A Critical History and Filmography of Toho's Godzilla Series

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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.
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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.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786430994
  • Publisher: McFarland & Company, Incorporated Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/13/2007
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • 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 promoter of unusual motion pictures. As head of All Day Entertainment, an independent DVD label dedicated to movies that fell through the cracks, he has been involved in several motion picture restoration efforts over the last few years. He is also the author of The Strange Case of Dr. Mabuse (2001). He lives in Alexandria, Virginia.
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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 8, 2007

    Kalat takes Godzilla Seriously

    I purchased the original Black hard cover, way back in 1998. There are no pictures, but this book feels like something from a required reading list in college. Kalat takes Godzilla very seriously. This book, should be on the shelf of every Godzilla fan!

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