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A Critical History and Filmography of Toho's Godzilla Series
     

A Critical History and Filmography of Toho's Godzilla Series

by David Kalat
 

Though sometimes dismissed by critics, particularly in the United States, the Godzilla movies are some of the best-loved but least understood films in the world. The modifications made by American distributors—adding unsuitable footage, making changes in the musical score, even altering the plot—take away from the subtlety that makes the movies so popular

Overview

Though sometimes dismissed by critics, particularly in the United States, the Godzilla movies are some of the best-loved but least understood films in the world. The modifications made by American distributors—adding unsuitable footage, making changes in the musical score, even altering the plot—take away from the subtlety that makes the movies so popular in Japan. Then there are the dubbed voices—a matter of ridicule for American audiences and critics alike.

This work is a thorough and critical account of the Godzilla movies focusing on how differences in American and Japanese culture, as well as differences in their respective film industries, underlie the discrepancies in the Japanese and American versions of the film. For each film, there are exhaustive filmographic data for both the Japanese and American versions, including plot synopses, cast, credits, and detailed production notes. The various political and social subtexts of the movies are also thoroughly covered.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Like Godzilla trashing Tokyo, U.S. critics have stomped all over Toho Studio's venerable series of monster films. Kalat's project is consequently a rehabilitation. A writer and independent filmmaker, Kalat questions cultural biases and supplies a welter of information in the form of complete synopses and credits for the 23 Godzilla features, impressive production notes, and analyses of sociopolitical subtexts. Although his analyses lack academic rigor, his scholarship is commendable in its harnessing of details from both sides of the Pacific. The author draws upon film industry publications, the mainstream press, and fanzines to rectify the mainstream's poor critical treatment of Godzilla. Among other things, he reveals that most of the films were scored by Akira Ifukube, Japan's distinguished classical composer, and that many of them share personnel associated with Akira Kurosawa. Sure to please Godzilla fans, Kalat's work will also interest scholars pursuing Japanese cultural studies.Neal Baker, Dickinson Coll. Lib., Carlisle, Pa.
Booknews
Examines over two dozen Godzilla movies made between 1933 and 1995, emphasizing the cultural differences underlying the changes US distributors have made in the Japanese films. Provides exhaustive data for both versions of each, along with plot synopses, casts, credits, and detailed production notes. Also discusses the various political and social subtexts of the films. No illustrations. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
ARBA
should become the definitive work on this important film series...highly recommended
Film Review
the ultimate word on the series

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780786403004
Publisher:
McFarland & Company, Incorporated Publishers
Publication date:
07/01/1997
Series:
Complete Godzilla Canon Series
Pages:
275
Product dimensions:
10.00(w) x 7.00(h) x 0.90(d)

Meet the Author

David Kalat is a film historian and writes for Video Watchdog, Turner Classic Movies Online, and other publications. He lives in La Grange Park, Illinois.

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