King Kong vs. Godzilla (Japanese: キングコング対ゴジラ, Hepburn: Kingu Kongu tai Gojira) is a 1962 Japanese kaiju film directed by Ishirō Honda, with special effects by Eiji Tsuburaya. Produced and distributed by Toho Co., Ltd, it is the third film in both the Godzilla, and King Kong franchises, as well as the first Toho-produced film featuring King Kong. It is also the first time that each character appeared on film in color and widescreen. The film stars Tadao Takashima, Kenji Sahara, Yū Fujiki, Ichirō Arishima, and Mie Hama, with Shoichi Hirose as King Kong and Haruo Nakajima as Godzilla. In the film, as Godzilla is reawakened by an American submarine, and a pharmaceutical company captures King Kong for promotional uses, which culminates in a battle on Mount Fuji.
|King Kong vs. Godzilla|
|Hepburn||Kingu Kongu tai Gojira|
|Directed by||Ishirō Honda|
|Written by||Shinichi Sekizawa|
|Produced by||Tomoyuki Tanaka|
|Edited by||Reiko Kaneko|
|Music by||Akira Ifukube|
|Box office||$8 million (est.)|
The project began with a story outline devised by King Kong stop motion animator Willis O'Brien around 1960, in which Kong battles a giant Frankenstein Monster; O'Brien gave the outline to producer John Beck for development. Behind O'Brien's back and without his knowledge, Beck gave the project to Toho to produce the film, replacing the giant Frankenstein Monster with Godzilla and scrapping O'Brien's original story.
King Kong vs. Godzilla was released theatrically in Japan on August 11, 1962. The film remains the most attended Godzilla film in Japan to date, and is credited with encouraging Toho to prioritize the continuation of the Godzilla series after seven years of dormancy. A heavily re-edited "Americanized" version of the film was released theatrically in the United States by Universal International Inc. on June 26, 1963.
Mr. Tako, head of Pacific Pharmaceuticals, is frustrated with the television shows his company is sponsoring and wants something to boost his ratings. When a doctor tells Tako about a giant monster he discovered on the small Faro Island, Tako believes that it would be a brilliant idea to use the monster to gain publicity. Tako immediately sends two men, Osamu Sakurai and Kinsaburo Furue, to find and bring back the monster. Meanwhile, the American nuclear submarine Seahawk gets caught in an iceberg. The iceberg collapses, unleashing Godzilla, who had been trapped within it since 1955.[b] Godzilla then destroys the submarine and makes his way towards Japan, attacking a military base as he journeys southward.
On Faro Island, a gigantic octopus crawls ashore and attacks the native village in search of Farolacton juice, taken from a species of red berry native to the island. The mysterious Faro monster, revealed to be King Kong, arrives and defeats the octopus. Kong then drinks several vases full of the juice while the islanders perform a ceremony, which both cause him to fall asleep. Sakurai and Furue place Kong on a large raft and begin to transport him back to Japan. Mr. Tako arrives on the ship transporting Kong, but a JSDF ship stops them and orders them to return Kong to Faro Island. Meanwhile, Godzilla arrives in Japan and begins terrorizing the countryside. Kong wakes up and breaks free from the raft. Reaching the mainland, Kong confronts Godzilla and proceeds to throw giant rocks at Godzilla. Godzilla is not fazed by King Kong's rock attack and uses his atomic heat ray to burn him. Kong retreats after realizing that he is not yet ready to take on Godzilla and his atomic heat ray.
The JSDF digs a large pit laden with explosives and poison gas and lures Godzilla into it, but Godzilla is unharmed. They next string up a barrier of power lines around the city filled with 1,000,000 volts of electricity, which proves effective against Godzilla. Kong then approaches Tokyo and tears through the power lines, feeding off the electricity, which seems to make him stronger. Kong then enters Tokyo and captures Fumiko, Sakurai's sister, taking her to the National Diet Building which he then scales. The JSDF launches capsules full of vaporised Farolacton juice, which puts Kong to sleep, and are able to rescue Fumiko. The JSDF then decides to transport Kong via balloons to Godzilla, in hopes that they will kill each other.
The next morning, Kong is deployed by helicopter next to Godzilla at the summit of Mount Fuji and the two engage in a final battle. Godzilla initially has the advantage dazing Kong with a devastating dropkick and repeated tail blows to his head. Godzilla then attempts to burn Kong to death by using his Atomic Breath to set fire to the foliage around Kong's body. Suddenly, a bolt of lightning from thunder clouds strikes Kong, reviving him and charging him up, and the battle resumes. Godzilla and King Kong fight their way down the mountain and into Atami, where the two monsters destroy Atami Castle while trading blows, before falling off a cliff together into Sagami Bay. After a brief underwater battle, only Kong resurfaces from the water, victorious, and he begins to swim back toward his home island. There is no sign of Godzilla, but the JSDF speculates that it is possible he survived.
- Tadao Takashima as Osamu Sakurai
- Kenji Sahara[c] as Kazuo Fujita
- Yū Fujiki as Kinsaburo Furue
- Ichirō Arishima as Mr. Tako
- Mie Hama as Fumiko Sakurai
- Jun Tazaki as General Masami Shinzo
- Akiko Wakabayashi as Tamie
- Akihiko Hirata as Defense Minister Shigezawa
- Somesho Matsumoto[d] as Dr. Ohnuki
- Akemi Negishi as Chikiro's mother, Faro Island native
- Senkichi Omura as Konno, TTV Translator
- Sachio Sakai as Obayashi, Mr. Tako's assistant
- Haruya Kato as Obayashi's assistant
- Yoshio Kosugi as Faro Island chief
- Yoshifumi Tajima as ship captain
- Harold S. Conway as researcher on Seahawk
- Osman Yusuf as researcher on Seahawk
- Shoichi Hirose as King Kong
- Haruo Nakajima as Godzilla
- Katsumi Tezuka as Godzilla (assistant)
Cast taken from Japan's Favorite Mon-Star, except where cited otherwise.
