Godzilla | Chicago Reader

Godzilla

98 minutes 1954

Memories of Hiroshima and Nagasaki hang like a radioactive cloud over this 1954 Japanese feature, which was dubbed, radically recut, politically neutered, and heavily augmented with new footage for its U.S. release as Godzilla, King of the Monsters. Though Hollywood pioneered the atomic-monster movie a year earlier with The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms, director Ishiro Honda had served in the imperial army, witnessed the firebombing of Tokyo, and passed through the ruins of Hiroshima, which might account for the surprisingly somber and haunting sequence in a triage unit after Godzilla has flattened Tokyo. This 50th-anniversary release was restored and resubtitled; viewed in its pristine form, the film is a fascinating cultural artifact and a stomping good time.

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