Godzilla Raids Again
|Godzilla Raids Again|
|Directed by||Motoyoshi Oda|
|Produced by||Tomoyuki Tanaka|
|Story by||Shigeru Kayama|
|Music by||Masaru Satō|
|Box office||¥170 million (Japan)|
Godzilla Raids Again (ゴジラの逆襲, Gojira no gyakushū lit. "Godzilla's Counterattack") is a 1955 Japanese kaiju film directed by Motoyoshi Oda, with special effects by Eiji Tsuburaya. Produced and distributed by Toho Studios, it is the second film in the Godzilla franchise. The film stars Hiroshi Koizumi, Setsuko Wakayama, Minoru Chiaki, and Takashi Shimura, with Haruo Nakajima as Godzilla and Katsumi Tezuka as Anguirus. In the film, Japan struggles to survive Godzilla's return, as well as its destructive battle against its ancient foe Anguirus.
Executive producer Iawo Mori instructed producer Tomoyuki Tanaka to immediately commence production on a second Godzilla film, fearing to lose the momentum of the first film's success. Oda was chosen to direct the film as Ishirō Honda was busy directing Love Makeup.
Godzilla Raids Again was released theatrically in Japan on April 24, 1955. A heavily edited version was released theatrically in the United States on June 2, 1959 by Warner Bros. Pictures, under the title Gigantis, the Fire Monster. The film was followed by King Kong vs. Godzilla, released on August 11, 1962.
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. Tsukioka lands to pickup Kobayashi and the two encounter Godzilla and a quadruped monster, who fall off a cliff into the ocean. Tsukioka and Kobayashi report to the authorities in Osaka, and find out that the quadruped is an ankylosaurus called Anguirus, whose species had an ancient rivalry with Godzilla's species. Dr. Kyohei Yamane, who experienced Godzilla's attack in 1954, confirms that this Godzilla is a second member of the same species, and that both monsters were likely reanimated by hydrogen bomb tests. With conventional weapons unable to kill Godzilla, Dr. Yamane suggests using flares to lure Godzilla away.
Godzilla arrives on the shore of Osaka. While a blackout of all city lights is enforced, JASDF jets use flares to lead Godzilla away from the shore. Godzilla pursues the flares, leaving the shore. Meanwhile, a prison truck transports criminals to another part of the country. The convicts hijack the truck and after a lengthy chase with the police, the truck crashes into an industrial building and starts a massive fire. The fire attracts Godzilla back to the shore. Moments later, Anguirus emerges and attacks Godzilla. As the monsters battle, the convicts attempt to escape but drown when the subway is flooded. Godzilla kills Anguirus and returns to the ocean.
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. 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 is killed while trying to distract Godzilla from returning to the ocean. Tsukioka is devastated but realizes that the military can shoot missiles at the mountain, and bury Godzilla in an avalanche. The jets fire missiles, and bury Godzilla in snow and ice.
- Hiroshi Koizumi as Shoichi Tsukioka
- Setsuko Wakayama as Hidemi Yamaji
- Minoru Chiaki as Koji Kobayashi
- Takashi Shimura as Dr. Kyohei Yamane
- Masao Shimizu as Zoologist Dr. Tadokoro
- Seijirô Onda as Captain Terasawa, JASDF
- Sônosuke Sawamura as Hokkaido Branch Manager Shingo Shibeki
- Yoshio Tsuchiya as Tajima, JASDF
- Mayuri Mokushô as Radio Operator Yasuko Inouye
- Minosuke Yamada as Chief of Civil Defense
- Yukio Kasama as Kohei Yamaji, President of the Fishery
- Senkichi Ômura as Escaped Convict
- Ren Yamamoto as Commander of Landing Craft
- Shin Ôtomo as Convict Leader
- Haruo Nakajima as Godzilla
- Katsumi Tezuka as Anguirus
- Motoyoshi Oda – director
- Eiji Tsuburaya – special effects director
- Eiji Iwashiro – assistant director
- Kazuo Baba – production coordinator
- Takeo Kita – art director
- Teruaki Abe – art director
- Sadamasa Arikawa – special effects photography
- Akira Watanabe – special effects art director
- Kiroshi Mukoyama – optical effects
- Masayoshi Onuma – lighting
- Masanobu Miyazawa – sound recording
- Ichiro Mitsunawa – sound effects
A few weeks after the release of Godzilla in November 1954, a welcome home party was held for executive producer Iwao Mori. During the party, Mori instructed producer Tomoyuki Tanaka to produce a sequel, due to Mori being pleased with the box office results for the first film. Ishirō Honda was unavailable to return to direct the sequel due to directing Love Makeup at the time. Japanese publications indicated that Tanaka attached Motoyoshi Oda to direct the film, rather than waiting for Honda, due to Mori fearing to lose the momentum of the first Godzilla film's success. Screenwriter Takeo Murata originally wanted to show a scene of chaos and looting in the middle of the monster battle, but time and budget limitations forced him to drop this idea. The Dinosaur Book by Edwin H. Colbert was used during the film's conference scene.
