Posts tagged "Akihiko Hirata"

Ghidrah, the Three-Headed Monster (Review)

Ghidrah, the Three-Headed Monster

aka San daikaiju: Chikyu saidai no kessen

1964

Starring
Yosuke Natsuki as Detective Shindo
Yuriko Hoshi as Naoko Shindo
Hiroshi Koizumi as Professor Miura
Akiko Wakabayashi as Mas Selina Salno, Princess of Sergina
Emi Ito as Shobijin (Twin Fairy)
Yumi Ito as Shobijin (Twin Fairy)
Takashi Shimura as Dr. Tsukamoto
Akihiko Hirata as Chief Detective Okita
Hisaya Ito as Malmess, Chief Assassin
Ikio Sawamura as Honest Fisherman
Kenji Sahara as Editor in Chief Kanamaki
Directed by Ishiro Honda

It’s a Special Edition of Ghidrah – The Three-headed Monster! From the depths of the 1980’s comes a flash from the past, TBS Superstation’s Super Scary Saturday! Yes! Back when TBS would show monster movies every Saturday morning, hosted by none other than Grandpa Al Lewis, from The Munsters! Several select movies from the Godzilla series still survive with the Grandpa Al Lewis hosting on VHS tapes of mine. As they were part of the experience when I saw some of these for the first time as a tyke, I am including them in the recaps for March of Godzilla so you, too, can join in the experience. This is the first one of the series to be on TarsTarkas.NET, so it will get the most introduction.


The actual film is Ghidrah – The Three-headed Monster, a classic in the Godzilla series. This film introduced the most notable monster villain in the history of the G-series. It also features the first monster team-up against a greater monster force, as well as Rodan and Godzilla’s first meeting, and the introduction to the theme Godzilla saving Earth from greater threats. Mothra, Rodan, and Godzilla were Toho’s big three, and this star-powered film set a large standard for films that later entries in the series couldn’t match. Films directly following this one still came off great, but by the Showa-series’ later years, the Godzilla formula had gotten pretty stale. In keeping with theme, we’ll call those the “Jet Jaguar years.”


The Super Scary Saturday Logo Commercial plays, with graphics of various monsters, aliens, and ugly people flying by as the words “Super”, “Scary”, and “Saturday” float by in red. Finally, after a buzz by the 1950’s War of the Worlds‘s Martian craft, we get a scream, followed by the conclusion “Super Scary Saturday” graphic, as the TBS theme plays. This jumps us right into Grandpa, who opens with his line “It’s me, Grandpa!” which he seemed to say every week. This week, it’s light on the skits, as Grandpa digs through dusty old film reels, searching for this week’s film. We get some lame jokes on the caliber of “Heaven Can Wait. Believe me, it can wait, it can wait, it can wait, it can wait, it can wait, it can wait!” We get to our film, promised as “One of the monstrous tag team battles of all time!” and “This creature is living proof three heads are better than one!” Grandpa rattles off all the monsters that will soon be stomping across the screen, then remarks “If I had a dollar for every monster in this film, I’d have more money than Transylvania T&T!”

I love Grandpa.

Grandpa sits in his movie set, the one next to him always empty (only two seats) because it’s the seat for you, the viewer at home. “Roll it, Igor!” he shouts, to the often unseen Igor (I can’t remember if he ever shows up, but I have some more of these on tape, so maybe he does pop in on one.) and the movie begins…


Ghidrah The Three Headed Monster!

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Posted by Tars Tarkas - April 7, 2006 at 11:57 pm

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Godzilla, King of the Monsters (Review)

Godzilla, King of the Monsters!

aka Kaijû no Gojira

1956

Starring
Raymond Burr as Steve Martin
Takashi Shimura as Dr. Kyohei Yamane
Akira Takarada as Hideto Ogata
Momoko Koochi as Emiko Yamane
Akihiko Hirata as Dr. Daisuke Serizawa
Frank Iwanaga as Security Officer Tomo Iwanaga
Toyoaki Suzuki as The Boy from Oto Island
Directed by Ishiro Honda and Terry O. Morse (USA)

Disclaimer: This is the 1956 American-cut version of Gojira. The 1954 film Gojira will be getting it’s own review eventually. Comparisons between the two will be discussed, but will not go into in depth at this time. So let’s get dangerous!

