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Gojira (Godzilla): The Original Japanese Masterpiece

Takashi Shimura , Akihiko Hirata , Ishirô Honda , Terry O. Morse    Unrated   DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 9.95 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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Product Description

Product Description

The first of the Godzilla movies, and the most somber and serious in tone, Gojiro was originally a 98-minute Japanese horror film, until a U.S. company bought the rights and reissued the film at 79 minutes, replacing sequences involving a Japanese reporter with new inserts of a dour, pipe-smoking Raymond Burr. Both versions appear together for the first time in this release from Sony Wonder.

Product Description
This package contains:

* Godzilla (1954 Japanese Edition with English subtitles)
* King of the Monsters (1956 U.S. Release Edition-English voice-over dub)

* Audio commentaries
* Original trailers
*"Making of the Suite" Featurette
*"Godzilla: Story Development" featurette
*English subtitles

Product Description

Actors: Akihiko Hirata - Akira Takarada - Takashi Shimura - Terry Morse. Format: DVD. Format Size: Fullscreen. Language: English. Subtitle: English Subtitles. Region code: Region 1 (United States Canada Bermuda U.S. territories). Discs: 2. Rating: Unrated. Genre: Horror. Release Year: 1956.

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Most helpful customer reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The First, and Arguably the Best Feb. 19 2007
As nearly anyone who is reading this knows, the original 1954 "Godzilla" - a surprisingly stark and bleak anti-nuclear allegory - was released in America in 1956 with 40 minutes chopped off (including most of the anti-nuclear material) and 20 minutes of Raymond Burr added. This DVD from Classic Media is the first time the original version of "Godzilla" has been released on home video in North America, and it's a revealation: gloomy and completely non-cathartic in its destruction sequences, the Japanese cut plays more like an art film than a monster movie; its thematic material and serious take on Godzilla make it arguable the best of the series from a cinematic perspective. The American version, on the other hand, is actually not the abomination that some people claim: while lacking the artistic merit of the Japanese version, it's still a sober and entertaining flick in its own right, thanks to the power of director Ishiro Honda's original footage and the solemnity of Raymond Burr's performance.

The DVD has both versions of the film, each on its own disc. Image quality is not especially striking for either, although this has more to do with the state of film technology in 1950s Japan than poor DVD restoration. In fact, both films look as good as they ever have, and this is probably the sharpest and clearest you'll see them in the forseeable future.

The major extras are commentaries on both versions of the film by historians Steve Ryfle and Ed Godziszewski (these tracks also include occasional guest appearances by others). The tracks cover just about everything there is to cover, and there is almost no overlap between the two tracks.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars At last!! Aug. 28 2008
By Matthew West TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I have enjoyed Godzilla movies since I was a kid, but the original never enthralled me the way that later installments did. Little did I know that I had never actually seen the original. All these years I had been watching the travesty of cinema that is the chopping and slicing of a cinematic masterpiece into a piece of drivel.

This DVD set contains the first North American home release of the Godzilla (Gojira) movie that made cinematic history. As a Geologist, I find the science is shakey throughout, however, what is truly important is the human message. This film is an allegorical warning that we have created a monster. It's no coincidence that the scenes of destruction look just like those old photos of Hiroshima and Nagasake after the atomic blasts. It's also no coincidence that all the scenes with the wounded and dying look just like those old photos of the victims of those atomic tasks. The parallel between the destruction wrought by Godzilla and the destruction wrought by the atom bomb are one and the same.

After watching the beautifully written and directed Gojira on Disc I, I struggled to watch the horribly gutted American version on Disc II--I eventually gave up on Disc II and went back and rewatched Disc I, and appreciated all the more the achievement of these pioneer filmmakers.
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5.0 out of 5 stars epic April 2 2014
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This movie is a masterpiece, at minimum it is a must see, and a must own. Its a lot better that the 98 american version.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Commentaries worth it alone Dec 3 2006
By bernie TOP 100 REVIEWER
Natural (yeah really) disasters are overtaking the small island. The fishing is bad and there are footprints all over the pristine beach. The natives know or pretend it is their old nemesis Gojira. Only the island elder knows that you can not stave off Gojira with a mock-ritual; you have to toss in some native girl snacks if you do not want everyone eaten.

Meanwhile back in civilization fishing boats are getting eradiated. Reminiscing of the real tragedy just a year before the film. Soon Tokyo will be minced by that indiscriminate beast that was conjured from the depths by "H" bomb testing.

They gave the beastie ears so he could hear and destroy the famous clock tower. Can height voltage strategically placed power lines stop him?

Dr. Serizawa (Akihiko Hirata) has a possible weapon against this creature that looks quite docile in its underwater habitat. However if someone was to find the secret of his weapon it could wipe out all life. He only told this secret to his betrothed Emiko (Momoko Kôchi). You guessed it Emiko throws hem over for a young navel officer and spills the beans. What consequences will result?

The film with a working title of "G" which did not stand for Gojira was not in the category of Hollywood "B" monster movies. This DVD's set takes you from the beginning concepts of a story with a message and carries you through the conversion to an almost Hollywood "B" movie with the addition of a more popular actor and some fancy splicing.

I must have watched the Raymond Burr version dozens of times. I listened to people that touted Gojira over Godzilla and fluffed them of as video snobs. Little did I know what I was missing. And until I listened to the commentary on Godzilla I did not know what I was watching.
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