Friday, July 18, 2014

Godzilla


The Best of Godzilla 1954 - 1975 Original Film Soundtracks CD review

Original Godzilla Film Music Scores from 1954 - 1975

The first seven tracks are from the original and arguably the best, Godzilla film from 1954. Godzilla was pitched to Toho by Tomoyuki Tanaka in a last-minute effort to secure financing after a war picture fell through. His main selling point was to pitch a serious, symbolic film to demonstrate the nuclear effects and devastation of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Giant monster films were also raking in big bucks at box offices in America at the time. The most important composer of the Godzilla movie soundtracks was Akira Ifukube, who was already a internationally acclaimed classical music composer before working on the film series. The story behind Godzilla, King Of The Monsters is after the disappearance of some boats and a plague of radiation poisoning effects Japan, the cause of all the problems, a giant prehistoric monster emerges from the ocean to wreak havoc on Japan. Godzilla was mutated by and awakened from his eternal slumber by Japan's nuclear testing. The first track of the CD contains Godzilla's monstrous footsteps and gargantuan roars. The doom laden Godzilla's Rampage is included, this menacing sounding track went onto become Godzilla's theme song. The last song from the 1954 film has a sad, sorrowful, melancholy sound. This song was played while the aftermath of Godzilla's destruction was shown during the movie.
Tracks nine through twelve are from King Kong vs. Godzilla from 1963. The story behind the film is after King Kong is found on Faro Island he is imported to Japan to fight Godzilla. After gaining additional strength from electricity King Kong seemingly defeats Godzilla by wrestling him into the sea.

The thirteenth track is from the original Mothra film from 1961. Mothra's Song is sung by the Peanuts (not related to the cartoon) an actual singing duo from Japan. The lyrics are included because the song wasn't sung in either Japanese or English, it was sung in Malay to give it an authentic, tropical island like sound. The Peanuts also contributed on the sad, haunting, emotional song Sacred Springs which is from the film Mothra vs. Godzilla from 1964.

The main title song from the 1964 Ghidorah, The Three Headed Monster is included. This track would go onto to become the official Monster Battle music for several of the films. This movie was titled The Greatest Giant Monster on Earth in Japan for good reason. The all-star cast of Godzilla, Mothra and Rodan team up to battle the powerful Ghidorah.

The haunting, powerful score from the 1972 Godzilla vs. Gigan film is another stand out on this cool CD. This is another team up film in which the good guys, Godzilla and Anguirus battle Ghidorah and Gigan to save the future of all mankind.

One of the best tracks on the CD Terror Of Mechagodzilla closes out the original film series on a high note. The final film was released in 1975, the series concluded due to a recession in the Japanese economy. Even though the budgets for the films shrunk the music never suffered due to the imaginative, haunting work of Akira Ifukube. Godzilla rested until 1984 when he once again returned in his original form, as a deadly menace to all of mankind in the film The Return Of Godzilla.

This CD closes out with a cover version of the Theme from Godzilla by Neil Norman and his Cosmic Orchestra, this rocked up version is kind of cool but personally I prefer the original movie music. I grew up watching Godzilla films on Saturday afternoons, they were always on during the holidays and my friends and I went to the movie theaters to see a couple of the films. My wife and I attended the 1998 remake (avoid at all costs!) and Godzilla 2000 despite of my wife's disinterest in all things Godzilla.

Godzilla and all the monsters mentioned are trademarks of Toho Co., Ltd. 
Thanks to GNP Crescendo Record Co., Inc. for compiling and releasing this CD.



I can't get enough of Godzilla and this catalogue cover proves it in spades.
This cover is from a Hobby Japan catalogue of Toho/Godzilla toys/statues/action figures. All the copy inside is in Japanese. The cover is also from the 2002 movie Giant Monsters All-Out Attack which features Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidorah and Baragon. Godzilla looks really evil in this movie with his whited out eyes and dark grey body color. Sorta like the classic '56 version but way meaner looking. The Baragon/Godzilla fight scene is one the Big G's best ever. It reminded me of a pro-wrestling match. Theres even a 12 page feature on the movie inside, highlighting the actors and directors of the movie, it's cool but I can't read it. I looked up the female lead online and I believe she was in 1 of the Grudge movies, playing a deadly ghost.
I can't wait for the next movie to come out, Godzilla Forever!

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