For my birthday, my lovely wife gave me the gift of Godzilla -- The Godzilla Collection, in fact, a deluxe box set featuring seven films from the classic era of Toho Studio's most famous giant monster. These deluxe DVDs include both the original Japanese versions and the English dubbed versions, plus more than 20 hours of bonus materials, with commentary tracks, featurettes, photo galleries, and more. As a kid, I really never saw any of the Godzilla films all the way through, so this really has been a journey of discovery.
Of special note is the beautiful two-disc edition of Gojira (1954) / Godzilla, King of the Monsters (1956). The original film, rarely seen outside of Japan until its 50th anniversary, is a haunting, almost lyrical post-war tale of heartbreak and loss. Compared to that, it's hard not to see the "Americanized" version as relatively clumsy, edited into a more straight-ahead creature feature that shoehorned in scenes of Raymond Burr pretending he was in the film. Each version has its own commentary track to bring historical context.
The box set also includes the sequel Godzilla Raids Again, which matches the so-so original 1955 Japanese film with the almost bizarre 1959 American recut; the 1964 feature Mothra vs. Godzilla; the 1964 monster mash Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster (with no less than four mega-monsters); 1965's Invasion of Astro-Monster; the 1969 kiddie flick All Monsters Attack; and 1975's Terror of Mechagodzilla. Details at GodzillaOnDVD.com.
Some of screenwriter Shinichi Sekizawa's innovations so surprised and impressed me that he helped me rethink some of my own stories. (But that's a blog for another day.)
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