- Ishirō Honda[e] – director
- Eiji Tsuburaya – special effects director
- Kōji Kajita – assistant director
- Toshio Takashima – lighting
- Takeo Kita – art director
- Teruaki Abe – art director
- Akira Watanabe – special effects art director
- Kuichirō Kishida – special effects lighting
- Masao Fujiyoshi – sound recording
- Thomas Montgomery – director (American footage)
- John Beck – producer (American version)
- Paul Mason – writer (American version)
- Bruce Howard – writer (American version)
- Peter Zinner – editorial and music supervision (American version)
Personnel taken from Japan's Favorite Mon-Star.
King Kong vs. Godzilla had its roots in an earlier concept for a new King Kong feature developed by Willis O'Brien, animator of the original stop-motion Kong. Around 1960, O'Brien came up with a proposed treatment, King Kong Meets Frankenstein, where Kong would fight against a giant Frankenstein Monster in San Francisco. O'Brien took the project (which consisted of some concept art and a screenplay treatment) to RKO to secure permission to use the King Kong character. During this time, the story was renamed King Kong vs. the Ginko when it was believed that Universal had the rights to the Frankenstein name. O'Brien was introduced to producer John Beck, who promised to find a studio to make the film (at this point, RKO was no longer a production company). Beck took the story treatment and hired George Worthing Yates to write the screenplay for the film. The story was slightly altered and the title changed to King Kong vs. Prometheus, returning the name to the original Frankenstein concept (The Modern Prometheus was the alternate title of the original novel). The November 2, 1960 issue of Variety reported that Beck had even asked a filmmaker named Jerry Guran (a possible misspelling of filmmaker Nathan Juran's pseudonym Jerry Juran) to direct the film. Unfortunately, the cost of stop-motion animation discouraged potential studios from putting the film into production. After shopping the script around overseas, Beck eventually attracted the interest of the Japanese studio Toho, which had long wanted to make a King Kong film.[f] After purchasing the script, they decided to replace the giant Frankenstein Monster with Godzilla to be King Kong's opponent and would have Shinichi Sekizawa rewrite Yates' script.[g] The studio thought that it would be the perfect way to celebrate its 30th year in production. It was one of five big banner releases for the company to celebrate the anniversary alongside Sanjuro, Chūshingura, Lonely Lane, and Born in Sin. John Beck's dealings with Willis O'Brien's project were done behind his back, and O'Brien was never credited for his idea. O'Brien attempted to sue Beck, but lacked the money to do so, and on November 8, 1962, he died in his home in Los Angeles at the age of 76. O'Brien's wife Darlyne later cited "the frustration of the King Kong vs. Frankenstein deal" as the cause of his death. Merian C. Cooper, the producer of the 1933 King Kong film, was bitterly opposed to the project, stating in a letter addressed to his friend Douglas Burden, "I was indignant when some Japanese company made a belittling thing, to a creative mind, called King Kong vs. Godzilla. I believe they even stooped so low as to use a man in a gorilla suit, which I have spoken out against so often in the early days of King Kong". In 1963, he filed a lawsuit to enjoin distribution of the movie against John Beck, as well as Toho and Universal (the film's U.S. copyright holder) claiming that he outright owned the King Kong character, but the lawsuit never went through, as it turned out he was not Kong's sole legal owner as he had previously believed.
Director Ishirō Honda wanted the theme of the movie to be a satire of the television industry in Japan. In April 1962, TV networks and their various sponsors started producing outrageous programming and publicity stunts to grab audiences' attention after two elderly viewers reportedly died at home while watching a violent wrestling match on TV. The various rating wars between the networks and banal programming that followed this event caused widespread debate over how TV would affect Japanese culture with Sōichi Ōya stating TV was creating "a nation of 100 million idiots". Honda stated "People were making a big deal out of ratings, but my own view of TV shows was that they did not take the viewer seriously, that they took the audience for granted...so I decided to show that through my movie" and "the reason I showed the monster battle through the prism of a ratings war was to depict the reality of the times". Honda addressed this by having a pharmaceutical company sponsor a TV show and going to extremes for a publicity stunt for ratings by capturing a giant monster stating "All a medicine company would have to do is just produce good medicines you know? But the company doesn't think that way. They think they will get ahead of their competitors if they use a monster to promote their product.". Honda would work with screenwriter Shinichi Sekizawa on developing the story stating that "Back then Sekizawa was working on pop songs and TV shows so he really had a clear insight into television".
Special effects director Eiji Tsuburaya was planning on working on other projects at this point in time such as a new version of a fairy tale film script called Princess Kaguya, but he postponed those to work on this project with Toho instead since he was such a huge fan of King Kong. He stated in an early 1960s interview with the Mainichi Newspaper, "But my movie company has produced a very interesting script that combined King Kong and Godzilla, so I couldn't help working on this instead of my other fantasy films. The script is special to me; it makes me emotional because it was King Kong that got me interested in the world of special photographic techniques when I saw it in 1933."
Early drafts of the script were sent back with notes from the studio asking that the monster antics be made as "funny as possible". This comical approach was embraced by Tsuburaya, who wanted to appeal to children's sensibilities and broaden the genre's audience. Much of the monster battle was filmed to contain a great deal of humor but the approach was not favoured by most of the effects crew, who "couldn't believe" some of the things Tsuburaya asked them to do, such as Kong and Godzilla volleying a giant boulder back and forth. With the exception of the next film, Mothra vs. Godzilla, this film began the trend to portray Godzilla and the monsters with more and more anthropomorphism as the series progressed, to appeal more to younger children. Ishirō Honda was not a fan of the dumbing down of the monsters. Years later, Honda stated in an interview. "I don't think a monster should ever be a comical character," and "The public is more entertained when the great King Kong strikes fear into the hearts of the little characters." The decision was also taken to shoot the film in a (2.35:1) scope ratio (TohoScope) and to film in color (Eastman Color), marking both monsters' first widescreen and color portrayals.
Toho had planned to shoot the film on location in Sri Lanka, but abandoned the idea after being forced to pay RKO roughly ¥80 million ($220,000) for the rights to the King Kong character, which forced the company to scale down their original production costs. The bulk of the film was shot on the Japanese island of Izu Ōshima instead. The movie's production budget came out to ¥150 million ($420,000).
Suit actors Shoichi Hirose (as King Kong) and Haruo Nakajima (as Godzilla) were given mostly free rein by Tsuburaya to choreograph their own moves. The men would rehearse for hours and would base their moves on those of professional wrestling (a sport that was growing in popularity in Japan), in particular the moves of Toyonobori.
