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Godzilla [1954] [DVD]


Price: £7.61 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Product details

  • Actors: Akira Takarada, Momoko Kochi, Akihiko Hirata, Takashi Shimura, Fuyuki Murakami
  • Directors: Ishiro Honda
  • Writers: Ishiro Honda, Takeo Murata
  • Producers: Tomoyuki Tanaka
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: Japanese
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Toho
  • DVD Release Date: 13 Feb 2006
  • Run Time: 93 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000CFX5M8
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 7,346 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

GODZILLA
A Film by Ishiro Honda

The British Film Institute is proud to present for the first time on DVD the original, uncut, Japanese Godzilla. Made in 1954, 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 Takshi Shimura as the revered paleontologist who uncovers the horrible secret at the heart of the monster (Godzilla is a long dormant Jurassic beast awoken by the atom bomb), 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.

Special features

  • Full voiceover commentary
  • 'Designing Godzilla' featurette
  • 'Story evolution' featurette
  • The Japanese Fishermen (1954)
  • Original Japanese trailer
  • US trailer for Godzilla: King of the Monsters!
  • Gallery of posters, storyboards and original work
  • Fully illustrated booklet

Japan | 1954 | black and white | Japanese language with English subtitles | 93 minutes | Ratio 1.33:1 | Region 2 DVD

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By D. W. Bissett on 2 July 2006
Format: DVD
The first, ever Godzilla movie - in it's unaltered and uncut Japanese version - remains one of the lost movie masterpieces of the 20th Century, tragically overlooked in favour of it's kiddie-friendly but inferior sequels, not to mention the terrible Hanna-Barbera cartoon TV series and the stupid a** 1998 remake (as described by Kyle in the SOUTH PARK [1997-????] episode, 'Chef's Chocolate Salty Balls').

Dark, serious and sombre, this movie was a message for peace and no more nuclear weapons. This was made nine years after the atomic horrors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. While it's true the special effects in this film are a bit dated, it's anti-nuclear message isn't.

The scenes where Godzilla rampages through Tokyo and the effect it has on the humans is powerful, something that has never been equalled in any other 'kaiju eiga' throughout the last 50 years (with the exception of GAMERA 3: THE REVENGE OF IRIS [1999]), the black & white cinematography gives the film a very documentary feel to it, there are some fine acting from the cast (including Takashi Shimura, best known for appearing in the many classics of Akira Kurosawa), while the musical score is memorable.

Now that the first Godzilla movie has finally been released in it's uncut Japanese version, I really do hope people will finally see the horror of Godzilla, as it was originally intended to be.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Mark Barry HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 26 Feb 2014
Format: Blu-ray
As you've probably gathered most of the reviews are for the 'DVD' version of the 1954 Japanese cult original of “Gojira" (or "Godzilla" as it has become known). And the original is available on BLU RAY in the States TWICE. But which issue to buy?

Unfortunately the uber-desirable USA Criterion release is REGION-A LOCKED although it doesn't say so on Amazon.
So it WILL NOT PLAY on most UK BLU RAY players unless they're chipped to play 'all' regions (which the vast majority aren't).
Don’t confuse BLU RAY players that have multi-region capability on the 'DVD' front – that won’t help.

Luckily the other USA issue on Classic Media is REGION FREE – so that will play on UK machines.

Check you’re purchasing the right version before you buy the pricey Criterion release...
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Trevor Willsmer HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on 11 May 2012
Format: Blu-ray
NB: As is their wont, Amazon have unhelpfully bundled together all the reviews for the various editions and formats of this title regardless of how confusing this may be to prospective purchasers. This is a review of Criterion's US DVD and Region A-locked Blu-ray release, though it does discuss other available editions.

It's a strange and almost unnoticed fact that the two Japanese films of 1954 that put Japanese cinema at its most poetic and its most populist on the international map both starred Takashi Shimura. The same year he led a group of Ronin to defend a poor village for Akira Kurosawa he was also trying to unravel the mystery of Gojira, only to get sidelined in the US version of the film in favor of a not exactly seamlessly edited in Raymond Burr. Criterion's Region A-locked Blu-ray and Region 1 NTSC DVD edition of Godzilla in both its incarnations is a nice presentation of a movie that isn't quite as good as you'd like it to be but still isn't bad for all that.

While the Japanese version, with its heavy Hiroshima and Nagasaki allegorical overtones, is the better film, the American version isn't exactly negligible. Restructuring the film's timeframe, beginning in the aftermath of the destruction of Tokyo and framing much of the film as a flashback to explain the need for narration, it sidelines the nuclear subplot and Shimura (who is badly dubbed by an actor who can't pronounce `phemonenum' in his few surviving scenes) but still offers much of the flavor of the original, as well as offering a couple of bizarrely charming moments of camp from Raymond Burr: it's almost worth it for the little look he gives the security officer in the helicopter.
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28 of 32 people found the following review helpful By J. Saunders on 12 Jun 2007
Format: DVD
In the 1950's movies about monsters and aliens were filling up the B movies slots at the cinemas. Forget the singing cowboy; it was the era of radioactive mutant consequences and nefarious plots from outer space. Heavily favoured as date movies, these kept the young people packing the cinemas and drive ins, as scenes guaranteed to provide an opportunity for girls to want to bury their heads on your shoulder in likely feigned dismay.

Hollywood at this point in time did not have the stranglehold on modern cinema it has today, and foreign productions that were dubbed if not originally in English were not that uncommon, especially in this genre. One such studio that did this was the legendary Toho Film Ltd. Interestingly enough, Toho began its life managing a large percentage of Tokyo's kabuki theatres before branching out into film making in the 1930's, before hitting gold with American audiences with their successful monster movies in the 1950's. Often poorly imitated, they became famed for their monster and special effect films, before branching out into anime with Studio Ghibi as well as superhero TV series and contributions to other production company's films, including Sam Raimi's "A Simple Plan".

No matter hw far they have branched out from their origins, ask a member of the public to name a Japanese movie from the '50's, and the odds are greatly stacked that one of their "Big 5" monster characters will feature in the film mentioned. Whether it be recalling Rodan, Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidorah, or Mechagodzilla., it is certain that the works of Toho have embedded themselves in modern pop culture and into the common conciousness.

~~~The Plot~~~

Originally titled Gojira, this film is set in contempory to itself times, so circa 1954.
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