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Retro SciFi of the Week…

Godzilla (1954)

This is the original Japanese version. Shortly after it’s release, a highly censored American version was released in the US and other countries which totally hacked up the film, replacing character- and plot-developing dialogue with bland exposition voiceover.

The American version replaced one of the protagonists with a white guy, cutting in scenes which were produced with lousy sets, poor cinematography and hasty acting which trampled on the carefully crafted pace of the original film. This gave most people an impression that the film was just a B-movie, instead of the well-produced masterpiece which was the original.

If you’ve never seen the original Japanese version, you haven’t seen Godzilla.

(Note: Of course, as with all earlier films, the cinematic techniques of the time were no match to today’s state of the art, so you need to watch it with a different level of suspension of disbelief.)

Here’s a clip from the film that was cut from the American version. (See the rest of this thread for more discussion.)

That clip that I posted in the first post (video only) was censored from the American version of the film. A few months before the movie was released, the US performed an H-bomb test near the Bikini Atoll (Castle Bravo test) which contaminated a Japanese fishing boat with radioactive fallout, resulting in death and serious radiation poisoning.

The H-bomb tests that the US was doing in the pacific were kept secret from the American public, but in Japan the incident (known as the Daigo Fukuryū Maru (第五福龍丸, F/V Lucky Dragon 5 incident) was a major story and fueled discontent about the American occupation of Japan (which was just then coming to a conclusion).

At first, when the fishing boat returned home, nobody knew what that fine dust was that covered the crew. But then it was tested and determined to be H-bomb fallout.

The clip is pretty much a direct reference to the incident, which is probably why it was censored in the US.

Ultimately, the shared love of the movie by American and Japanese audiences contributed to a long and fruitful exchange of trade and culture between the two countries, which continues to today.

Here’s a link to the film:

pluto.tv/en/on-demand/movies/g

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Here's a link to an extensively researched and well-produced video about the film:

youtube.com/watch?v=JRn-UvI6YW

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One more thing about that censored clip...

One of the changes imposed on Japan by the US after the war was a liberalization of women's civil rights. You can see some of that gender dynamic playing out in that clip.

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@Pat Huh, interesting. Never knew about this. But then, I actually haven't watched any Godzilla movie, western or eastern. Just not my type movie I guess.

Btw, it is "its release" not "it's release". "it's released" would also be possible.

@trinsec

Good catch. Thank you for the correction.

Yeah, I'm not a big monster movie fan either. I saw this film a few years ago and was shocked at how well it was produced compared to the American versions I had seen when I was younger.

I watch these old films mostly for the study of film and cultural history.

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