The original cinema production that introduced Godzilla to millions of Americans is still a powerful piece of film. Unlike later installments, when Godzilla was relegated to defending the world mode, here he’s non-stop brute force. People die, casualties of his attacks are seen in detail never reached again. Even so, the film is watered down from the original Japanese film. Thus, we’ll be hitting the brutality the hardest when the original is recapped. Be that as it may, we’re here with the American version, and we will soldier on. The major difference to even the most untrained eye is the addition of Raymond Burr. This was pre-Perry Mason. Pre-Ironside. Pre-Godzilla 1985. Raymond Burr plays American Reporter Steve Martin, no relation to our Steve Martin. He’s not a wild and crazy guy, he was not born a poor black man, and he doesn’t star in terrible remakes with 9,000,000 children. Burr and his translator wander around, inserting themselves into scenes from the original movie, basically recreating the film around him. Instead of a straight shot, the movie is recut to begin with a flashback to before Godzilla’s initial attack on Tokyo, and then regains real time after the plot has reached the initial beginning point. Thus, American audiences instantly see the destruction of Godzilla, without seeing the monster behind it. And so shall we…


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Posted by Tars Tarkas - March 31, 2006 at 9:30 pm

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Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster (Review)

Godzilla Versus the Sea Monster

aka Gojira, Ebirah, Mosura: Nankai no daiketto aka Ebirah, Terror of the Deep

1966

Starring
Akira Takarada as Yoshimura (Robber)
Kumi Mizuno as Daiyo
Hideo Sunazuka as Nita (Flattop)
Toru Watanabe as Ryota Kane
Chotaro Togin as Ichino
Toru Ibuki as Yata Kane
Akihiko Hirata as Captain Yamoto
Jun Tazaki as Red Bamboo Commander
Pair Bambi as The Mothra Twin Fairies

Godzilla returns again (Godzilla is always returning….) to fight the greatest threat the world has ever known, giant shrimp! The King of the Monsters versus the King of the Krill in a battle royale! Still, I can pump it up all I want to, but it doesn’t make Ebirah any more exciting a villain, for he is stuck in lame-mode. Instead, we’ll go for broke, and say Godzilla is a prophet, fighting something that decades later America herself would be fighting: A international terrorist organization. The real villains of the film is Red Bamboo, the terrorist organization that took root on the island that Godzilla just happened to be hanging out in. The American dub doesn’t bother to call them Red Bamboo, but the American dub has a lot of other problems. In addition to Godzilla and King Shrimp, we have Mothra making a cameo appearance. Cameo is the right word, as the Mothra suit looks like it would disintegrate into dust had it been used for one second longer in the film. A fourth monster shows up, a giant bird known as DaiKondoru (though I’ve only seen it listed as Okondoru, so that’s what we’ll call him) who is even lamer than Ebirah. There are some well-known G-Movie actors along for the ride, who we’ll get to when they show up in the film.

This movie is different from many of the other Godzilla movies, as Godzilla acts a little different. Mainly because this film was written for King Kong, but some rights disagreements scuttled that idea, and a few minor changes (aka substituting “Gojira!” for “Kong!” in the dialogue) made this the newest Godzilla film. This probably explains why Ebirah is so lowly powered, had he been able to shoot laser beams or heat waves or something, Kong would have had a tougher time. It’s also why Godzilla gets the hots for the lovely Kumi Mizuno, despite being a lizard. Godzilla’s sleeping in a cave is another artifact from the older script, but Godzilla shows his love for sleeping in Son of Godzilla, so it could happen. The version MST3Ked was from Film Ventures, which used shots from Son of Godzilla in it’s opening titles, but the most common versions here don’t have the Film Ventures credits. It still has all the bad, all the good, and all the lobster. Sit back, relax, and get ready to fight…the Sea Monster!

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Posted by Tars Tarkas - March 1, 2006 at 4:12 pm

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