During pre-production, Tsuburaya had toyed with the idea of using Willis O'Brien's stop-motion technique instead of the suitmation process used in the first two Godzilla films, but budgetary concerns prevented him from using the process, and the more cost-efficient suitmation was used instead. However, some brief stop-motion was used in a couple of quick sequences. Two of these sequences were animated by Minoru Nakano.
A brand new Godzilla suit was designed for this film and some slight alterations were done to its overall appearance. These alterations included the removal of its tiny ears, three toes on each foot rather than four, enlarged central dorsal fins, and a bulkier body. These new features gave Godzilla a more reptilian/dinosaurian appearance. Outside of the suit, a meter-high model and a small puppet were also built. Another puppet (from the waist up) was also designed that had a nozzle in the mouth to spray out liquid mist simulating Godzilla's atomic breath. However the shots in the film where this prop was employed (far away shots of Godzilla breathing its atomic breath during its attack on the Arctic Military base) were ultimately cut from the film. These cut scenes can be seen in the Japanese theatrical trailer. Finally, a separate prop of Godzilla's tail was also built for close-up practical shots when its tail would be used (such as the scene where Godzilla trips Kong with its tail). The tail prop would be swung offscreen by a stagehand.
Sadamasa Arikawa (who worked with Tsuburaya) said that the sculptors had a hard time coming up with a King Kong suit that appeased Tsuburaya. The first suit was rejected for being too fat with long legs giving Kong what the crew considered an almost cute look. A few other designs were done before Tsuburaya would approve the final look that was ultimately used in the film. The suit's body design was a team effort by brothers Koei Yagi and Kanji Yagi and was covered with expensive yak hair, which Eizō Kaimai hand-dyed brown. Because RKO instructed that the face must be different from the original's design, sculptor Teizō Toshimitsu based Kong's face on the Japanese macaque rather than a gorilla, and designed two separate masks. As well, two separate pairs of arms were also created. One pair were extended arms operated by poles inside the suit to give Kong a gorilla-like illusion, while the other pair were at normal arms-length and featured gloves that were used for scenes that required Kong to grab items and wrestle with Godzilla. Suit actor Hirose had to be sewn into the suit in order to hide the zipper. This would force him to be trapped inside the suit for large amounts of time and would cause him much physical discomfort. In the scene where Kong drinks the berry juice and falls asleep, he was trapped in the suit for three hours. Besides the suit with the two separate arm attachments, a meter-high model and a puppet of Kong (used for closeups) were also built. As well, a huge prop of Kong's hand was built for the scene where he grabs Mie Hama (Fumiko) and carries her off.
For the attack of the giant octopus, four live octopuses were used. They were forced to move among the miniature huts by having hot air blown onto them. After the filming of that scene was finished, three of the four octopuses were released. The fourth became special effects director Tsuburaya's dinner. These sequences were filmed on a miniature set outdoors on the Miura Coast, According to assistant special effects cinematographer Kōichi Kawakita, the crew had difficulty getting the live octopuses to move. Along with the live animals, two rubber octopus puppets were built, with the larger one being covered with plastic wrap to simulate mucous. Some stop-motion tentacles were also created for the scene where the octopus grabs a native and tosses him. These sequences were shot indoors at Toho's studios.
The special effects crew filmed a sequence in which Godzilla rampages through Takasaki, Gunma Prefecture, and destroys the Takasaki Kannon Statue, but this scene was cut from the final film. Despite this scene being cut, Godzilla is still said to have passed through Takasaki in the film.
Since King Kong was seen as the bigger draw and Godzilla was still considered a 'villain' at this point in the series, the decision was made to not only give King Kong top billing but also to present him as the winner of the climactic fight. While the ending of the film does look somewhat ambiguous, Toho confirmed that King Kong was indeed the winner in their 1962–63 English-language film program Toho Films Vol. 8, which states in the film's plot synopsis, "A spectacular duel is arranged on the summit of Mt. Fuji and King Kong is victorious. But after he has won..." While producer Tomoyuki Tanaka stated in his 1983 and 1984 books, The Complete History of Toho Special Effects Movies, and Definitive Edition Godzilla Introduction that he believed the battle ended in a draw, Toho still maintained that Kong was the victor on their global website back in the late 2010s.
It was such an entertaining film. The house was packed, you know? We could barely get a seat.
– Filmmaker Masaaki Tezuka reminisces on watching the film in his childhood.
King Kong vs. Godzilla was released in Japan by Toho on August 11, 1962, where it played alongside Myself and I for two weeks, afterward, it was extended by one more week and screened alongside the anime film Touring the World. The film was re-released twice as part of the Toho Champion Festival, a children's festival centered on marathon screenings of kaiju films and cartoons. The film was first heavily re-cut and screened at the festival on March 21, 1970, and again on March 19, 1977, to coincide with the Japanese release of the 1976 version of King Kong. The 1970 Champion Festival version was edited by the film’s director Ishirō Honda, who shortened the runtime to just 74 minutes. In 1983, the film was screened across Japan alongside 9 other kaiju films as part of the Godzilla 1983 Revival Festival. The festival's success became the catalyst for relaunching the Godzilla series with The Return of Godzilla.
In North America, King Kong vs. Godzilla premiered in New York City on June 26, 1963. The film was also released in many international markets. In Germany, it was known as Die Rückkehr des King Kong ("The Return of King Kong") and in Italy as Il trionfo di King Kong ("The Triumph of King Kong").
To celebrate the film's 50th anniversary, Bay Area Film Events (BAFE) planned to screen the film at the Historic BAL Theatre in San Leandro, California on June 16, 2012, as a double feature with Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack.
When John Beck sold the King Kong vs Prometheus script to Toho (which became King Kong vs. Godzilla), he was given exclusive rights to produce a version of the film for release in non-Asian territories. He was able to line up a couple of potential distributors in Warner Bros. and Universal-International even before the film began production. Beck, accompanied by two Warner Bros. representatives, attended at least two private screenings of the film on the Toho Studios lot before it was released in Japan.
