This can't end well...
"But nothing, nobody can stop the great showdown, when King Kong and Godzilla meet, to fight for survival of the fittest!"
~ Universal-International's trailer for the film.
"King Kong could kill us all! You wouldn't care! Publicity's all you want! Publicity!"
~ Kinsaburo to Mr. Tako in the American version.
The third entry of the Godzilla
Showa series. King Kong vs. Godzilla
is the second film to be directed by the known director Ishiro Honda
.King Kong vs. Godzilla
, released in 1962, is notable for many things. First, it was the first movie to feature both King Kong and Godzilla in color and widescreen. Second, and this is really important, it had both King Kong and Godzilla in sharing the screen at the same time. Originally released in 1962, Toho's 30th anniversary, King Kong vs. Godzilla
remains the most commercially successful film the franchise. The Japanese version of the film was a satire, while the American version was more of a straight-forward monster movie. The biggest difference between the two versions of the movie is the removal of most of Akira Ifukube's score, which is usually regarded today as one of the maestro's greatest works ever. The only pieces of music to survive this butchery were the the natives' chants and a brief piece that plays during the jungle trek. It was in this film that Godzilla's theme would be properly introduced, although it was first heard by American audiences in 1964 with the tastefully intact release of Mothra vs. Godzilla
, although the Godzilla theme in that film was also a modified version of the theme heard here. Fortunately, La-La-Land Records released the original Japanese version of the score, in it's original stereo along with two bonus tracks, in America in 2005.
The original idea for the film was actually conceived by Willis O'Brien, although it didn't feature Godzilla at all. It was only through numerous rewrites that Godzilla eventually became King Kong's adversary, and that was only after the script was bought by John Beck, who then sold it to Toho. The differences between the Japanese version of the film and the American version will be discussed in detail on the trivia page, when that eventually gets added. The plot description in the synopsis page will cover the Japanese version of the film.
The film was a commercial success back in 1962, and made over 350,000,000 yen at the box office, with a budget of 5,000,000 yen. Contrary to popular belief, King Kong is the victor in both
versions of the movie. At the time the movie was made, King Kong was still more popular than Godzilla. The Godzilla suit used in the film, named the KingGoji suit by fans, is very popular, and would be reused in the next film, Mothra vs. Godzilla
when Godzilla is swimming towards Iwa Jima and when the titanic saurian falls into the ocean after being covered by the Mothra larvae's silk.King Kong vs. Godzilla
also remains notorious for being one of the most poorly preserved Kaiju Films from the 1960s. In the 1970s, the film was edited down to 70 minutes for the Toho Champion film festival. The original elements for the 1962 uncut version have gone missing, making the Champion festival edit the sole Japanese language version known to exist in 35mm. The missing portions only exist in fading 16mm copies. Toho's own DVD of the film is sourced from an archaic laserdisc
master of said copies, resulting in muddy picture and even worse color.
This film contains examples of the following: