TALKBACK #3: King Kong vs. Godzilla

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TALKBACK #3: King Kong vs. Godzilla

Postby lhb412 » Fri Aug 01, 2008 5:24 pm

You know, I really need to see the original Japanese version of this movie. It's been on my "to do" list for the last... oh, eight years (along with G1985). It's kinda like how I put off going to the dentist.

So I just watched Universal's wonderful DVD of the American version, which I grew up with and dearly love. It was the very first Godzilla film I saw as a child and I still vividly remember where I was and what I was doing when this large radioactive dinosaur stormed into my life.

I watched this movie on a HD TV zoomed into widesceen so I ended up noticing several little details I hadn't before. For the life of me I didn't remember the water around the iceberg bubbling when Godzilla was breaking out.

BTW, the submarine crashing into the iceberg is one of my favorite special effects in this entire series, maybe in all of film. It's very iconic in my mind, and such a great setup for Godzilla appearing.

-and as for the added scenes of the American newsmen; unintentionally hilarious. Eric Carter is just so smug and Dr. Johnson seems to be making things up as he goes along. I can't help but crack up when they come on screen. I also love how the dubbed voices misspronounce "Hokkaido" when the Asian American actor playing the reporter says it correctly five seconds later.
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yep

Postby Xenorama » Fri Aug 01, 2008 7:20 pm

this was my first Godzilla movie, in the theater in Dec. of '71 or so. nothing like seeing these two great monsters battle it out at age almost 7! it was also my first Kong movie as well. when Godzilla is chasing the woman off the train (that's what it looked like to me then) it was really scary.

so glad that PJ's remake got us this and KKE- i knew something good would come out of that!

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Postby akuash » Sat Aug 02, 2008 6:22 pm

This was one of my first Godzilla movies and has remained one of my favorites to this day. It doesn't matter which version I watch. I enjoy both of them. The American cut is very nostalgic to me.

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Best Godzilla suit ever!

Also, I may be one of the few who actually likes the King Kong suit. lol!
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Postby MouthForWar » Sat Aug 02, 2008 6:51 pm

One of my favorites! Although the American version is really lackluster and kills the pace of the film... even as a kid, I wasn't that fond of it. Those reporters and their idiotic dialogue flatten the whole experience for me. Now that I have the Japanese version, I really can't go back to this one, even for nostalgic value. Universal/John Beck really messed this one up.

But the Japanese version is a fairly brilliant satire/comedy and the Kong vs Godzilla fights are fantastic. Terrible Kong suit, but one of my favorite Godzilla designs. Also, Honda and Tsuburaya's love for the original Kong shows through many times... and yes, Kong won.

Its unfortunate what happened behind behind the scenes of this, what with John Beck ROYALLY screwing over Willis O'Brien, and all the backstabbing and trickery that he pulled. But this one really is one of the classics.
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Postby The Giant Pacific Octopus » Sun Aug 03, 2008 9:59 pm

MouthForWar wrote:Its unfortunate what happened behind behind the scenes of this, what with John Beck ROYALLY screwing over Willis O'Brien, and all the backstabbing and trickery that he pulled. But this one really is one of the classics.


I'll say. Its tragic that O'Bie got screwed over like that in the last years of his life. Especially after all he contributed in his career. If everything went according to plan we would have gotten King Kong vs Frankenstein instead.

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^Doesn't Kong look sloshed in that pic? I bet that's where Toho got the idea to turn Kong into a wino for KKvsG. :lol:
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Postby Legion » Sun Aug 03, 2008 10:16 pm

The Giant Pacific Octopus wrote:I'll say. Its tragic that O'Bie got screwed over like that in the last years of his life. Especially after all he contributed in his career. If everything went according to plan we would have gotten King Kong vs Frankenstein instead.


Godzilla might never have been brought back if that had happened, and we wouldn't be here now discussing this. :lol:
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Postby Gooberzilla » Mon Aug 04, 2008 12:35 am

akuash wrote:This was one of my first Godzilla movies and has remained one of my favorites to this day. It doesn't matter which version I watch. I enjoy both of them. The American cut is very nostalgic to me.

