The so-called “Americanized” version of the 1954 Japanese original is credited with introducing the enduring Godzilla franchise to the rest of the world. Director Ishiro Honda’s Japanese original was a powerful examination of a nation trying to come to terms with, and still horrified by, the power unleashed by the American atomic bombs that ended World War II. Godzilla is a fire-breathing, 400-foot tall prehistoric creature that storms out of his Pacific Ocean habitat after a series of hydrogen bomb tests and destroys Tokyo. American producers purchased the rights, believing that an English-language version would play better with American audiences (the Japanese original didn’t make it to the U.S. until 2004). Director Terry O. Morse shot new footage, with Raymond Burr (later of TV’s Perry Mason and Ironside) as a U.S. reporter who is injured covering the story. The scenes were inserted into the re-edited Japanese footage, and the Japanese dialogue was dubbed in English. The cheesy special effects were left intact. While not as powerful or poignant as the original, the Americanized version holds up as one of the better examples of cautionary 1950s sci-fi films.
Cartoons What’s Opera, Doc?, The Great Piggy Bank Robbery and Feed the Kitty open the show.Buy Tickets Online