John Beck enlisted the help of two Hollywood writers, Paul Mason and Bruce Howard, to write a new screenplay. After discussions with Beck, the two wrote the American version and worked with editor Peter Zinner to remove scenes, recut others, and change the sequence of several events. To give the film more of an American feel, Mason and Howard decided to insert new footage that would convey the impression that the film was actually a newscast. The television actor Michael Keith played newscaster Eric Carter, a United Nations reporter who spends much of the time commenting on the action from the U.N. Headquarters via an International Communications Satellite (ICS) broadcast. Harry Holcombe was cast as Dr. Arnold Johnson, the head of the Museum of Natural History in New York City, who tries to explain Godzilla's origin and his and Kong's motivations.
Beck and his crew were able to obtain library music from a host of older films, including Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954). Cues from these scores were used to almost completely replace the original Japanese score by Akira Ifukube and give the film a more Western sound. They also obtained stock footage from the film The Mysterians from RKO (the film's U.S. copyright holder at the time) which was used not only to represent the ICS, but which was also utilized during the film's climax. Stock footage of a massive earthquake from The Mysterians was employed to make the earthquake caused by Kong and Godzilla's plummet into the ocean much more violent than the tame tremor seen in the Japanese version. This added footage features massive tidal waves, flooded valleys, and the ground splitting open swallowing up various huts.
Beck spent roughly $12,000 making his English version and sold the film to Universal-International for roughly $200,000 on April 29, 1963. The film was released theatrically in the United States on June 26 of that year, as a double feature with The Traitors.
Starting in 1963, Toho's international sales booklets began advertising an English dub of King Kong vs. Godzilla alongside Toho-commissioned, unedited international dubs of movies such as Giant Monster Varan and The Last War. By association, it is thought that this King Kong vs. Godzilla dub is an unedited English-language international version not known to have been released on home video.
In the summer of 2014, the film was released for the first time on Blu-ray as part of the company releasing the entire series on the Blu-ray format for Godzilla's 60th anniversary. The 4K Ultra High Definition remaster of the film was released on Blu-ray in both a two-disc deluxe box set and a standard one disc in May 2021. The special features for the 2021 Blu-ray include one of the Toho Champion Festival reissues of the film, the film's theatrical trailer, and a still gallery. Universal Pictures released the English-language version of the film on Blu-ray on April 1, 2014, along with King Kong Escapes. This release sold $749,747 worth of Blu-rays. In 2019, the Japanese and American versions were included in a Blu-ray box set released by The Criterion Collection, which included all 15 films from the franchise's Shōwa era.
In Japan, this film has the highest box office attendance figures of all of the Godzilla films to date. It sold 11.2 million tickets during its initial theatrical run, accumulating ¥352 million ($972,000) in distribution rental earnings. The film was the fourth highest-grossing film in Japan that year, behind The Great Wall, Sanjuro, and Chūshingura, and was Toho's second-biggest moneymaker. At an average 1962 Japanese ticket price, 11.2 million ticket sales were equivalent to estimated gross receipts of approximately ¥1.29 billion ($3.58 million).
Including re-releases, the film accumulated a lifetime figure of 12.55 million tickets sold in Japan, with distribution rental earnings of ¥430 million. The 1970 re-release sold 870,000 tickets, equivalent to estimated gross receipts of approximately ¥280 million ($780,000). The 1977 re-release sold 480,000 tickets, equivalent to estimated gross receipts of approximately ¥440 million ($1.64 million). This adds up to total estimated Japanese gross receipts of approximately ¥2 billion ($6 million). In the United States, the film grossed $2.7 million, accumulating a profit (via rentals) of $1.25 million. Overall, the film is estimated to have earned $8,700,000 worldwide.
On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 50% based on 20 reviews, with an average rating of 5.10/10. On Metacritic, the film has a score of 40/100, based on 4 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
The reviews tended to evaluate the film as an exploitation or kiddie film. Some of the more positive reviews were from James Powers of The Hollywood Reporter who wrote "A funny monster picture? That's what Universal has in "King Kong Versus Godzilla [sic]". Audiences which patronize this kind of picture will eat it up. It should be a big success via the multiple booking, exploitation route." While the review from Box Office stated "Exploitation-minded exhibitors should have a field day with this Japanese import. While the story is preposterous and loaded with stilted dialogue...the special effects are unusual and merit considerable praise". John Cutts of Films and Filming wrote "Sublime stuff. Richly comic, briskly paced, oddly touching, and thoroughly irresistible. Outrageous of course, and deplorably acted and atrociously dubbed to boot. But what matters most is the sheer invention of its exemplary trick work."
The review from Variety stated "To the list of this century's great preliminary bouts—Dempsey-Firpo, Sullivan-Paar, Nixon-Kennedy, Paterson-Liston, Steve Reeves-Gordon Scott—add the main event "King Kong Versus Godzilla [sic]". From the mysterious East comes the monstrosity to end all monstrosities, the epic clash between the 30-year-old, breast-beating, Hollywood-born-and-bred gorilla with the overactive pituitary and the seven-year-old, pea-brained, flame-throated, tail-wagging cross between a Stegosaurus and a Tyrannosaurus rex who fights out of Tokyo, Japan. Onward and upward with the arts". While Eugene Archer of The New York Times said "King Kong Versus Godzilla [sic] should be explicit enough title for anyone. Viewers who attend the ridiculous melodrama unveiled at neighborhood theaters should know exactly what to expect and get what they deserve. The one real surprise of this cheap reprise of earlier Hollywood and Japanese horror films is the ineptitude of its fakery. When the pair of prehistoric monsters finally get together for their battle royal, the effect is nothing more than a couple of dressed-up stuntmen throwing cardboard rocks at each other."
Den of Geek ranked the film at number eight in their 2019 ranking of the Shōwa Godzilla films, writing that the film has a "sturdy, surprisingly crafty story" but calling Kong's design and appearance a "major drawback." Variety listed it number sixteen on their 2021 ranking of every Godzilla film. Collider ranked the film number two on their Shōwa Godzilla list in 2022, describing the fight choreography as "beautiful."
The original Japanese version of King Kong vs. Godzilla is infamous for being one of the most poorly-preserved tokusatsu films. In 1970, director Ishirō Honda prepared an edited version of the film for the Toho Champion Festival, a children's matinee program that showcased edited re-releases of older kaiju films along with cartoons and then-new kaiju films. Honda cut 24 minutes from the film's original negative and, as a result, the highest quality source for the cut footage was lost. For years, all that was thought to remain of the uncut 1962 version was a faded, heavily damaged 16mm element from which rental prints had been made. 1980s restorations for home video integrated the 16mm deleted scenes into the 35mm Champion cut, resulting in wildly inconsistent picture quality.
