January 08, 2004 - 8:31 p.m.|
Some DVD’s We’ll (Probably) Never See!
The Complete Eyewitness News , Volume 1
My buddy Eric C. reminds me that I left out a Godzilla movie from yesterday’s list: Bambi Meets Godzilla!
Fun stuff, if you’ve never seen it you should check it out!
I actually have a longer Godzilla List that includes stuff like Godzilla vs. Charles Barkley and his appearance in Pee Wee's Big Adventure. It’s woefully incomplete, so I stuck to Official Toho Productions. For instance, I know Godzilla not only appeared in Tsuburaya Productions’ Ultraman TV series as himself, but also a Godzilla Suit was modified and renamed something else for other episodes. I just figured I’d stick somewhat to the basics.
A favorite anachronism of mine is the way the TV series MASH often had these funny background voiceovers that would announce the names of fake Godzilla movies being played in the mess tent that night. However, the original Godzilla was released in Japan in 1954 and in the US in 1956. Active hostilities in The Korean War lasted from June 25, 1950 until “only” July 27, 1953, when The U.S., North Korea and China signed an armistice effectively ending the war. However, the Republic of Korea (South) and Democratic Peoples' Republic of Korea (North) have never signed a peace treaty so the war never technically ended, and there have been intermittent hostilities for years!
Back to fun stuff!
I should amend my ratings from yesterday as follows:
1a. Godzilla (1954) >>>>>
1b. Godzilla, King of the Monsters (1956) >>>
If you ever get to see the original in Japanese with English subtitles, it is a substantially better flick in every way than the Americanized version. See, for American audiences Godzilla was badly cut up, whole scenes deleted or moved to different parts of the movie, and new scenes with American actor Raymond Burr inserted. Here he interacted with stand-ins who, seen only from the back, looked somewhat like the actors in the original. The dubbing often didn’t in any way translate what was happening in the film, but instead new dialogue was written to match Mr. Burr’s scenes as Reporter Steve Martin (snicker, snicker). What you end up with is a diminished Godzilla, King of the Monsters that’s still a lot of fun if you don’t know what you’re missing!
As originally filmed, Godzilla is a poignant, dramatic nuclear holocaust allegory, filmed less than ten years after the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki! The mournful scene the day after the destruction of Tokyo affects a sense of tragic loss not felt in a genre film of this type before or since. Remember, many filmgoers of the time had lived through nuclear loss and suffering that we’ll never be able to imagine, and here it was being reimagined with a giant radioactive mutated dinosaur!
This first offering really towers over other films of this and other series, and even rivals my true favorite giant monster flick, King Kong!
Did Someone Say King Kong?
To me the Greatest Monster Movie Of All Time is Merian C. Cooper and Willis O’Brien’s groundbreaking masterpiece, King Kong!
While most fans are aware of the visionary genius of creator Merian C. Cooper and the trailblazing special effects pioneered by Willis O’Brien which brought Kong to life, few people realize King Kong is a benchmark recording in yet another way.
Danny Elfman said it best in the liner notes to the King Kong soundtrack CD.
“I consider Max Steiner’s music to King Kong the first real film score. Along with Franz Waxman’s score to Bride of Frankenstein, which followed a few years later, the entire concept of a full-blown, synchronized film score was really defined by King Kong.”
This was the first cinematic use of music to really emote, to punctuate and underscore every movement, to inspire feeling and truly accentuate the action. Next time you check it out, really listen to King Kong’s score!
Plus, the big ape was a lot of fun, too!
Yeah, I Know, Your Grooism Here!
So you are going to email me with your own tales of stupidity, aren’t you? !
How time flies, only 245 more days until Talk Like A Pirate Day!