Godzilla

Godzilla (1954)Original poster design // Daniel Huntley
Prints // buy

“Rarely has the open wound of widespread devastation been transposed to celluloid with greater visceral impact”
-Slant Magazine

“A masterpiece: even in its most generic elements, it’s never just a monster movie, but a fantastic depiction of how humans survive and struggle”
-Agony and Ecstasy

“A pioneering behemoth in the history of Japanese cinema, leaving giant footprints in its trail that many have followed but few have filled so impressively”
-Eye for Film

“A collective metaphor and a collective nightmare, a message film that says more than its message, that captures, with a horrified poetry, the terrors that stomped through the minds of people 50 years ago”
-San Francisco Chronicle

Ishiro Honda, Japan 1954, 93mins

Where: The Duke of Wellington, 119 Balls Pond Road, N1 4BL
When: Thursday 11th December 2014, 6:30pm (doors) / 8:00pm (start)
Tickets: £5 door, £4 advance via The Space Merchants
Event page: Join us on Facebook

Godzilla was Japan’s first foray into big budget sci-fi – costing ten times the budget of the average Japanese feature and twice as much as Seven Samurai – released the same year. The film created a monster that would enter the lexicon of popular culture, spawn fifty years of sequels and inspire a new genre: the kaiju eiga or Japanese monster movie.

Directed by Ishiro Honda, a friend of collaborator of Akira Kurosawa, and starring Takashi Shimura as the revered paleontologist who uncovers the horrible secret at the heart of the monster, the original Godzilla is a fierce indictment of the atomic age. Sold to an American distributor, the film was cut, dubbed into English, re-titled Godzilla: King of the Monsters! and new scenes were added starring Raymond Burr as an American reporter observing the monsters rampage from the sidelines. All trace of the anti-nuclear message was excised in the American version.

Now regarded as one of the great classics of cinema and 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.

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