On this day, 27 April, in 1956, Godzilla was released to the public.
But before any of you Godzilla subgeniuses complain, let me explain. (The Godzilla geniuses already know what I’m going to say.)
Godzilla was first release to the public on 3 November 1954. Edmund Goldman bought the US rights to the film from Toho Sudios for $25,000 (about a quarter million today). He was planning to just dub it into English and then release it.
But things got a bit out of hand. With the help and encouragement of a whole bunch of people, they told the same story but from the perspective of an American reporter played by Raymond Burr (Perry Mason).
The result isn’t a better film. It does have advantages over the original. And the original has advantages over it. But by using the equivalent of a million dollars, they took a distinctly Japanese film and made an American film.
It’s a remarkable accomplishment. And it is great that we now have both these films to enjoy.
I highly recommend getting the Warner Brothers Godzilla: King of the Monsters Special Edition. It comes with two discs: one for the original Japanese version and one for the American release. Both include commentary tracks by David Kalat, author of A Critical History and Filmography of Toho’s Godzilla Series.
A couple more things. Walter Lantz, creator of Woody Woodpecker was born in 1899. Sandy Dennis was born in 1937. She was in a lot of great films but she was amazing in The Out-of-Towners. I still feel bad that she never even got a cup of coffee.