Godzilla Raids Again
|Godzilla Raids Again|
|Directed by||Motoyoshi Oda|
|Produced by||Tomoyuki Tanaka|
|Written by||Shigeaki Hidaka
|Music by||Masaru Satō|
|Edited by||Kazuji Taira|
|81 minutes (Japan)
79 minutes (USA)
Godzilla Raids Again (ゴジラの逆襲 lit. "Counterattack of Godzilla"?, also known as Gigantis, the Fire Monster) is a 1955 Japanese science-fiction kaiju film featuring Godzilla, produced by and distributed by Toho. It is the second film in the Godzilla franchise and Showa series, and introduced the "monster vs. monster" concept that the franchise would adopt for the rest of the films.
An English dubbed version, titled Gigantis, the Fire Monster, was heavily re-edited and released theatrically in the United States by Warner Brothers in 1959 on a double bill with Teenagers from Outer Space (or with Rodan in some areas). This version features heavy alterations from the Japanese original. The English dub was later retitled Godzilla Raids Again (at Toho's request) for home video in the early 1980s and continues to be marketed in English-speaking markets as such, but in the 1960s and 1970s it was always shown on U.S. television as Gigantis the Fire Monster.
Two pilots named Shoichi Tsukioka and Koji Kobayashi are hunting for schools of fish for a tuna cannery company in Osaka. Kobayashi's plane malfunctions and is forced to land near Iwato Island, an uninhabited strip of rocks formed by volcanic eruptions. Tsukioka then looks for Kobayashi and finds him safe, with only a wrist sprain. While talking, the two men hear some strange sounds and find two monsters fighting. Tsukioka immediately recognizes one of the monsters to be Godzilla. The two monsters then fall off a cliff, into the ocean.
Tsukioka and Kobayashi report to the authorities in Osaka, and find out that the other monster Godzilla was fighting is Anguirus. A group of scientists with the two pilots research Anguirus in a book written by a Polish scientist. Godzilla and Anguirus lived around the same time millions of years ago, and there was an intense rivalry between the two monsters.
Archaeologist Kyohei Yamane, who experienced Godzilla's attack in 1954, is also present at the meeting, and shows a film (composed of clips from the 1954 film) of the original Godzilla attacking Tokyo. He confirms that this Godzilla is a second member of the same species, and that it and Anguirus were probably brought back to life by the same hydrogen bomb tests that awoke the original Godzilla. Yamane states that there is no way to kill Godzilla, and that Daisuke Serizawa, the inventor of the Oxygen Destroyer, had died and burned the formula. Yamane, though, suggests that the military should use flares on Godzilla to attract the monster away from the shore as Godzilla becomes angry when it sees lights because the hydrogen bomb's bright explosion had awakened and mutated it.
Godzilla arrives on the shore of Osaka. While a blackout of all city lights is enforced, JASDF jets are sent to shoot flares from their planes to lead Godzilla away from the shore. Godzilla sees the flames, and, as Yamane predicted, starts to leave.
Meanwhile, a prison truck transports dangerous criminals to another part of the country. All of the criminals, using body language, convey to each other that the cover of darkness caused by the city's blackout provides a great opportunity to escape from prison. The prisoners beat up the two policemen guarding them inside the truck, and run away. A few of them find a gasoline truck, and use it to escape. The truck crashes into an industrial building and starts a massive fire.
The fire, much brighter than the planes' flares, attracts Godzilla back to the shore of Osaka. A few minutes later, Anguirus swims to shore and attacks Godzilla. The two creatures fight an intense battle, while destroying several buildings, including the tuna cannery that Tsukioka and Kobayashi work for. In the course of the battle, the criminals are drowned in the subway when it is flooded by the thrashing of the two monsters. Godzilla finally bites Anguirus's neck, and throws it upside down into a moat near Osaka Castle. Godzilla then fires its atomic ray at Anguirus, burning it to death in the ruins of the famed castle.