Image
Best Godzilla suit ever!

Also, I may be one of the few who actually likes the King Kong suit. lol!


I agree! This is my favorite suit followed by the 54 and GMK.

The movie was also my favorite as a child...as an adult is has fallen a bit on my list, but still a fun movie!!
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Postby briizilla » Mon Aug 04, 2008 11:29 am

The Giant Pacific Octopus wrote:
MouthForWar wrote:Its unfortunate what happened behind behind the scenes of this, what with John Beck ROYALLY screwing over Willis O'Brien, and all the backstabbing and trickery that he pulled. But this one really is one of the classics.


I'll say. Its tragic that O'Bie got screwed over like that in the last years of his life. Especially after all he contributed in his career. If everything went according to plan we would have gotten King Kong vs Frankenstein instead.

Image

^Doesn't Kong look sloshed in that pic? I bet that's where Toho got the idea to turn Kong into a wino for KKvsG. :lol:


That pic is cool....where did you find it?
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Postby Gwangi » Mon Aug 04, 2008 1:19 pm

Well, after seeing both versions, when you add the whole thing up, the Japanese version is a little better, but I really do think that both versions have certain advantages over the other.

The Japanese version is better in terms of adding more drama to certain scenes. The sequences with the submarine Seahawk and the military trying to stop Godzilla are good examples of that where Honda wisely cut back and forth thus building some real tension as opposed to the American version where these scenes are all played in one segment. In the American version, Godzilla seems more of an annoyance. In the Japanese version he seems like a real threat!

The advantages in the American side are some of the characters, namely Yu Fujiki and Kenji Sahara. Fujiki with his corn problem I thought was better than him just being frightened and tired, which I though felt rather flat. Sahara's character is really sort of a mystery in the Japanese version, but less so (I thought) in the American.. The story about his plane crashing in Hokkaido, when he was to test his new wire up there, I thought was much better angle than his ship missing (I still don't know what he was doing on that ship in the first place!).

And I will always have my soft spot for Harry Holcombe as Dr. Arnold Johnson. (Godzilla, has a brain about this size!). And I could understand why they had him there explaining the existence of Godzilla. There were still only two Godzilla movies made at that time and one of them was called Gigantis! I think we mistakenly assume that since the original Godzilla was playing on T.V., everyone knew about Godzilla. But it’s probably a good bet there were several, who never saw a Godzilla movie, but now, since this one had King Kong in the title, this one they would see and did! (In 1963, King Kong was still likely more popular than Godzilla).
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Postby The Giant Pacific Octopus » Mon Aug 04, 2008 2:17 pm

briizilla wrote:That pic is cool....where did you find it?


They were first published in an old issue of Famous Monsters of Filmland. They were then reprinted in the great book Willis O'Brien Special Effects Genius.

I posted a couple of more here in this old thread.

http://www.clubtokyo.org/discuss/viewto ... 651357ac27

And here is the one pic that won't load on that page.

http://img266.imageshack.us/img266/4599 ... in2dr4.jpg
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Postby kiryugoji04 » Mon Aug 11, 2008 4:53 pm

Finally watched the Japanese version all the way through for the first time a couple of days ago and really loved it. Loved all the little scenes here and there that got cut out in the Americanization process. They really add a lot to the film!

The American version never really did it for me and because of it KKvsG was always towards the bottom of my Godzilla list in terms of how much I liked it. Particularly loathsome is how they totally nixed Ifukube's fantastic score for a bunch of stock cues. Blah!

My biggest beef with the film is the blue tint to the bluescreened shots. I mean, bluescreening wasn't at all perfect back then but look at the bluesceen shots in The Mysterians - they actually match in color to their surroundings! Dunno what happened with this film though. Always bugs me to see it.