On July 14, 2016, a 4K restoration of a completely 35mm sourced version of the film aired on The Godzilla First Impact, a series of 4K broadcasts of Godzilla films on the Nihon Eiga Senmon Channel.
Due to the great box office success of this film, Toho wanted to produce a sequel immediately. Shinichi Sekizawa was brought back to write the screenplay tentatively titled Continuation: King Kong vs. Godzilla (続 キングコング対ゴジラ, Zoku Kingu Kongu tai Gojira). Sekizawa revealed that Kong had killed Godzilla during their underwater battle in Sagami Bay with a line of dialogue stating "Godzilla, who sank and died in the waters off Atami". As the story progressed, Godzilla's body is salvaged from the Ocean by a group of entrepreneurs who hope to display the remains at a planned resort. Meanwhile, King Kong is found in Africa where he had been protecting a baby (the sole survivor of a plane crash). After the baby is rescued by investigators, and is taken back to Japan, Kong follows the group and rampages through the country looking for the infant. Godzilla is then revived with hopes of driving off Kong. The story ends with both monsters plummeting into a volcano. The project was ultimately cancelled. A couple of years later, United Productions of America (UPA) and Toho conceived the idea to pit Godzilla against a giant Frankenstein Monster and commissioned Takeshi Kimura to write a screenplay titled Frankenstein vs. Godzilla, with Jerry Sohl and Reuben Bercovitch writing the story and synopsis for the film. However, Toho would cancel this project as well and instead decided to match Mothra against Godzilla in Mothra vs. Godzilla. This began a formula where kaiju from past Toho films would be added into the Godzilla franchise.
Toho was interested in producing a series around their version of King Kong but were refused by RKO. However, Toho would handle the character once more in 1967 to help Rankin/Bass co-produce their film King Kong Escapes, which was loosely based on a cartoon series Rankin/Bass had produced.
Henry G. Saperstein was impressed with the giant octopus scene and requested a giant octopus to appear in Frankenstein Conquers the World and The War of the Gargantuas. The giant octopus appeared in an alternate ending for Frankenstein Conquers the World that was intended for overseas markets, but went unused. As a result, the octopus instead appeared in the opening of The War of the Gargantuas. The film's King Kong suit was recycled and altered to depict Goro in the second episode of Ultra Q, and the suit's torso was later reused to portray King Kong in the water scenes of King Kong Escapes.
Filmmaker Shizuo Nakajima recreated several scenes from this film in his 1983 fan film Legendary Giant Beast Wolfman vs. Godzilla, including the scenes where Godzilla emerges from an iceberg and attacks a train during his rampage on the Japanese mainland.
In 1990, Toho expressed interest in remaking the film as Godzilla vs. King Kong. However, producer Tomoyuki Tanaka stated that obtaining the rights to King Kong proved difficult. Toho then considered producing Godzilla vs. Mechani-Kong but effects director Koichi Kawakita confirmed that obtaining the likeness of King Kong also proved difficult. Mechani-Kong was replaced by Mechagodzilla, and the project was developed into Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II in 1993.
In October 2015, Legendary Pictures announced plans for a King Kong vs Godzilla film of their own (unrelated to Toho's version), which was released in the United States on March 31, 2021, simultaneously in theaters and on HBO Max.
Dual ending mythEdit
For many years, a popular myth has persisted that in the Japanese version of the film, Godzilla emerges as the winner. The myth originated in the pages of Spacemen magazine, a 1960s sister magazine to the influential publication Famous Monsters of Filmland. In an article about the film, it is incorrectly stated that there were two endings and "If you see King Kong vs Godzilla in Japan, Hong Kong or some Oriental sector of the world, Godzilla wins!" The article was reprinted in various issues of Famous Monsters of Filmland in the years following, such as in issues #51 and #114. This misinformation would be accepted as fact and persist for decades. For example, a question in the "Genus III" edition of the popular board game Trivial Pursuit asked, "Who wins in the Japanese version of King Kong vs. Godzilla?" and stated that the correct answer was "Godzilla". Various media have repeated this falsehood, including the Los Angeles Times.
- The Japanese version cost ¥150 million ($420,000), while the American version reportedly cost an additional $12,000.
- As depicted in Godzilla Raids Again (1955)
- Miscredited as "Keji Sahaka" in the American version of the film.
- Sometimes miscredited as "Somekichi Matsumoto."
- Miscredited as "Inoshiro Honda" in the American version of the film.
- According to special effects director Teruyoshi Nakano, Tomoyuki Tanaka and Eiji Tsuburaya wanted to make a King Kong film for Toho as early as 1954 because he was "world-famous".
- The concept of a giant Frankenstein Monster would be used later by Toho in Frankenstein Conquers the World (1965) and its sequel The War of the Gargantuas (1966). O'Brien, however, was never credited for the concept.
- "キングコング対ゴジラ". Toho (in Japanese). Archived from the original on March 25, 2016. Retrieved March 29, 2022.
- Takeuchi 2000, p. 27.
- "Official exchange rate (LCU per US$, period average) - Japan". World Bank. Retrieved May 29, 2020.
- Ryfle 1998, p. 89.
- Godziszewski 1979, p. 35.
- Ryfle 1998, pp. 80–81.
- "キングコング対ゴジラ＜高画質版＞". nihon-eiga.com (in Japanese). Nihon Eiga Broadcasting Corp. Archived from the original on October 16, 2014.
- Kalat 2010, p. 67.
- Olave 1997, p. 197.
- Ryfle 1998, p. 353.
- Hobby Japan 2021, p. 140.
- Perkins, Allen (June 10, 2012). "Interview: KING KONG VS GODZILLA Screenwriter Paul Mason". SciFi Japan. Archived from the original on May 15, 2014. Retrieved November 5, 2021.
- Nakajima, Shinsuke (May 7, 2013). "イシロウ、それともイノシロウ？". IshiroHonda.com (in Japanese). Archived from the original on May 13, 2021. Retrieved April 3, 2022.
- Ryfle 1998, p. 80.
- Cotta Vaz 2005, p. 361.
- Archer 1993, pp. 80–83.
- Ackerman 1966, pp. 58–60.
