Godzilla: King of the Monsters (1956)Directed
- Ishirô Honda / US Sequences
- Terry O. Morse Screenplay
- Ishirô Honda & Takeo Murata / US Sequences
- Al C. WardStory
- Shigeru KayamaDirector of Special FX
- Sadamasa Arikawa Starring
Raymond Burr ... Steve Martin
Takashi Shimura ... Dr. Kyohei Yamane
Akira Takarada ... Hideto Ogata
Momoko Kôchi ... Emiko Yamane
Akihiko Hirata ... Dr. Daisuke SerizawaThe plot:
The bulk of the plot is nearly identical, though abridged, to the Japanese original
with the events being watched third party style by American actor Raymond Burr as reporter Steve Martin.
The majority of the story takes place in a flash back while Martin is recuperating in a hospital following the big attack by Godzilla. My thoughts:
I will give some major credit to the team who took the effort in weaving Burr into the original film. The scenes where done with astonishing creativity. For the most part he is supposedly "just out of camera" as it were and watching the events and meetings which gives an almost voyeuristic quality to watching this film. When it is necessary to have him interact with the Japanese characters it is done so with stand-ins whose faces are never clearly seen and their voices dubbed in. The original Japanese dialog is left intact whenever possible. Mostly being translated (although at times poorly) through Martins interrupter, Tomo Iwanaga (Frank Iwanaga). When needed the voice actors are dubbed in and the dialog altered to fit the abbreviated story line. This is only done in scenes that could not have Martin worked into the room.
Much of the anti-atomic message is lost in this version. Mentioned as the cause but seldom brought up after that which makes the motivation of some of the characters, particularly Dr. Yamane, seem a bit selfish and shallow.
A love triangle is created or focused on between Emiko, Ogata and Serizawa. It was front and center in this version but if it existed in the original, I must have turned away when it was brought up.
This version maintains the impressive rampage by Godzilla but lacks most everything else. While watching 'Gojira' one gets the sense of watching a piece of art, watching this version just feels like watching a movie.