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New Restoration of Uncut 'Godzilla: The Japanese Original' to Premiere at TCM Film Fest, Followed by Rialto Release

Photo of Beth Hanna By Beth Hanna | Thompson on Hollywood February 18, 2014 at 1:35PM

Exciting news of monstrous proportions: A new restoration of classic “Godzilla: The Japanese Original,” which spawned six decades of sequels, imitations and remakes, is set to debut April 12 at the fifth TCM Classic Film Festival in Hollywood. It then gets a national release from Rialto Pictures, kicking off at New York’s Film Forum, April 18-24.
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'Godzilla: The Japanese Original'
'Godzilla: The Japanese Original'

Exciting news of monstrous proportions: A new restoration of classic “Godzilla: The Japanese Original,” which spawned six decades of sequels, imitations and remakes, is set to debut April 12 at the fifth TCM Classic Film Festival in Hollywood. It then gets a national release from Rialto Pictures, kicking off at New York’s Film Forum, April 18-24.

Originally released stateside in 1956 as “Godzilla: King of the Monsters,” Ishiro Honda’s masterwork suffered from an atrociously cut, dubbed and re-edited version that inserted American actor Raymond Burr into the action. Only one hour was used of the original’s 98 minute running time. 

Burr does not appear in the original, uncut version, which has an all-Japanese cast including Kurosawa regular Takashi Shimura (“The Seven Samurai”). With special effects by Eiji Tsuburaya, “Godzilla: The Japanese Original” is much darker in tone, with the monster working as a clear metaphor for nuclear menace.

It became Toho Studio’s #1 box office hit of 1954, and had such worldwide success that the company has since produced nearly 30 sequels and remakes. (In terms of Hollywood remakes: Roland Emmerich directed the bad 1998 version; meanwhile, Warner Bros. new “Godzilla” reboot is hitting theaters May 16.)

Criterion put out "Godzilla" on Blu-ray in 2012. Check out their "Three Reasons" video below; it will cement your plans to catch this one in theaters.

This article is related to: News, Classics, TCM, TCM Classic Film Festival, News, Godzilla: The Japanese Original, Rialto Pictures


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.