The film's special effects were directed by Eiji Tsuburaya. Some of the effects footage was shot at a slower speed, 18 frames per second. Three cameras were set to capture the effects footage. Two cameras were set at high speed, while the third was indirectly left at slow speed. Despite the error, Tsuburaya felt the slow speed footage was usable and since then, used different camera speeds for different scenes. Some Japanese publications identified Yoichi Manoda as the cameraman who accidentally left the third camera on slow speed, while others identified Koichi Takano as the culprit.
Haruo Nakajima portrayed Godzilla and Katsumi Tezuka portrayed Anguirus, respectively. Nakajima and Tezuka were able to move in the suits more fluidly due to the suits being made from lighter materials, as well as casting them from plaster molds to fit the suit performers' physiques. For Godzilla, the new design was sculpted by Teizo Toshimitsu. The Godzilla suit was constructed with a cloth-base where latex was applied over it. A motor was built into the head to move the eyes and mouth, with the batteries built at the base of the tail. Due to this, Nakajima felt discomfort each time he jumped in the suit. For Anguirus, Tezuka had to crawl on his knees with the bottom of his feet exposed. The effects crew hid this by placing trees, buildings, and other obstacles in the foreground and filming from certain angles that hid the hind legs.
Hand puppets were built for close-up shots. The Godzilla puppet had a spray built in to depict the atomic breath. Some of the monster battles were photographed from low angles to emphasize size and scale. The Osaka miniature set was constructed at Toho's then-new soundstage No. 8, which allowed the effects crew more space to work in. The Osaka castle miniature failed to crumble as planned. Wires were attached to the castle that ran beneath the platform. Due to heavy construction, the model failed to collapse even when the suit performers rammed into it as the crew members pulled the wires. Tsuburaya ordered to "cut" but the crew members did not hear him and the castle model collapsed when camera weren't rolling. Due to this, the model had to be partially rebuilt. The ice island battle was partially filmed on an outdoor set. To bury Godzilla in ice, an ice machine was borrowed from the Tokyo skating rink.
For the opening scene, Nakajima and Tezuka were required to be in the suits as they plummeted into the water in order to avoid having the suits float upon impact. Several handlers were on-set to prevent Nakajima and Tezuka from drowning. A Godzilla prop equipped with a wind up motor was built to walk during the ice island scenes, however, the prop malfunctioned and was filmed in a stationary position instead. Real snow was added for the ice island set. Several shots of Godzilla reacting to the ice canyon explosions were filmed outdoors in order to avoid filming the roof of the studio set.
Godzilla Raids Again was distributed theatrically in Japan by Toho on April 24, 1955. The film generated 8.3 million tickets, less than what the first Godzilla film drew but still considered moderate business. The film drew little enthusiasm from audiences, the press, and Toho staff. Years later, Tanaka admitted that the crew had little time to prepare and hardly considers the film a success. The Japanese version was released to Japanese speaking theaters in the United States prior to the altered American version. The film was Toho's fourth highest-grossing film of the year domestically, and the 10th highest grossing Japanese release domestically.
