Collection treatment, including renovation and re-mastering with a high definition release, alongside a newly printed version of GKOTM made from a fine-grain print. A fine-grain print is struck from the original negative intended for making new negatives. I for one, am looking forward to it.
So happy birthday, Big G. You look damn good for your age!