Kobayashi is transferred to a Hokkaido plant. During a company party, Tsukioka and Hidemi, who came to visit, and Kobayashi are notified that Godzilla destroyed one of the company fishing boats. The military and Tsukioka begin a massive search for Godzilla. Tsukioka spots Godzilla swimming to the shore of a small, icy island. He notifies the cannery, and Kobayashi takes off in his plane to switch shifts with Tsukioka.
Kobayashi dives his plane towards Godzilla to distract it from walking back into the ocean. Tsukioka, who has transferred to the air force, travels on a jet with an old friend. They drop bombs on Godzilla but are unsuccessful. Godzilla then wades towards shore. Kobayashi dives towards Godzilla again but Godzilla fires its atomic ray on Kobayashi's plane. The plane then crashes on an icy mountain, killing Kobayashi.
Tsukioka is devastated but realizes that the military can shoot missiles at the mountain, and bury Godzilla in an avalanche, thereby freezing it to death. The jets fire their missiles, and bury Godzilla in snow and ice up to its midsection.
The jets return to base to reload, and Tsukioka is authorized to fly in his own jet. The jets return to the icy island, only to find that Godzilla is digging its way out of the previous avalanche. They fire a fresh round of missiles at the mountain, triggering a new avalanche, burying Godzilla up to its neck. Tsukioka then fires his own missiles, burying Godzilla completely, thereby finishing the job. The men return home and receive the homage of a grateful nation, and Tsukioka and the woman he loves are at last able to go forward with their lives in peace.
- Hiroshi Koizumi as Shoichi Tsukyoka
- Setsuko Wakayama as Hidemi Yamaji
- Minoru Chiaki as Koji Kobayashi
- Takashi Shimura as Dr. Kyohei Yamane
- Yakio Kasama as Mr. Yamji
- Sonosuke Sawamura as Shibeki
- Masao Shimizu as Dr. Tadokoro
- Mayuri Mokusho
- Yoshio Tsuchiya
- Minosuke Yamada
- Takeo Oikawa
- Seijior Onda
- Ren Yamamoto
- Senkichi Omura
- Junpei Natsuki
- Haruo Nakajima as Godzilla
- Katsumi Tezuka as Anguirus
- Takeo Kita as Art Director
- Seiichi Endo as Director of Photography
- Masanobu Miyoshi as Sound Credit
- Masaru Sato as Music Credit
- Eiji Tsuburaya as Director of Special Effects
- Akira Watanabe as Special Effects Art Director
English-Language Version ("Gigantis"):
- Marvin Miller as Narrator of Gigantis, the Fire Monster
- Hugo Grimaldi as Film Editor and Dubbing Director
- Rex Lipton as Music Supervisor
- Alvin Sarno as Sound Effects Supervisor
The North American rights to the film were purchased by Harry Rybnick, Richard Kay, Edward Barison, Paul Schreibman, and Edmund Goldman, the same producers who acquired the rights to Godzilla and released it as Godzilla, King of the Monsters!. Instead of dubbing the film, the producers first planned to produce a new film titled The Volcano Monsters, while utilizing the effects footage from the original Japanese film. Rybnick hired Ib Melchior and Edwin Watson to write the screenplay. Toho approved of the idea and shipped suits for Godzilla and Anguirus to Hollywood so the filmmakers could shoot additional scenes. Rybnick and Barison initially struck a deal with AB-PT Pictures Corp. to co-finance the film but the company closed shop in 1957. Interestingly, Melchior used several elements from the screenplay for another project; the Danish giant monster film Reptilicus.
Schreibman, Goldman, and then-new financier Newton P. Jacobs decided to dub the film instead. Hugo Grimaldi was hired to oversee the dubbing and editing of the film. Masaru Sato's original music was replaced (except for a couple of tracks) with public domain stock music and Godzilla's roar was replaced with Anguirus' roar. This version had the working title of Godzilla Raids Again, but the film was released in May 1959 as Gigantis, The Fire Monster on a double-bill with Teenagers From Outer Space. Schreibman took full credit for changing Godzilla's name to Gigantis, which was an attempt to convince audiences that "Gigantis" was a brand new monster, stating, "We called it 'Gigantis' because we didn't want it to be confused with 'Godzilla' [who had clearly been killed irreparably by the oxygenator]." At one point, Schreibman inaccurately told reporters that the original Japanese film was called Angirus. This act of changing Godzilla's name and roar was noted by the developing legion of American fans, but contemporary publications and articles made in the following years did not acknowledge its existence as a sequel. The film was dubbed at Ryder Sound Services in New York and featured the voice talents of Keye Luke, Paul Frees, and George Takei.
