King Kong vs. Godzilla – Japan, 1962

king kong vs godzilla

King Kong vs. Godzilla (キングコング対ゴジラ Kingu Kongu Tai Gojira) is a 1962 Japanese science fiction Kaiju film produced by Toho Studios. Directed by Ishirō Honda with visual effects by Eiji Tsuburaya, the film starred Tadao Takashima, Kenji Sahara, and Mie Hama. It was the third installment in the Japanese series of films featuring the monster Godzilla. It was also the first of two Japanese made films featuring the King Kong character (or rather, its Toho Studios counterpart) and also the first time both King Kong and Godzilla appeared on film in color and widescreen. Produced as part of Toho’s 30th anniversary celebration, this film remains the most commercially successful of all the Godzilla films to date. The US version sported a different edit and Universal Studios library music including cues by Henry Mancini from Creature from the Black Lagoon.

Plot:

Mr. Tako, head of Pacific Pharmaceuticals, is frustrated by the ratings the television shows his company is sponsoring. When a doctor tells Tako about a giant monster he discovered on the small Faro Island, Tako believes that it would be a brilliant idea to gain publicity. Meanwhile, American submarine Seahawk gets caught in an iceberg. Unfortunately, this is the same iceberg that Godzilla was trapped in by the Japanese Self-Defense Forces back in 1955, and the submarine is destroyed. Godzilla breaks out and heads towards a nearby Arctic military base, attacking it. He continues moving inland, razing the base to the ground. Godzilla’s appearance is all over the press, making Tako furious.

On Faro Island, a giant octopus attacks the native village. The mysterious Faro monster is then revealed to be King Kong and he defeats the octopus. King Kong then drinks red berry juice, becomes intoxicated, and falls asleep. Tako’s men place Kong on a large raft and begin to transport him back to Japan. However, a JSDF ship orders them to return Kong to Faro Island. Godzilla had just come ashore in Japan and destroyed a train, and the JSDF doesn’t want another monster entering Japan. Unfortunately, during all this, Kong wakes up from his drunken state and breaks free from the raft. Reaching the mainland, Kong meets up with Godzilla…

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Reviews:

“There are two major fights in the film, the short scuffle near the middle and the big climax. The short one is basically a tease for the climax and establishes the hate the two monsters have for each other. Tsuburaya gives some great personality into these battles. These aren’t just two mindless animals fighting, they have reactions and make plans. (Who didn’t laugh when King Kong walks way from the short scuffle while scratching his head like he’s not sure what he’s up against?) The climax is easily one of the most exciting of the Godzilla franchise.” Daniel Alvarez, Unleash the Fanboy

“This marked the first step into a more comical approach to Godzilla. Many on the production crew were displeased with how lighthearted the film was, believing that Godzilla was more appealing when he was something to be feared. However, Toho wanted to broaden the audience and felt targeting children with the more comical scenes was the way to go.” Monster Movie Kid

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“Solid fun. The dubbed dialogue hits all kinds of fantastic comedic moments, such as a character’s tendency to ache and complain about his ‘corns’ or the behavior and stuttering of Mr. Tako, the guy who takes over custody of Kong (bet he wishes he didn’t do that now, eh?). Normally I’d be a bit peeved at the infusion of comedy in a monster movies – I tend to like my monster flicks taken seriously – but considering that the humor and satire is part of the script’s DNA, well, I don’t quite mind it at all. And that adds substantially to the overall funness of this flick.” Andrew Simon, The Ramblings of a Minnesota Geek

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Wikipedia | IMDb | Wikizilla | We are most grateful to Cathode Ray Mission for some of these images



Categories: 1960s, creature feature, Japanese, monster movie

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1 reply

  1. Reportedly the man who played Kong was a legit powerhouse who could easily flip over Haruo Nakajima in his heavy Godzilla suit, without the aid of wires. No mean feat.

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