- Glut 1973, pp. 242–244.
- "KING KONG VS GODZILLA and KING KONG ESCAPES on Blu-ray from Universal". SciFi Japan. Archived from the original on February 8, 2014. Retrieved April 3, 2022.
- Homenick & Rainey 2005, pp. 53–54.
- Morton 2005, p. 131.
- Keibunsha 2001, p. 92.
- Woods 2005, p. 119.
- Motoyama et al. 2012, p. 67.
- Ryfle & Godziszewski 2017, p. 186.
- Shay 1982, pp. 69–70.
- Ryfle 1998, p. 81.
- Harryhausen & Dalton 2008, p. 111.
- L. Tom Perry Special Collections. Brigham Young University. Cooper Papers. Box MSS 2008 Box 8 Folder 6
- Cotta Vaz 2005, pp. 361–363.
- Ryfle & Godziszewski 2017, p. 185.
- Chun 2006, p. 3.
- Ryfle & Godziszewski 2017, p. 187.
- Ryfle 1998, p. 82.
- Ichikawa 1996, pp. 48–53.
- Takeuchi 1991, pp. 56–57.
- Ryfle & Godziszewski 2017, p. 188.
- Kabuki 1993, pp. 115–123.
- Honda, Yamamoto & Masuda 2010, pp. 62–63.
- Gakken Graphic Books 1996, pp. 24–25.
- Galbraith IV 1998, p. 86.
- Ragone 2014, p. 70.
- Cirronella 2013, p. 68.
- Galbraith IV 1998, p. 87.
- Yamada, Motoyama & Tsuchiya 1994, p. 72.
- Kaneko & Nakajima 1983, p. 103.
- Ryfle 1998, p. 84.
- Motoyama et al. 2012, pp. 66–69.
- Yamada 1995, p. 48.
- Kaneko & Nakajima 1983, p. 67.
- Kishikawa 1994, p. 62.
- Kishikawa 1994, p. 63.
- Gakken Graphic Books 1996, p. 25.
- Mamiya 2000, p. 90.
- Morton 2005, p. 126.
- Iwasa, Yoichi. "『ゴジラvsコング』の原点『キングコング対ゴジラ』撮影秘話……敵の大ダコはその日のスタッフの夕食になっていた". Bunshun.jp (in Japanese). Shūkan Bunshun. p. 2. Archived from the original on January 3, 2022. Retrieved July 18, 2021.
- Kishikawa 2020, p. 2.
- Keibunsha 2001, p. 93.
- Tanaka 1983, p. 235.
- Motoyama et al. 2012, p. 69.
- Yosensha 2011, pp. 40–41.
- Futabasha 2016, p. 182.
- Takeuchi 2002, p. 86.
- Ryfle 2016, p. 36.
- Toho 1963, p. 9.
- Tanaka 1983, p. 56.
- Tanaka 1984, p. 70.
- "King Kong vs. Godzilla". Toho. Archived from the original on November 4, 2020. Retrieved April 19, 2022.
- Galbraith IV 2008, p. 194.
- Motoyama et al. 2012, p. 66.
- Nakamura et al. 2014, p. 127
- Nakamura et al. 2014, pp. 32–33.
- Nakamura et al. 2014, pp. 62–64.
- Shoemaker 1979, p. 23.
- Ryfle & Godziszewski 2017, p. 257.
- Nomura & Fuyumon 2016, p. 218.
- Hobby Japan 2019, p. 63.
- Ryfle 1998, p. 79.
- Lees 1996, pp. 20–21.
- "BAFE to Celebrate KING KONG VS. GODZILLA's 50th Anniversary". SciFi Japan. June 3, 2012. Archived from the original on October 10, 2014.
- Ryfle 1998, p. 87.
- Ryfle 1998, p. 88.
- Ragone & Tucker 1991, p. 27.
- Ryfle 1998, p. 90.
- Hirsch 2006, pp. 4–9.
- Lees & Cerasini 1998, p. 21.
- Toho 1963, p. 62, List of English-dubbed Pictures.
- "60th Anniversary Edition Godzilla series on Blu-Ray". Toho Amusement Park. Toho. Archived from the original on March 6, 2014.
- "Original King Kong vs. Godzilla 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Details Announced". Comic Book Resources. April 3, 2021. Retrieved April 7, 2021.
- "キングコング対ゴジラ 4Kリマスター Blu-ray". Toho (in Japanese). Archived from the original on April 21, 2022. Retrieved April 21, 2022.
- "Kingu Kongu tai Gojira (1962) Home Market Performance". The-Numbers. Retrieved November 7, 2019.
- Patches, Matt (July 25, 2019). "Criterion reveals the collection's 1000th disc: the ultimate Godzilla set". Polygon. Archived from the original on December 17, 2019. Retrieved July 25, 2019.
- Ryfle & Godziszewski 2017, p. 191.
- Takeuchi 2000, p. 28.
- "Statistics of Film Industry in Japan". Eiren. Motion Picture Producers Association of Japan. Retrieved June 20, 2020.
- Iwabatake 1994, pp. 60–61.
- "Godzilla History". godzilla.jp (in Japanese). Toho. Retrieved April 24, 2022.
- "「キングコング対ゴジラ」 KING KONG VS. GODZILLA". Ｇ本情報 - ゴジラ王国. Retrieved July 1, 2018.
- Candelaria, Matthew (February 11, 2020). "Godzilla Vs Kong: 10 Gonzo Facts About The Original". Screen Rant. Retrieved May 29, 2020.
- Nakamura et al. 2014, p. 162.
- Variety 1964, p. 71.
- "King Kong vs. Godzilla". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved April 5, 2022.
- "King Kong vs. Godzilla". Metacritic. Red Ventures. Retrieved April 5, 2022.
- Morton 2005, p. 129.
- Morton 2005, p. 130.
- Kaye, Don (October 29, 2019). "Godzilla: First 15 Showa Era Movies Ranked". Den of Geek. Archived from the original on March 12, 2022. Retrieved April 21, 2022.
- Chernov, Matthew (March 30, 2021). "All the Godzilla Movies Ranked". Variety. Archived from the original on November 2, 2021. Retrieved April 21, 2022.
