Godzilla | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader


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Memories of Hiroshima and Nagasaki hang like a radioactive cloud over this 1954 Japanese feature, which was dubbed, radically recut, politically neutered, and heavily augmented with new footage for its U.S. release as Godzilla, King of the Monsters. Though Hollywood pioneered the atomic-monster movie a year earlier with The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms, director Ishiro Honda had served in the imperial army, witnessed the firebombing of Tokyo, and passed through the ruins of Hiroshima in the aftermath of its destruction, which might account for the surprisingly somber and haunting sequence in a triage unit after Godzilla has flattened Tokyo. The Japanese version has been circulating for some time, but this 50th-anniversary release has been restored and resubtitled; viewed in its pristine form, it's a fascinating cultural artifact and a stomping good time. 98 min. Music Box.

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