Still love it in its original form, though. Yet another Toho classic! :D

Funny though, my dad actually saw the Japanese version of this all the way through before I did! :lol:
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Postby lhb412 » Mon Aug 11, 2008 5:50 pm

^The crappy bluescreening in KKvG prompted Tsuburaya to get Toho to buy an expensive optical composite machine like he saw when he visted the states (used by Disney).
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Postby ebirahsmeg1 » Thu Aug 28, 2008 1:02 pm

I think removing Ifukube's wonderful score for the US release in favor of Universal's stock B-movie Monster music was the biggest travesty with the US version. This is one of Ifukube's stronger scores, but it's sadly overlooked because not too many fans have seen the Japanese version with the original score...
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Postby Ichiro » Sat Aug 30, 2008 2:46 pm

ebirahsmeg1 wrote:I think removing Ifukube's wonderful score for the US release in favor of Universal's stock B-movie Monster music was the biggest travesty with the US version. This is one of Ifukube's stronger scores, but it's sadly overlooked because not too many fans have seen the Japanese version with the original score...


I absolutely agree, this is the best Ifukube soundtrack for a Godzilla film (Battle in Outer Space being the best Ifukube soundtrack to a special effects film)
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Postby Brick Side » Sat Sep 20, 2008 1:02 am

Having just watched the Japanese version, I was surprised at how much more "humorous" it was compared to the American counter-part, but then again we have more scenes with the company boss who is nutty to begin with (and is the main part of those humorous scenes). I also found it interesting with how often dialogue occurred where the characters referred to the battle of the monsters as not being a wrestling match, placing bets, and things of that nature. The fight is still as awesome as ever, though. It's almost non-stop for the last 12 minutes of the movie.
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Postby Giganfan » Sat Oct 11, 2008 3:11 am

Has anyone ever felt that when listening to some of Akira Ifukube's earlier scores, such as the one in King Kong vs. Godzilla, they may have been a little bit rushed? Maybe it's because I am so used to hearing Godzilla's theme as it was perfected in Godzilla vs. The Thing, and so-on, that the introduction of it in this film just seems a bit...off.

Anyway, Kong vs. Godzilla is the ultimate clash of the titans, and that is the main selling point of this movie. Eric Carter, Yutaki Omora and Dr. Eric Johnson are laughable, but I love hearing the "Creature From the Black Lagoon" theme over virtually every scene with a monster in it! The U.S. version is nostalgic for me, but I really enjoy watching the original cut. It feels like a longer movie, but I'm totally enveloped in the story, from start to finish. And I love that almost drunken-sounding Godzilla theme!
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Postby Irish Gfan » Tue Oct 14, 2008 2:46 am

This is a really good entertaining film between my two all time favorite movie monsters.

However, if there was one Godzilla film that calls for a remake, its this one. A new Kong/GZ film would tear ass!
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Postby Benjamin Haines » Tue Oct 14, 2008 3:51 am

King Kong vs. Godzilla itself doesn't need to be remade, but King Kong and Godzilla definitely need a rematch in a new film.


It'll never happen though.
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No thanks.

Postby OtiGoji » Fri Oct 17, 2008 5:26 am

I was so depressed seeing KKvG in the theater in 1963, that I still cannot enjoy even the Japanese version to this day. :cry:
I was (and remain) a Godzilla fundamentalist. I really, I mean REALLY LIKED the original; I was so looking forward to seeing a new color Godzilla movie on the big screen and to see that silly comedy that reduced the King of the Monsters and The Eighth Wonder of the World down to clowns in a puppet show, sucker-punched me and my friends wanted to kick my a$$ for talking them into going. :oops:
No thanks. Yes I still have a sense of humor, thank you, but from GODZILLA KING OF THE MONSTERS to KKvG, I'll talk to ya later! :(
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Re: No thanks.

