Gorath

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Gorath
Gorath 1962.jpg
original Japanese poster
Directed by Ishirō Honda
Produced by Tomoyuki Tanaka
Written by Jojiro Okami (story)
Takeshi Kimura
Starring Ryo Ikebe
Yumi Shirakawa
Takashi Shimura
Akira Kubo
Kumi Mizuno
Ken Uehara
Paul Frees (USA)
William Eidleson (USA)
Virginia Craig (USA)
Music by Kan Ishii
Cinematography Hajime Koizumi
Edited by Reiko Kaneko
Production
  company
Toho Studios
Distributed by Toho
Brenco Pictures (U.S.)
Allied Artists (U.S.)
Heritage Enterprises (U.S. TV release)
Release date(s)
  • March 21, 1962 (1962-03-21) (Japan)
Running time 89 minutes
Country Japan
Language Japanese
English

Gorath, released in Japan as Calamity Star Gorath (妖星ゴラス Yosei Gorasu?), is a Japanese science fiction tokusatsu film produced by Toho in 1962. The story for Gorath was by Jojiro Okami.

Plot[edit]

The year is 1980, and the film opens with the launch of the JX-1 Hayabusa spaceship into outer space. The ship, originally sent to collect data on Saturn, has its course diverted to investigate the mysterious star Gorath, reported as being 6000 times the size of the Earth. It is feared that the star's path could come dangerously close to Earth. The JX-1 reaches locates Gorath and it's much smaller than earth but with 6000 times the gravity. The JX-1 radio's back any data about the star but gets sucked into the star's gravitational field which drags the ship into Gorath, incinerating it.

Japan and the rest of the world are stunned by the discovery and, after some reluctance, send up the JX-2 Ootori spaceship for a voyage to investigate Gorath. The United Nations band together to discover a solution to the problem, and decide that their only solutions are to either destroy Gorath or move the planet out of the way.

Back on Earth, the UN decides on the plan to move the Earth out of the way of Gorath, the South Pole Operation. The plan is to have atomic energy channeled through huge atomic furnaces 500 meters below the surface, then fed though enormous pipes called thrusters which will all fire in unison. But for this to work they will need an area 600 kilometers producing an atomic force equal to that of 6,600,000,000 megatons to move the Earth 400,000 kilometers way from Gorath. This massive project meets some setbacks such as cave-ins, but presses on.

The JX-2 Ootari arrives near the vicinity of Gorath, though this time the spaceship brakes well out-of range of the star's gravitational pull. A mini-rocket is dispatched from the JX-2 to study Gorath. Meteors damage the engine, but it gets back to the JX-2 and return to earth.

The atomic engines are completed and fired up, moving the earth out of the way of Gorath. But the heat from the engines awakens and frees a giant monster walrus, called Maguma, that attacks the South Pole base. It is eventually killed by lasers from a VTOL jet. Gorath is now close enough to be seen by the naked eye. Clouds in the atmosphere react as they are drawn toward the star. The Moon, the Earth's lone satellite, is destroyed. Sea levels begin to rise causing a tsunami that reaches the outskirts of Tokyo. However, the operation of moving out of the way of Gorath's path is a success and the Earth is saved.

Maguma[edit]

Maguma is a fictional kaiju (giant monster) featured in the Japanese science fiction tokusatsu film Gorath, released by Toho in 1962. Based upon the walrus and named after subterranean molten rock (magma), the Maguma suit was designed by special effects director Eiji Tsuburaya, and worn by stuntman Haruo Nakajima, who frequently performed kaiju in Toho films of the era (including their most famous monster character, Godzilla). Maguma is the only monster in the film, the focus of which is a runaway collapsed star on a collision course with Earth.

As Gorath approaches, several enormous rocket boosters are constructed in Antarctica and other parts of the world to push Earth out of the runaway star's path. The heat from the rockets has an unexpected consequence: releasing Maguma from the polar ice. As the monster ravages the South Pole base, the plan to evade Gorath is imperiled. Maguma is ultimately killed by a laser.

The sequence featuring Maguma only makes up approximately six minutes of the finished film, but played a key role in the film's advertising. The character was a late addition, after insistence by producer Tomoyuki Tanaka, due to the box-office successes of Toho's kaiju eiga (monster movies) compared to its other mystery, horror, and science fiction offerings such The Mysterians and Battle in Outer Space.

Conversely, Maguma's role was completely removed from the U.S. release of the film. In Ultra Q, the suit would be reused to make Todola.

U.S. release[edit]

Brenco Pictures theatrical poster for the 1964 U.S release of Gorath.

The film was released in the US by Brenco Pictures. Most of the visual content was kept intact, but the six-minute sequence featuring the character Maguma was removed. The distributors found the character's appearance comical, even dubbing him "Wally the Walrus" (most likely inspired by Wally Walrus, an antagonist from the Woody Woodpecker cartoons popular at the time). As such, they removed the sequence for their cut of the film, and it has never been restored to the English-language edit, which was aired on television throughout the 1960s and '70s.

The English dubbing was done by Ryder Sound Services, and scripted by Star Trek writer John Meredyth Lucas.[1] Only four voice actors were used to dub the film. Besides the voices, the audio track was modified, including adding a sound effect for the meteor which was not in the original Japanese version.

Brenco Pictures re-released the film on a double-bill with The Human Vapor in 1968, but between the two releases never turned a profit on their investment in Gorath. The company closed in 1969 soon after the death of co-owner Edward L. Alperson on July 3 of that year. The film was purchased by Heritage Enterprises and distributed to U.S. television. Presumably, it was seen by more people on TV than by people who saw it between its two theatrical releases.

Cast[edit]

Production credits[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

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