Cinema Slueth –  Godzilla, King of the Monsters!

For review of all TV Shows / Movies in which the cast of Perry Mason TV Show (aired from 1957-1966) with Raymond Burr as Perry Mason acted in , go here.

Stars: 4 / 5

Recommendation: Despite inferior to the Japanese original version, Raymond Burr made it one of the greatest monster American movies of the 1950s.

Here is the next movie in the series that has one the main casts from the 1950s and 1960s American television legal drama series Perry Mason, one of my favorite shows. We have Raymond Burr this time as a newspaper reporter.

Godzilla, King of the Monsters! is a 1956 Kaiju, Japanese media genre involving giant monsters, Directed by Terry O. Morse and Ishirō Honda. The film was primarily Produced by Tomoyuki Tanaka with uncredited production by Richard Kay, Harold Ross and Edward B. Barison.

The film has Raymond Burr, Takashi Shimura, Momoko Kōchi, Akira Takarada and Akihiko Hirata in the lead cast. The Godzilla was portrayed by Haruo Nakajima and Katsumi Tezuka. The film focuses on an American reporter, Steve Martin (portrayed by Raymond Burr) who comes to Odo Island in Japan to investigate ship disasters and the legend of a sea monster called Godzilla causing the disasters.

I watched this movie solely for the purpose of Raymond Burr as I love him in his Perry Mason series. However, the film opened to me many facts and rich history of the Godzilla franchisee of movies; and made me understand why we still have these movies made. Case in point – the 2021 American monster film Godzilla vs. Kong.

This was heavily Americanized film although it was a Japanese-American co-production, and introduced Godzilla to the world, the Japanese monster called as Gojira. The original footage from the 1954 Godzilla (Gojira) produced by Toho Co., Ltd was used in this co-produced movie by Jewel Enterprises, Inc. All the scenes with Raymond Burr were filmed later and added to the pieces taken from the 1954 version. The film was dubbed for the roles performed by Japanese star cast. It had received critical positive response and earned a profit to the production companies.

This movie set a stage for the future of tokusatsu filmmaking – Japanese live action film or TV drama filmmaking. It also started the entire Godzilla franchise of which movies are still made and will perhaps continue to be made. However no harm in watching the hunky Burr too. 😛 He narrates most of the film.

Turner Classics Movie (TCM) channel aired this and a series of other movies coinciding the release of the 2021 American monster film Godzilla vs. Kong. It was the American version of the film that was aired. Yes, its been close to a year this has been sitting in my DVR. Finally watching it and blogging about it. 😛

Despite some inconsistencies they did a splendid job in blending the American scenes which were shot in America two years later with Japanese scenes that were shot in Japan two years earlier.

We see the birth of Kaiju franchisee on the Japanese side and a Godzilla franchisee on the American side. Despite inferior to the Japanese original version, Raymond Burr made it one of the greatest monster American movies of the 1950s. Yet it’s a wonderful watch and a fantastic film.

Spoiler Alerts:

Movie Trivia:

  1. In 1977, Italian filmmaker Luigi Cozzi released to Italian theaters a further modified and colorized version of Godzilla, King of the Monsters, with a soundtrack that used a magnetic tape process similar to Sensurround.
  2. Notice an uncredited role by Kenji Sahara, Toho’s most prolific actor, in the film. He plays one of the singles on the harbor cruise ship. I couldn’t figure out which one was he in the ship scene. 😦
  3. This was the only film role for Toyoaki Suzuki who portrays the role of Shinkichi.
  4. This was the last film for both Frank Iwanaga, who played Security Officer Tomo, and Mikel Conrad, who played Steve Martin’s editor George Lawrence. (Mikel is holding phone, and I think this is Frank in the black cap in the picture).

5. Since original 1954 version film’s scenes were used for most part, we see a few scenes repeated more than once. And also we see errors in some of the scenes where it should have come later, but comes earlier in the American version. And some of the scenes picturization look odd when the scenes shot for American release are combined with the original Japanese release.

Grammatical / Historical / Location / Character Errors:

  1. In the beginning of the film, Steve Martin comes out of the rubble and check for pulse on the person next to him. However towards the end in the flashback we see that when Martin was being crushed by the falling building there was no one with him in that room.
  2. In the court when Dr. Yamane is giving some information based on his scientific expertise about the Godzilla, the person who dubbed for him pronounces the word “phenomenon” wrongly as “phenonemon” at least two times.
  3. Steve is calling his editor from Tokyo to New York. However their backdrops are very similar indicating that the same set was used for both scenes.

4. In his deposition upon returning from Odo Island, Dr. Yamani – supposedly Japan’s foremost paleontologist – says that the Jurassic Age was “two million years ago,” rather than the 144 million it actually was.

5. Interesting to see that only Steve Martin, one sole American reporter is seen interested in a monster that would destroy the world. There isn’t a single foreign news correspondent there.

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