- Fischer, William (February 6, 2022). "The Showa-era Godzillas, Ranked From 'Megalon' to 'Mechagodzilla'". Collider. Archived from the original on March 12, 2022. Retrieved April 21, 2022.
- Nakamura et al. 2014, p. 127.
- Ryfle 1998, p. 86.
- "ゴジラ ファーストインパクト「ゴジラ」（1954年）＜デジタルリマスター版＞ほか". nihon-eiga.com (in Japanese). Nihon Eiga Broadcasting Corp. May 3, 2016. Archived from the original on May 7, 2016. Retrieved May 3, 2016.
- Kihara, Shimizu & Nakamura 2010, p. 445.
- Kihara, Shimizu & Nakamura 2010, p. 248.
- Kihara, Shimizu & Nakamura 2010, p. 249.
- Kihara, Shimizu & Nakamura 2010, p. 421.
- Fitzpatrick 2017, p. 62.
- Ryfle & Godziszewski 2017, pp. 225–226.
- Kaneko & Nakajima 1983, p. 68.
- Morton 2005, pp. 134–135.
- Ryfle & Godziszewski 2017, p. 238.
- Ishida 2013, p. 21.
- Ryfle & Godziszewski 2017, p. 226.
- Higashino 1991, pp. 35–37.
- Yosensha 2014, p. 130.
- Ragone 2014, p. 165.
- Chaffins, Benjamin. "LEGENDARY GIANT BEAST WOLFMAN VS GODZILLA — Interview With Director Shizuo Nakajima". SciFi Japan. Archived from the original on March 4, 2021. Retrieved April 3, 2022.
- Raymond, Nicholas (October 22, 2019). "Godzilla's First Rematch With King Kong Almost Happened In 1990". Screen Rant. Archived from the original on December 10, 2020. Retrieved April 20, 2022.
- Ryfle 1998, p. 293.
- "Legendary and Warner Bros. Pictures Announce Cinematic Franchise Uniting Godzilla, King Kong and Other Iconic Giant Monsters" (Press release). Legendary Pictures. October 14, 2015. Archived from the original on November 5, 2015. Retrieved March 28, 2022.
- Rubin, Rebecca (January 26, 2021). "'Godzilla vs. Kong' Release Date Moves Back a Week". Variety. Archived from the original on February 28, 2021. Retrieved March 28, 2022.
- Ackerman 1963, p. 56.
- Thorne 1977, p. 31.
- Ackerman, Forrest J. (September 1963). "Return of Kong!". Spacemen. No. 7. Warren Publishing.
- Ackerman, Forrest J. (1966). "The 13 Faces of Frankenstein". Famous Monsters of Filmland. No. 39. Warren Publishing.
- Archer, Steve (1993). Willis O'Brien: Special Effects Genius. McFarland & Company. ISBN 978-0786405732.
- Chun, Jayson Makoto (2006). A Nation of a Hundred Million Idiots? A Social History of Japanese Television, 1953-1973. Routledge. ISBN 1135869774.
- Cirronella, Jim (2013). "Japan's Kong-Nection How O'Brien's Eighth Wonder of the World inspired Tsuburaya's Kingdom of Giant Monsters". Famous Monsters of Filmland. No. 267. Movieland Classics.
- Cotta Vaz, Mark (2005). Living Dangerously: The Adventures of Merian C. Cooper, Creator of King Kong. Villiard. ISBN 9781400062768.
- Fitzpatrick, Insha (2017). "The Monsterous History of King Kong vs Godzilla". Birth.Movies.Death Giant Monsters Commemorative Issue. Alamo Drafthouse.
- Super Common Knowledge of Godzilla (in Japanese). Futabasha. 2016. ISBN 978-4-575-31156-3.
- Our Beloved Monster Godzilla (in Japanese). Gakken Graphic Books. March 25, 1996. ISBN 4054006574.
- Galbraith IV, Stuart (1998). Monsters are Attacking Tokyo!. Feral House. ISBN 978-0922915477.
- Galbraith IV, Stuart (2008). The Toho Studios Story: A History and Complete Filmography. Scarecrow Press. ISBN 9781461673743.
- Glut, Donald F. (1973). The Frankenstein Legend: A Tribute to Mary Shelley and Boris Karloff. Scarecrow Press. ISBN 978-0810805897.
- Godzilla 1984 Completion (in Japanese). Hobby Japan. January 31, 2019. ISBN 978-4798618531.
- Godziszewski, Ed (July 31, 1979). "25 Years with Godzilla". Fangoria. No. 1. O'Quinn Studios Inc. ASIN B006QFM09C.
- Harryhausen, Ray; Dalton, Tony (2008). A Century of Stop Motion Animation: From Méliès to Aardman. Watson-Guptill. ISBN 978-0823099801.
- Higashino, Katusnobu (1991). Toho Monster Graffiti: Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah Completion Commemoration (in Japanese). Kindaieigasha. ISBN 978-4764880566.
- Hirsch, David (2006). Liner notes on King Kong vs Godzilla: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack. La-La Land Records. ASIN B000CBG5T2.
- King Kong vs. Godzilla Completion (in Japanese). Hobby Japan. September 24, 2021. ISBN 978-4798625669.
- Homenick, Brett; Rainey, Stephen Mark (2005). "Teruyoshi Nakano talks of Godzilla Past, Present, and Future". G-Fan. No. 71. Translated by Field, Robert Scott. Daikaiju Enterprises. ASIN B000RRUUN8.
- Honda, Ishirō; Yamamoto, Shingo; Masuda, Yoshikazu (December 8, 2010). Godzilla and My Movie Life (in Japanese) (Second ed.). Wanibooks. ISBN 978-4847060274.
- Ichikawa, Shinichi (September 13, 1996). Eiji Tsuburaya: The Film Director Who Created Ultraman (in Japanese). Shogakukan Publishing. ISBN 978-4092701076.
- Ishida, Hajime (2013). "Memories of Ishiro Honda: Twenty Years After the Passing of Godzilla's Famed Director". Famous Monsters of Filmland. No. 269. Movieland Classics.
- Iwabatake, Toshiaki (September 1994). TV Magazine Special Edition 40th Anniversary of the Birth of Godzilla Complete Works (in Japanese). Kodansha. ISBN 4-06-178417-X.
- Kabuki, Shin'ichi (1993). Godzilla Days: 40 Years of Godzilla Movies (in Japanese). Shueisha. ISBN 4087810917.
