Tonight, the Japanese film series at The Source OC in Buena Park presents Gojira, Ishiro Honda’s 1954 big monster flick that American audiences know better as Godzilla.
This October, The Criterion Collection celebrates the arrival of spine number 1,000, a Blu-ray collector’s set that gathers, for the first time, all the Godzilla films from Japan’s Showa era, 15 in all!
For originalists who prefer seeing the rampaging radioactive spawn on a big screen as opposed to a home screen, Gojira is presented tonight in Japanese with English subtitles. The story: Japan is still reeling from a nuclear attack and H-bomb testing in the Pacific when a massive beast arrives and embodies an entire population’s fears.
Showtime is 7:30 p.m. at The Source OC, 6988 Beach Blvd., Buena Park, where admission is Free.
For those who have to own the original as well as the 14 sequels–all on high-definition digital transfers–you should know that the colossal set comes with a slew of supplemental material, including a giant deluxe hardcover book with notes on each film and new illustrations from 16 artists and new and archival interviews with cast and crew members.
What follows are the promotional descriptions from Criterion, which has been dedicated to publishing important classic and contemporary films from around the world since 1984.
GODZILLA: THE SHOWA-ERA FILMS, 1954–1975
In 1954, an enormous beast clawed its way out of the sea, destroying everything in its path—and changing movies forever. The arresting original Godzilla soon gave rise to an entire monster-movie genre (kaiju eiga), but the King of the Monsters continued to reign supreme: in fourteen fiercely entertaining sequels over the next two decades, Godzilla defended its throne against a host of other formidable creatures, transforming from a terrifying symbol of nuclear annihilation into a benevolent (if still belligerent) Earth protector. Collected here for the first time are all fifteen Godzilla films of Japan’s Showa era, in a landmark set showcasing the technical wizardry, fantastical storytelling, and indomitable international appeal that established the most iconic giant monster the cinema has ever seen.
EIGHT-BLU-RAY SPECIAL EDITION COLLECTOR’S SET FEATURES
• High-definition digital transfers of all fifteen Godzilla films made between 1954 and 1975, released together for the first time, with uncompressed monaural soundtracks
• High-definition digital transfer of Godzilla, King of the Monsters (1956), the U.S.-release version of Godzilla
• Japanese-release version of King Kong vs. Godzilla from 1962
• Audio commentaries from 2011 on Godzilla and Godzilla, King of the Monsters featuring film historian David Kalat
• International English-language dub tracks for Invasion of Astro-Monster, Son of Godzilla, Destroy All Monsters, Godzilla vs. Megalon, Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla, and Terror of Mechagodzilla
• Directors Guild of Japan interview with director Ishiro Honda, conducted by director Yoshimitsu Banno in 1990
• Programs detailing the creation of Godzilla’s special effects and unused effects sequences from Toho releases including Destroy All Monsters
• New interview with filmmaker Alex Cox about his admiration for the Showa-era Godzilla films
• New and archival interviews with cast and crew members, including actors Bin Furuya, Tsugutoshi Komada, Haruo Nakajima, and Akira Takarada; composer Akira Ifukube; and effects technicians Yoshio Irie and Eizo Kaimai
• Interview with critic Tadao Sato from 2011
• Illustrated audio essay from 2011 about the real-life tragedy that inspired Godzilla
• New English subtitle translations
• PLUS: A lavishly illustrated deluxe hardcover book featuring an essay by cinema historian Steve Ryfle, notes on the films by cinema historian Ed Godziszewski, and new illustrations by Arthur Adams, Sophie Campbell, Becky Cloonan, Jorge Coelho, Geof Darrow, Simon Gane, Robert Goodin, Benjamin Marra, Monarobot, Takashi Okazaki, Angela Rizza, Yuko Shimizu, Bill Sienkiewicz, Katsuya Terada, Ronald Wimberly, and Chris Wisnia
The box set includes the following:
1954 • 96 minutes • Black & White • Monaural • In Japanese with English subtitles • 1.37:1 aspect ratio
Godzilla Raids Again
1955 • 81 minutes • Black & White • Monaural • In Japanese with English subtitles • 1.37:1 aspect ratio
King Kong vs. Godzilla
1963 • 91 minutes • Color • Monaural • 2.35:1 aspect ratio
Mothra vs. Godzilla
1964 • 89 minutes • Color • Monaural • In Japanese with English subtitles • 2.35:1 aspect ratio
Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster
1964 • 93 minutes • Color • Monaural • In Japanese with English subtitles • 2.35:1 aspect ratio
Invasion of Astro-Monster
1965 • 94 minutes • Color • Monaural • In Japanese with English subtitles • 2.35:1 aspect ratio
Ebirah, Horror of the Deep
1966 • 86 minutes • Color • Monaural • In Japanese with English subtitles • 2.35:1 aspect ratio
Son of Godzilla
1967 • 85 minutes • Color • Monaural • In Japanese with English subtitles • 2.35:1 aspect ratio
Destroy All Monsters
1968 • 89 minutes • Color • Monaural • In Japanese with English subtitles • 2.35:1 aspect ratio
All Monsters Attack
1969 • 69 minutes • Color • Monaural • In Japanese with English subtitles • 2.35:1 aspect ratio
Godzilla vs. Hedorah
1971 • 85 minutes • Color • Monaural • In Japanese with English subtitles • 2.35:1 aspect ratio
Godzilla vs. Gigan
1972 • 89 minutes • Color • Monaural • In Japanese with English subtitles • 2.35:1 aspect ratio
Godzilla vs. Megalon
1973 • 81 minutes • Color • Monaural • In Japanese with English subtitles • 2.35:1 aspect ratio
Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla
1974 • 84 minutes • Color • Monaural • In Japanese with English subtitles • 2.35:1 aspect ratio
Terror of Mechagodzilla
1975 • 83 minutes • Color • Monaural • In Japanese with English subtitles • 2.35:1 aspect ratio
8-BLU-RAY COLLECTOR’S SET SUGGESTED RETAIL PRICE: $224.95
CAT. NO. CC3075BD
DIMENSIONS 10 3/4” x 14 1/2
OC Weekly Editor-in-Chief Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the alternative newsweekly’s first calendar editor.