Godzilla Raids Again
|Godzilla Raids Again|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Motoyoshi Oda|
|Produced by||Tomoyuki Tanaka|
|Story by||Shigeru Kayama|
|Music by||Masaru Satō|
Godzilla Raids Again (ゴジラの逆襲 lit. "Godzilla's Counterattack") is a 1955 Japanese science fiction kaiju film featuring Godzilla, produced and distributed by Toho. It is the second film in the Godzilla franchise and Shōwa series. The film is directed by Motoyoshi Oda and stars Hiroshi Koizumi, Setsuko Wakayama, Minoru Chiaki, and Takashi Shimura, with Haruo Nakajima as Godzilla and Katsumi Tezuka as Anguirus.
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). The English dub was later retitled Godzilla Raids Again. Godzilla Raids Again was released in Japan on April 24, 1955.
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 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 Tsukioka
- Setsuko Wakayama as Hidemi Yamaji - Koehi's Daughter
- Minoru Chiaki as Koji Kobayashi
- Takashi Shimura as Dr. Kyohei Yamane-hakase
- Masao Shimizu as Zoologist Dr. Tadokoro
- Seijirô Onda as Captain Terasawa of Osaka Defense Corps
- Sônosuke Sawamura as Hokkaido Branch Manager Shingo Shibeki
- Yoshio Tsuchiya as Tajima, Member of Osaka Defense Corps
- Mayuri Mokushô as Radio Operator Yasuko Inouye
- Minosuke Yamada as Chief of Civil Defense
- Yukio Kasama as Koehi Yamaji, President of the Fishery
- Senkichi Ômura as Small Escaped Convict
- Ren Yamamoto as Commander of Landing Craft
- Shin Ôtomo as Convict Leader
- Haruo Nakajima as Godzilla
- Katsumi Tezuka as Anguirus
Godzilla Raids Again was distributed theatrically in Japan by Toho on April 24, 1955. The original Japanese version of the film was released to Japanese speaking theaters in the United States prior to its dubbed release as Godzilla Raids Again. 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 utilising 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.
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. 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 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.
Home media releases
On November 7, 2006, Classic Media, along with the distributor, Sony BMG Home Entertainment 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.
- 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. re-edited English dubbed [1:18:08] versions.
In Mid-late 2017, the Criterion Collection acquired the rights to several Showa era Godzilla films, including Godzilla Raids Again to be released on DVD and Blu-ray digitally remastered and restored in HD, though an exact release date is currently unknown at this time.
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