‘The most colossal conflict the screen has ever known’
King Kong vs. Godzilla is a 1962 Japanese science-fiction Kaiju feature film produced by Toho Studios. Directed by Ishirō Honda with visual effects by Eiji Tsuburaya, the film stars Tadao Takashima, Kenji Sahara, and Mie Hama.
It was the third instalment in the Japanese series of films featuring the monster Godzilla. It was also the first of two Japanese made films featuring the King Kong character (or rather, its Toho Studios counterpart) and also the first time both King Kong and Godzilla appeared on film in colour and widescreen. Produced as part of Toho’s 30th-anniversary celebration, this film remains the most commercially successful of all the Godzilla films to date.
The US version sported a different edit and Universal Studios library music including cues by Henry Mancini from Creature from the Black Lagoon.
Mr Tako, head of Pacific Pharmaceuticals, is frustrated by the ratings of the television shows his company is sponsoring. When a doctor tells Tako about a giant monster he discovered on the small Faro Island, Tako believes that it would be a brilliant idea to gain publicity.
Meanwhile, an American submarine Seahawk gets caught in an iceberg. Unfortunately, this is the same iceberg that Godzilla was trapped in by the Japanese Self-Defense Forces back in 1955, and the submarine is destroyed. Godzilla breaks out and heads towards a nearby Arctic military base, attacking it. He continues moving inland, razing the base to the ground. Godzilla’s appearance is all over the press, making Tako furious.
On Faro Island, a giant octopus attacks the native village. The mysterious Faro monster is then revealed to be King Kong and he defeats the octopus. King Kong then drinks red berry juice, becomes intoxicated, and falls asleep. Tako’s men place Kong on a large raft and begin to transport him back to Japan.
However, a JSDF ship orders them to return Kong to Faro Island. Godzilla had just come ashore in Japan and destroyed a train, and the JSDF doesn’t want another monster entering Japan. Unfortunately, during all this, Kong wakes up from his drunken state and breaks free from the raft. Reaching the mainland, Kong meets up with Godzilla…
“There are two major fights in the film, the short scuffle near the middle and the big climax. The short one is basically a tease for the climax and establishes the hate the two monsters have for each other. Tsuburaya gives some great personality into these battles. These aren’t just two mindless animals fighting, they have reactions and make plans.” Unleash the Fanboy
“Many on the production crew were displeased with how lighthearted the film was, believing that Godzilla was more appealing when he was something to be feared. However, Toho wanted to broaden the audience and felt targeting children with the more comical scenes was the way to go.” Monster Movie Kid
“Normally I’d be a bit peeved at the infusion of comedy in a monster movies – I tend to like my monster flicks taken seriously – but considering that the humor and satire is part of the script’s DNA, well, I don’t quite mind it at all. And that adds substantially to the overall funness of this flick.” The Ramblings of a Minnesota Geek
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