Trivia: Gojira

NOM NOM NOM NOM NOM!!! Godzilla loves his rare streaks.

It's amazing for a 1954 Kaiju film to have this degree of background information. Especially when this movie is based on a real-life tragedy.

Tropes for Trivia

  • Ability Over Appearance: During the casting production, Akihiko Hirata (twenty-six at the time) played Serizawa, who was meant to be someone in his mid-thirties. However, his commitment to the role earns him much recognition from fans to this day.
  • Dawson Casting: Inverted. Akihiko Hirata was 26 at the time while his character Daisuke Serizawa is supposed to be in his 40's.
  • Executive Meddling: A rare case where it was a good thing. Tomoyuki Tanaka told Eiji Tsuburaya that it would take seven years to complete via stop-motion. So suitmation was the only option to make the film quicker. This became a staple in later Toho films.
  • Hey, It's That Guy!: Takashi Shimura originally appeared in many Akira Kurosawa films, most notably as Kambei Shimada in Seven Samurai and Kanji Watanabe in Ikiru.
  • Old Shame: Because of this film, Momoko Koichi was typecast to the same role. After The Mysterians, she resorted to stage acting. Koichi would embrace the role for the final time in Godzilla vs. Destoroyah before her death in 1998.
  • Godzilla Debuted in 1956: Averted in an interesting way. This film was made in 1954, and sent to America in 1955 to the Japanese-Americans of that era to see the film, where it was later on picked up and re-edited as Godzilla: King of the Monsters!. It wasn't until 2004 where it was shown theatically in the US, along with two DVD and Blu-Ray releases.
  • Milestone Celebration: Because 2014 is this film's 60th anniversary, this film is being released in selected theaters.
  • No Export for You: The film was sent to America in 1955 catering Japanese-Americans. However, it was picked up later and Americanized as Godzilla, King of the Monsters!. In 2004, the original version was viewed (finally) in it's original form. The fans rejoiced when it was released in 2006 by Classic Media and Criterion Collection recently.
  • People in Rubber Suits: Godzilla was actually an interesting case where the film wasn't intended to use suits. Originally, it was going to be in stop-motion, but Tomoyuki Tanaka advised Eiji Tsuburaya that it would take 7 years to complete the film through that method. So they had 2 suits constructed. The original, superheavy 200 pound suit that couldn't be used (due to the latex increasing the weight), and a slightly lighter suit. Both Haruo Nakajima and Katzumi Tezuka still had their own problems wearing the second suit. Despite Haruo Nakajima developing blisters, he would relish the role until Godzilla vs. Gigan.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Of the Reality Subtext variety. And the whole point of this film.
  • Star-Making Role: Did this for Akira Takarada and Momoko Koichi. Both Takeshi Shimura and Haruo Nakajima were in Akira Kurosawa films while Akihiko Hirata were in several movies prior to this one. Eventually, both Hirata and Takarada would appear in other films of the franchise, but Koichi left her film career after being Type Casted. Haruo Nakajima would be the King of the Monsters until Godzilla vs. Gigan.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Godzilla's Japanese name is a result of the combination of the words "Gorilla" and "kujira" (Japanese for whale). When Godzilla was cataloged to be sent to America, his name was rendered as Godzilla (as explained in the Classic Media commentary). However, GODZILLA was declared as his official English name while Gojira remains his Japanese name. The English name would continue to be used on sequels that involved English-speaking characters, with the exception of King Kong vs. Godzilla.
    • Contrary to popular belief, the name GODZILLA was not chosen by the western distributors of the film, but by Toho's international division.
  • Urban Legend: the origin of Godzilla's name has long been a source of debate. There's several potential explanations:
    • 1. There was a stagehand working at the studio whose nickname was "Gojira", purportedly due to his great size. However, given Godzilla's immense popularity, the notion of such a man remaining completely anonomyous for 60 years is improbable, to say the least.
    • 2. Haruo Nakajima (Godzilla's suit actor) stated there was a contest among the staff to think up the name.
    • 3. Ishiro Honda's wife believes it was randomly made up by him and Eiji Tsuburaya, and the staff working on the film often make jokes. Honestly, even we don't know. So take what you will.
  • What Could Have Been: Quite a few. Tomoyuki Tanaka initially described the as-yet unnamed project as a story of a monster awakened by atomic bomb testing. As the story evolved, it was named Project G (G meant Giant at this point), then later to Godzilla. During production, the movie's titular monster was to be a literal cross between a gorilla and a whale, but then decided to make the monster dinosaurian. However, artwork exists of an ape-looking thing with the head of a mushroom cloud, until the final design became the creature we know and love.
    • Not to mention, Akihiko Hirata was to play Ogata and Akira Takarada as Serizawa. Takarada confirmed it, and thus, the roles were tastefully switched.
    • Godzilla was originally going to be a giant octopus, then later a giant fire-breathing gorilla, before Toho decided to make him the radioactive dinosaur we all know and love today.
    • Likewise, Godzilla himself was originally going to be portrayed via stop motion animation. The idea was quickly dropped when the filmmakers realized it would be too time-consuming.
    • Dr. Yamane was originally going to be a full-blown Mad Scientist (wearing a cape, living in a gothic-style house, etc). The original idea was that Yamane was going to sabotage the military's efforts to kill Godzilla. But Ishiro Honda modified the character to one who wanted to Save the Villain because it survived an H-Bomb testing.
    • This is one of the only attempts to portray Godzilla as a carnivore (Godzilla vs. Biollante being the second) with Godzilla having a dead cow in his mouth. Tsuburaya's cameraman told him the scene was too graphic so it had to be reshot. Which defeated the purpose of making it the Horror film it already was. The other problem was a matter of scale; the filmed cow would have been unnaturally huge, and an average cow would've been too tiny to see.
    • Godzilla was originally written as a monster whose rampages was the result of hunger. Hence the deleted dead cow image. It's the reason why the fishermen had no luck and several animals dead. Honda once again modified him as a creature tormented by his radiation burns, and it's very effective.
    • In the The '70s, there was serious consideration to remake this film under the title, King of Monsters: Rebirth of Godzilla. It was to be written by Ryuzo Nakanishi and Akira Murao, and to be directed by Jun Fukuda. There's no known reason why this remake never got further than a screenplay. But it's believed that the production was running behind schedule before it could start, leading to it's axeing.