This Americanized version of the 1954 Japanese release, Gojira, inserts
Raymond Burr as Steve Martin, a reporter who just happens to stop in Tokyo
when Godzilla makes his first appearance.
King of the Monsters (1956)
Starring: Raymond Burr, Akira Takarada,
and Momoko Kochi
When ships start mysteriously bursting into flames, an expedition is
made to a small island south of Japan. While there, a severe thunderstorm
appears to cause damage to a village. Upon further investigation, it is
found that a large radioactive animal is responsible for the devastation.
Then, in daylight, the monster strikes again. A 400 foot tall dinosaur-like
creature that the natives call Godzilla reveals itself before descending
back into the ocean.
Japanese Navy attempts to destroy the monster with depth charges and
appears to succeed. A relieved Tokyo is caught unaware as the monster
strikes again, this time in Tokyo Harbor.
Taking into account that this movie is 44 years old, it's actually very
good at what it does. The Japanese people are the only people in the world
to have faced nuclear holocaust. Godzilla, a monster created by nuclear
experiments, is their personification of the evil of nuclear weapons and
the destruction they cause.
Raymond Burr's constant narration and occasionally awful special effects
ruin what is otherwise a rather effective and somber bit of horror. Godzilla
is pure evil in this film and, although obviously a man in a suit, makes
for a pretty effective villain if one can suspend disbelief enough to
allow for the sometimes cheesy puppet effects.
Although Godzilla was later dumbed down and made into a children's hero,
this Godzilla is not cute or cuddly. He's simply an engine of destruction
that plows into buildings and eats rail cars.
With some fine tuning and better effects, this could have been one of
the best horror movies of all time, bar none. Only with a bit of leeway
for the effects and the acting can the movie be considered a classic that
anyone can enjoy. Still, in the right frame of mind, Godzilla truly is
the king of the monsters.
original Japanese version of the film ran for 98 minutes. The US version,
with its added scenes and somewhat choppy storyline, ran for 81 minutes.
Internet Movie Database)