While I work on a few other articles that should be up relatively soon, here’s a few interesting essays on Inoshiro Honda’s “Gojira,” which is probably one of the only films in the twenty-odd series it spawned that can actually be considered a real classic, in it’s own right – and more than that, a good film, which is even rarer (though, not completely exclusive to this one film). While it’s not without its flaws, which are mostly technical (while the model-work works wonders for the most part, every now and then there is a sign of what was to come, later on in the series – in particular the infamous ‘firetruck’ sequence), it’s still well-deserving of what acclaim it’s garnered, as well as the re-release it received just recently.
The first comes from Cult Reviews –
“A well-known story is of course that of producer Tomoyuki Tanaka from Toho Company Ltd. who was one day gazing out of the window of an airplane while flying over the Pacific Ocean. He wondered what could live in the dark depths of these waters and then imagined a ‘what-if’ scenario about a prehistoric monster rising from the deep to terrorize modern civilization – on an side note: a similar story circulates about a producer from Daiei Studios who was day dreaming on an airplane and when he looked outside the window he thought he saw a flying turtle. He then went on to produce the first Gamera movie. A lesser known story (but an actual fact) is that director Ishiro Honda was a prisoner of war during WWII. He only returned to Japan when the war was over. As he passed through Hiroshima, he saw the devastation with his own eyes. Buildings destroyed, cities turned to dust. And, according to his wife Kimi Honda, that planted the idea that fear influenced his work and brought forth the images of Tokyo being destroyed in Gojira.”
– and it can be found here.
The second is a piece by John Rocco Roberto, “Japan, Godzilla and the Atomic Bomb” –
” After Gojira’s release it was attacked by several quarters for “profiteering from the Lucky Dragon tragedy.” Although none of the crew members actually died until September when the film was more than half complete, and later it was determined that the man had actually died because of an unrelated case of hepatitis. However what Honda was hoping to convey was the sense of realism in an unreal situation. “How would people react,” Honda stated, “if such a huge monster came to the Japanese islands? How would politicians, scientist, the military react?” “Inevitably under those circumstances,” Honda said, “the film came to feel like a documentary. [Godzilla would have been most successful] if there had been some way to convince the viewer that it was really happening.”
– which can be read in it’s entirety here.
And, just for kicks, here’s some amazing artwork I came across during my search for the accompanying picture above.
The thing in it’s full-size can be found here.