A week after treating the city to the big screen return of the 1962 classic The Manchurian Candidate (held over for one final week - check it out), Key Cinemas will celebrate the 50th anniversary of Godzilla by presenting - for the first time in America - the original, uncut Japanese version.
The story behind the movie went down like this: In 1954, less than a decade after the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, filmmaker Ishiro Honda, who had worked as an assistant director to the great Akira Kurosawa, took the fear, anger and sorrow of the Japanese and gave it form. Godzilla (Gojira in Japanese) was born, brought up from the ocean depths as a direct effect of underwater nuclear bomb testing, brought up to bring further suffering to the Japanese. His film was serious, and was received that way at home, where it drew great crowds.
It was another matter in the United States. Here, the distributor hired a B-movie hack director to shoot about 20 minutes of footage of Raymond Burr. Burr played Steve Martin, an American journalist who gets caught up in the madness. Forty minutes of footage was cut from the original and the Burr scenes were inserted throughout the Japanese footage, in a vain attempt to mesh it with the original. The story was reordered as well, with the Tokyo attack now coming at the beginning of the movie.
Forget the Saturday reruns of the butchered film and see the real thing. The Japanese soundtrack is remarkably effective and moving. Returned scenes - like the one with subway riders grousing over being evacuated from their homes again - add greater resonance. Enjoy the performance of Seven Samurai veteran Takashi Shimura, one of the greats in Japanese theater.
And you still get to see Godzilla wreak everything in his path.
Key Cinemas: 317-784-7454
Friday, July 23-Thursday, July 29
Five shows daily on Friday, Saturday and Sunday
(1:30, 3:30, 5:30, 7:30, 9:30)
Free drawing at 7:30 p.m. showings on Friday, Saturday
and Sunday for popcorn, drinks or a Godzilla poster