This week's article is a very special one. Our first ever Patreon requested article, submitted and suggested by none other than my fellow contributor and friend Cendoo. Cendoo's official request was to review anything remotely associated with the Godzilla franchise, so I felt that looking at the original 1954 Godzilla film was as good a place as any to start.
The original Godzilla has achieved an almost legendary status in the annals of cinematic history. Following Japan's defeat in World War 2, Japanese media was heavily regulated by the occupying American military. This censorship tended to avoid any mention of the world wars or nuclear weapons for fear of growing Japanese resentment to the occupation.
When the American censorship relaxed in the mid 1950s, Japan was finally allowed to deal with the trauma and fear that resulted from World War 2 and the legacy of being the only nation in the world to have a nuclear weapon dropped on their population during wartime. At the same time, Japanese fishing trawler's were getting caught up in American and French nuclear testing in the Pacific, resulting in several diplomatic incidents.
All this led to an era of nuclear awareness in Japanese cinema that Godzilla fully played into. The film was a monumental success that launched one the longest running film franchise in cinema history, set the standard for the kaiju film, and established many of the ongoing expectations of the kaiju and science fiction genre; with an "Americanized" version being released in 1956 that altered the tone of the film tremendously.
While I grew up watching the "Americanized" version and even own a copy, I will be focusing today's article on the original Japanese film, touching upon the American verison only when the need for comparison arises. I want to once again thank Cendoo for supporting my articles through Patreon.
- Directed by Ishirō Honda
- Produced by Toho Studios
- MPAA Rating: G
- Running Time: 96 Minutes