Original title: Gojira
Directors: Honda, Ishiro
Cast: Takashi Shimura
Japan 1954 | Black & white | 96 mins | Sci-Fi
Avaliable on: 35mm, DVD
This legendary film is one of the great classics of cinema, from noted special effects director Ishiro Honda, a friend and collaborator of Akira Kurosawa. Made in 1954, Godzilla was Japan’s first foray into the big budget feature, costing ten times as much as the average Japanese movie and twice as much as the same studio’s Seven Samurai which was released the same year. Takashi Shimura stars as the revered palaeontologist who uncovers the horrible secret at the heart of the monster (Godzilla is a long dormant Jurassic beast awoken by the atom bomb). A fierce indictment of the atomic age, Godzilla was an enormous hit for the Toho film studio, creating a legendary monster that entered the lexicon of popular culture worldwide, spawning more than twenty sequels over fifty years, countless rip-offs, and a new genre: the kaiju eiga or Japanese monster movie. Still rated amongst the top twenty Japanese movies of all time, the original Godzilla is perhaps the definitive monster movie – both a bold metaphor for the atomic age and a thrilling tour de force of pioneering special effects.