Prior to the film's release, Schreibman approached Bill Foreman (then-President of Pacific Theaters) and convinced him to purchase the theatrical and TV rights to both Gigantis and Teenagers from Outer Space and helped Foreman sell the theatrical rights to Warner Bros. According to the deal, Foreman agreed to show both films in all of his theaters while Warner Bros. would distribute the films to other theaters and were given the U.S. and Latin America theatrical rights to both films for four years. After the film reverted to Foreman and his attorney Harry B. Swerdlow (who became designated owner of both films because Foreman did not want his name to appear on the copyright notices), they did not pursue any interest in continue selling the TV rights, which resulted in Gigantis, The Fire Monster disappearing from U.S. theaters and TV for two decades until the rights reverted to Toho in the mid-1980s and released the film to U.S. home video and TV, retitled Godzilla Raids Again.
The following alterations were done to the film:
- A prologue, in which a story of the atomic bomb and "mechanical monsters" was added.
- Stock footage from educational films and earlier U.S. films such as Unknown Island which featured dinosaurs were inserted before the scenes from the first Godzilla film are shown.
- One infamous dubbed line in the U.S. release used the slang term "banana oil." George Takei has noted that "banana oil" was the only English word that matched the lip movement of the original Japanese word, bakana, loosely meaning "silly" or "stupid."
- Godzilla's roar was altered at times to sound like Anguirus' roar.
- Tragic hero Kobayashi, played by Minoru Chiaki in his only science fiction role, was dubbed as a bumbling oaf.
- An entire subplot, which had Kobayashi looking for his future wife through a matchmaker, was all but removed. All that remains of this subplot is the final conclusion where Hidemi discovers a picture of a young woman in Kobayashi's wallet. The change reduced the subplot to little more than the disclosure of a secret crush.
- Masaru Sato's music score was mostly replaced with stock music from films like Kronos, Project Moonbase and The Deerslayer (tracks from this film were also used in the American version of King Kong vs. Godzilla).
Home media releases
On November 7, 2006, Classic Media released both the Japanese and English versions, as Godzilla Raids Again, on DVD. Prior to this release, the film had been unavailable on North American home video since Video Treasures' VHS release in 1989. A notable difference between the original Gigantis and the U.S. version featured on this DVD, is the fact the Gigantis title card has been replaced with the newer Godzilla Raids Again one, by request of Toho. In 2008 Toho Video released its dual language (English re-dubbed, or Japanese with English Subtitles) DVD version under the Japanese translation title of Godzilla's Counterattack.
Classic Media (R1) America – DVD
- Picture Format: 1.33:1 (Non-Anamorphic) [NTSC]
- Soundtrack(s): Japanese and English (Dolby Digital 2.0 mono)
- Subtitles: English (Optional)
- Audio Commentary: Steve Ryfie and Friends (on English version only)
- The Art of Suit Acting Featurette (14:19)
- Poster Slide Show
- Case type: 1-Disc Digi-Pack
- Notes: Contains both the original Japanese [1:21:36] and U.S. reedited English dubbed [1:18:08] versions.
- Lees, J.D.; Cerasini, Marc (1998). The Official Godzilla Compendium. Random House. ISBN 0-679-88822-5.
- Ragone, August (2007, 2014). Eiji Tsuburaya: Master of Monsters San Francisco: Chronicle Books. ISBN 978-0-8118-6078-9.
- Ryfle, Steve (1998). Japan’s Favorite Mon-Star: The Unauthorized Biography of the Big G. ECW Press. ISBN 1550223488.
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