Postby Legion » Fri Oct 17, 2008 6:51 am

OtiGoji wrote:I was so depressed seeing KKvG in the theater in 1963, that I still cannot enjoy even the Japanese version to this day. :cry:
I was (and remain) a Godzilla fundamentalist. I really, I mean REALLY LIKED the original; I was so looking forward to seeing a new color Godzilla movie on the big screen and to see that silly comedy that reduced the King of the Monsters and The Eighth Wonder of the World down to clowns in a puppet show, sucker-punched me and my friends wanted to kick my a$$ for talking them into going. :oops:
No thanks. Yes I still have a sense of humor, thank you, but from GODZILLA KING OF THE MONSTERS to KKvG, I'll talk to ya later! :(


Wow really?

But don't you love Godzilla's Revenge?
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Re: No thanks.

Postby OtiGoji » Sun Oct 19, 2008 5:12 pm

Legion wrote:
OtiGoji wrote:I was so depressed seeing KKvG in the theater in 1963, that I still cannot enjoy even the Japanese version to this day. :cry:
I was (and remain) a Godzilla fundamentalist. I really, I mean REALLY LIKED the original; I was so looking forward to seeing a new color Godzilla movie on the big screen and to see that silly comedy that reduced the King of the Monsters and The Eighth Wonder of the World down to clowns in a puppet show, sucker-punched me and my friends wanted to kick my a$$ for talking them into going. :oops:
No thanks. Yes I still have a sense of humor, thank you, but from GODZILLA KING OF THE MONSTERS to KKvG, I'll talk to ya later! :(


Wow really?

But don't you love Godzilla's Revenge?


Rilly. I just don't like it.

GR I like, as I had no expectations and I see it differently now. I saw KKvG when I was 14 or something and I had no sense of humor about Godzilla yet.
By the time I saw GR, I thought the series was indeed a joke, so it didn't shock me.
When I lived with my parents when it was on TV all the time, my younger brother really liked it too. We had a big black rotary phone that looked like the one in the movie. I put "MONSTER ISLAND" in the dial where the phone number was supposed to go. Our parents didn't understand.
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Postby lhb412 » Sat Apr 11, 2009 1:44 pm

Did minature forrests ever look this great again untill Gamera:GOTU? That was what struck me as I watched this today. I've basically grown up in a mountainy-hilly-forresty area such as Godzilla stalks through in the train sequence, so those scenes have always struck me, especially as a child. It was easy to imagine Godzilla in the area where I live.
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Postby Legion » Sat Apr 11, 2009 1:55 pm

lhb412 wrote:Did minature forrests ever look this great again untill Gamera:GOTU?


Frankenstein Conquers the World and War of the Gargantuas?
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Re: No thanks.

Postby armandv » Sat Apr 11, 2009 2:26 pm

OtiGoji wrote:I was so depressed seeing KKvG in the theater in 1963, that I still cannot enjoy even the Japanese version to this day.


Depressed? Yeesh, what kind of childhood did you have? :wink:

I was 9 when I saw it in the theater in '63, and the other kids that also went were two older ones (around 11) and one younger than me, plus my parents (they were the drivers of taking us small fry to theaters, the other parents were either too old or drunk (or both) to take us) and we all loved the movie. We all did laugh at the bad gorilla suit at the time but still had a great time.

I have an article in an old G-FAN on this experience and it so happens that I passed by the old Balboa Theater (where we saw it) two days ago and that brought back a flood of memories of June 1963. The Balboa is now a church.
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Re: No thanks.

Postby MouthForWar » Sat Apr 11, 2009 3:00 pm

OtiGoji wrote:I was so depressed seeing KKvG in the theater in 1963, that I still cannot enjoy even the Japanese version to this day. :cry:
I was (and remain) a Godzilla fundamentalist. I really, I mean REALLY LIKED the original; I was so looking forward to seeing a new color Godzilla movie on the big screen and to see that silly comedy that reduced the King of the Monsters and The Eighth Wonder of the World down to clowns in a puppet show, sucker-punched me and my friends wanted to kick my a$$ for talking them into going. :oops:
No thanks. Yes I still have a sense of humor, thank you, but from GODZILLA KING OF THE MONSTERS to KKvG, I'll talk to ya later! :(


This sounds like so many of the post-Final Wars comments. I guess history repeats itself. :lol: :lol:
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