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.
Melchior and Watson spent hours watching the Japanese version on a Moviola to build an American story around the footage and to note down footage of the monsters, military mobilization, crowds fleeing, and jets flying and attacking. The duo completed a 129 paged script, dated May 7, 1957, with instructions for the editor of where the Japanese footage was to be used. In their script, Godzilla and Anguirus were changed to dinosaurs, with Godzilla identified as a female Tyrannosaurus. All shots of Godzilla using his atomic breath were eliminated, to be replaced with new footage of Godzilla swiping his claws at jets. Panic, disaster, and military mobilization scenes from news reels were to be included between the Japanese monster footage. The blackout was re-written to signify that the monsters destroyed a power plant. The new effects footage was to be shot as Howard A. Anderson's special effects studio. 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.
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 stock music from various libraries, including the MUTEL library, as well as music from films such as Kronos (1957), Project Moonbase (1958) and The Deerslayer (1957). Godzilla's roar was largely 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.
The film was dubbed at Ryder Sound Services in New York and featured the voice talents of Keye Luke, Paul Frees, and George Takei. The English dialogue was based on a loose interpretation, rather than an accurate translation, of the original Japanese dialogue. Credit for the English dialogue script had not been revealed since the release of the film. According to Takei, the word "banana oil" was created by the dub's director due to having difficulty finding a word to match the lip movement of the original Japanese word "bakayaro". Takei stated that people laughed during the recording due to the word being an outdated expression. The English version utilizes stock footage from various films, such as Unknown Island and the first Godzilla film, as well as news reels, military footage, the space program, and educational films.
Prior to the film's release, Schreibman approached Bill Foreman (then-President of Pacific Theaters) and convinced him to purchase the theatrical and television 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 theatres while Warner Bros. would distribute the films to other theatres and were given the American and Latin American theatrical rights to both films for four years. The American version of the film was released theatrically on May 21, 1959 where it played as a double feature with Teenagers from Outer Space.
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 continuing to sell the television rights, which resulted in Gigantis the Fire Monster disappearing from American theatres and television for two decades until the rights reverted to Toho in the mid-1980s.
Ishirō Honda (director of Godzilla) noted that reviews for Godzilla Raids Again were more positive compared to the previous film, stating that it was considered "stupid" by the media for a director to add "ideas or themes" into a science fiction film, he commented, "That's why I think that the first Godzilla was only considered a 'weird' movie. That's probably why they liked the second movie much better."
Steve Ryfle (author of Japan’s Favorite Mon-Star: The Unauthorized Biography of the Big G) noted that some writers felt that while Godzilla (1954) was a metaphor for the Hiroshima bombing, Godzilla Raids Again serves as metaphor for the Nagasaki bombing. Ryfle noted the scene of Hidemi gazing at the flames of Osaka strikes parallels with the imagery of a mushroom cloud.
In 1982, the Japanese version was released on VHS in Japan by Toho. In 1986, Toho released the film on LaserDisc. In 1991, Toho reissued the film on VHS. In 1993, Toho released a new master of the film on LaserDisc. In 2001, Toho released the film on DVD. In 2005, Toho included the film on the Godzilla Final Box DVD Set. In 2014, Toho released the film on Blu-ray.
In 1989, Video Treasures released the American version on EP and LP VHS in North America. In 2007, Classic Media and Sony BMG Home Entertainment released both the Japanese and American versions on DVD in North America. The special features included an audio commentary by Steve Ryfle (author of Japan’s Favorite Mon-Star: The Unauthorized Biography of the Big G), a featurette titled The Art of Suit Acting by Ed Godziszewski and Bill Gudmundson, and a slideshow of the film's theatrical posters. Per Toho's request, the original title card for Gigantis, the Fire Monster was replaced with a new title card sporting the film's official English title. In 2019, the Japanese version was included as part of a Blu-ray box set released by the Criterion Collection, which included all 15 films from the franchise's Shōwa era.
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