- Kalat, David (2010). A Critical History and Filmography of Toho's Godzilla Series (Second ed.). McFarland & Company. ISBN 9780786447497.
- Kaneko, Masumi; Nakajima, Shinsuke (1983). Godzilla Graph Book (in Japanese). Kondansya Publishing. ISBN 9784061724723.
- Eiji Tsuburaya's Realm of Special Effects (in Japanese). Keibunsha. August 10, 2001. ISBN 4-7669-3848-8.
- Kihara, Hirokatsu; Shimizu, Toshifumi; Nakamura, Tetsu (2010). "Godzilla" Toho Special Effects Unpublished Material Archive: Producer Tomoyuki Tanaka and His Era (in Japanese). Kadokawa Shoten. ISBN 978-4048544658.
- Kishikawa, Osamu (1994). The Second Godzilla: 1962-1964 (in Japanese). Dai Nippon Kaiga Co, Ltd. ISBN 9784499226325.
- Kishikawa, Osamu (2020). Toho SFX Movies Authentic Visual Book Vol. 51: Giant Octopus (1962-1966) (in Japanese). Dai Nippon Publishing.
- Lees, J.D.; Cerasini, Marc (1998). The Official Godzilla Compendium. Random House. ISBN 0-679-88822-5.
- Lees, J.D. (1996). "Godzilla Abroad". G-Fan. No. 22. Daikaiju Enterprises. ASIN B004IZQV1A.
- Mamiya, Naohiko (2000). Godzilla 1954-1999 Super Complete Works (in Japanese). Shogakukan. ISBN 978-4091014702.
- Morton, Ray (2005). King Kong: The History of a Movie Icon from Fay Wray to Peter Jackson. Applause Theatre & Cinema Books. ISBN 978-1557836694.
- Motoyama, Sho; Matsunomoto, Kazuhiro; Asai, Kazuyasu; Suzuki, Nobutaka; Kato, Masashi (September 28, 2012). Toho Special Effects Movie Complete Works (in Japanese). villagebooks. ISBN 978-4864910132.
- Nakamura, Tetsu; Shiraishi, Masahiko; Aita, Tetsuo; Tomoi, Taketo; Shimazaki, Jun; Maruyama, Takeshi; Shimizu, Toshifumi; Hayakawa, Masaru (November 29, 2014). Godzilla Toho Champion Festival Perfection (in Japanese). ASCII MEDIA WORKS. ISBN 978-4-04-866999-3.
- Nomura, Kohei; Fuyumon, Minoru (2016). "Godzilla" 365 Days (Movie Treasure Collection) (in Japanese). Yosensha. ISBN 978-4800310743.
- Olave, Daniel (1997). Chile v/s Hollywood (in Spanish). Grijalbo. ISBN 9789562580519.
- Ragone, August (2014). Eiji Tsuburaya: Master of Monsters (Second ed.). San Francisco, California: Chronicle Books. ISBN 978-0-8118-6078-9.
- Ragone, August; Tucker, Guy (1991). "The Legend of Godzilla: Part 1". Markalite: The Magazine of Japanese Fantasy. No. 3. Pacific Rim Publishing.
- Ryfle, Steve (1998). Japan's Favorite Mon-Star: The Unauthorized Biography of the Big G. ECW Press. ISBN 1-55022-348-8.
- Ryfle, Steve; Godziszewski, Ed (2017). Ishiro Honda: A Life in Film, from Godzilla to Kurosawa. Wesleyan University Press. ISBN 9780819570871.
- Ryfle, Steve (2016). "When We Were Kings". Famous Monsters of Filmland. No. 287. Movieland Classics.
- Shay, Don (1982). "Willis O'Brien: Creator of the Impossible". Cinefex. No. 7. R. B Graphics. ASIN B002I02404.
- Shoemaker, Greg (1979). "CLOSEUP: FAR EAST REPORT". The Japanese Fantasy Film Journal. Far East Report (12).
- Takeuchi, Hiroshi (1991). "A Walk Through Monster Films of the Past". Markalite: The Magazine of Japanese Fantasy. No. 3. Pacific Rim Publishing.
- Takeuchi, Hiroshi, ed. (April 2000). The Complete Works of Ishiro Honda (in Japanese). Asahi Sonorama. ISBN 978-4257035923.
- Takeuchi, Hiroshi (2002). Toho Special Effects Monster Movie Exclusive Photobook (in Japanese). Asahi Sonorama. ISBN 4257036516.
- Tanaka, Tomoyuki (1983). The Complete History of Toho Special Effects Movies (in Japanese). Toho Publishing. ISBN 4-924609-00-5.
- Tanaka, Tomoyuki (1984). Definitive Edition Godzilla Introduction (in Japanese). Shogakukan. ISBN 978-4092201422.
- Thorne, Ian (1977). Godzilla. Crestwood House. ISBN 978-0913940686.
- Toho Films Vol. 8. Toho Publishing. 1963.
- "Top Rental Features of 1963". Variety. January 8, 1964.
- Woods, Paul A. (2005). King Kong Cometh!. Plexus Publishing. ISBN 978-0859653626.
- Yamada, Masami; Motoyama, Sho; Tsuchiya, Rieko (1994). Godzilla Museum Book (in Japanese). ASCII Publishing. ISBN 978-4893662958.
- Yamada, Masami (1995). The Pictorial Book of Godzilla 2 (in Japanese). Hobby Japan. ISBN 978-4894251175.
- All Toho Monsters Pictorial Book (in Japanese). Yosensha. 2014. ISBN 978-4800303622.
- Mothra Movies Complete Collection (in Japanese). Yosensha. 2011. ISBN 978-4-86248-761-2.
- King Kong vs. Godzilla at the official Godzilla website by Toho
- King Kong vs. Godzilla at the official Toho website (in Japanese)
- King Kong vs. Godzilla at the official English-language Toho website
- King Kong vs. Godzilla at IMDb
- King Kong vs. Godzilla at Rotten Tomatoes
- King Kong vs. Godzilla at the TCM Movie Database
- King Kong vs. Godzilla at Movie-Censorship - detailed comparison between the Japanese and American versions of the film
- キングコング対ゴジラ (Kingu Kongu tai Gojira) at Japanese Movie Database (in Japanese)