I’ve never said it on my site before but there is always a first time… “MAN IN SUIT MAIN IN SUIT!”
I am so overwhelming excited about the UNCUT version of Godzilla’s release that I have to yell it again… “MAN IN SUIT MAIN IN SUIT!”
If anyone in the area is interested it’ll be in NYC from 5/7 until 5/20. That’s it. No more, no more, no more. Oh what the hell… “MAN IN SUIT MAIN IN SUIT!”
WITH 40 MINUTES OF NEVER-BEFORE-SEEN FOOTAGE!
NEW 35mm PRINT! NEW TRANSLATION & SUBTITLES!
(1954, Ishiro Honda) 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. Could it be…? 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. An enormous hit, it spawned 50 years of sequels, countless rip-offs, and a new genre: the kaiju eiga, or Japanese monster movie. Sold to an American distributor two years later, it was re-cut, re-arranged and atrociously dubbed, with added scenes (shot in Hollywood) of a pre-Perry Mason Raymond Burr observing the action from the sidelines. The re-titled Godzilla: King of the Monsters! still became America?s idea of a classic Japanese movie ? and of cheesy movie-making.
But the original Japanese GODZILLA is one of the great films by a sci-fi master, Ishiro Honda (Akira Kurosawa?s close friend and occasional second unit director). The U.S. cut ran 20 minutes shorter, with another 20 snipped to make room for Burr, so that nearly a third (about 40 minutes) was shorn. The unrelentingly grim American version excised all of the film?s comic relief (including some astonishing Strangelove-like black humor) and censored its strong anti-H-Bomb message, turning it into a run-of-the-mill monster-on-the-loose picture.
In Japan, the original un-bastardized GODZILLA is regarded as one of the great classics of the cinema. 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.
The real (human) star of the movie is Takashi Shimura (best known for his Kurosawa roles, including the leader of The Seven Samurai and the doomed man of Ikiru), as a revered paleontologist who insists that Godzilla must be studied, not destroyed (he?s in the minority). This first Godzilla is truly terrifying ? a 30-story Jurassic behemoth intent on destroying an exquisitely detailed miniature Tokyo ? a tour de force by special effects genius Eiji Tsubaraya. Tsubaraya?s use of ?suitmation? ? the often-belittled ?actor in monster suit? method ? was due to time and budget restraints, but, in concert with noirish cinematography, his low-tech approach is still as thrilling as ever. This print also features new subtitles by Bruce Goldstein and Michie Yamakawa.