Gigantis The Fire Monster (1959)
This time the mighty Godzilla would be pitted against another titanic creature Anguirus whose origin is never explained in the film. This as most fans know would
be the first of several Godzilla battle films.Two spotter pilots for a Japanese fish canning plant crash land on a deserted island where both Godzilla and Anguirus are already engaged in mortal combat.
During the fight the two titans plunge into the sea and disappear leaving the two onlookers amazed at what they had both witnessed. Would anybody believe
their amazing tale?The Japanese scientific community could take no chances. The two pilots were questioned thoroughly and asked to identify the monsters from a pile of sketches
of known prehistoric creatures. The scientist’s worst fears would become reality. One of the creatures was indeed another Godzilla and the other an equally
beast Anguirus. Tokyo was destroyed by just one of these monsters. How could Japan defend itself against two?
believed that the two creatures had swam past Japan. A celebration would begin.
People would relish the fact that Japan had been spared another tragedy. Their
celebration would be short lived.Anguirus would soon appear off the coast of Osaka. Once ashore the monster
would blaze a path of destruction through the city. If Anguirus was here could be
long before Godzilla would follow?The King of Monsters would take little time in tracking down it’s foe. Despite all
attempts by the Japanese military to keep the two monsters apart they would soon
again be locked in deadly combat.Godzilla and Anguirus would level Osaka.
would return to the sea.Another search would begin to locate Godzilla. Our two hero pilots would be enlisted to aid in the search effort and one of them would locate him near the
polar ice of the North Pacific.A plan was put into action to burry the monster under the ice using missiles fired from Air Force planes.Success!
The bombardment would indeed cause an avalanche that would incase Godzilla under tons of ice. Japan would once again be safe from Godzilla…….but
for how long?
The film would be released in America in 1959 as ‘Gigantis the Fire Monster”. The distributer of the film was not able to secure the rights to use the name
Godzilla so Gigantis would take it’s place.
This would not be the first attempt to bring the film to US shores. In 1957 Hary Rybnick and Edward Barison of AB-PT Pictures had struck a deal with
Toho to use footage from the film to make one of their own. The movie was to be called “The Volcano Monsters”. The story revolved around the bodies of
both Godzilla and Anguirus being discovered in a lava flow in Japan. An American company would buy the two monsters and ship them to San Francisco.
Of course the two monsters would end up being alive and break loose to wreck havoc in Chinatown. In the end Godzilla kills Anguirus and is lured to the
North Pacific where he is frozen. Could have been interesting. Only one problem. The studio folded the same year and the film never got made. Toho was
so desperate to get the film into the US market that they agreed to this project. Another odd side note to the story. Hollywood. Those costumes were never
returned to Toho and never heard of again. To this day those two costumes are somewhere here in America waiting to be found.
The film itself is a testimony on how not to edit a motion picture. Warner Bros. did the worst job imaginable on this film. The dubbing is the worst of any
Godzilla film. The voice acters get the names of the monsters confused many times. The same monster is called Gigantis in one scene and Anguirusaurus in
the next. The sound department even mixed up the monsters roars. Godzilla is seen through most the film with Anguirus’s roar coming out of his mouth. The
film itself is in fairly pour condition but still very watchable. There are a couple of scenes that get so dark that it is hard to make things out. Despite the films
condition this is still a film that has rarely been seen, mostly forgotten, so this is probably as good it will ever be. Toho itself doesn’t own a screenable print.
Acting/Dialogue: Gigantis the Fire Monster – Awful. This may be the worst dubbed film ever. None of the original dialogue would make it into the American
cut. What you end up with are lines like “Horrors in the world of science are part of nature’s plan” Even more amazing is the fact that Warner Bros. Isn’t to
blame for this. Toho actually provided the English script.
Gore:Very little. There is some blood when Godzilla bites Anguirus’s neck.
Good Points:The film itself (American cut) is a mess. Yet it is still entertaining to watch. The monster fighting although shot at the wrong speed, faster instead
of slowed down to produce the effect of mass size, is more like two animals fighting in real life. The film still has value due to it’s rarity and the fact that it is
direct sequel to Gojira. Fans should see it at least once for these facts alone. I myself do love the film for it’s camp value.
Bad Points:The film itself (Gigantis) should be shown to all film students as a “what not to do to a foreign film” lecture. Everything is done wrong. The
dialogue doesn’t match. The monsters sounds are switched. The monsters are called by the wrong names. The original score was replaced. On and on the
list goes. It just makes me wonder why so little care went into this?
Overall Rating:2 out of 5 stars. For camp and historical value
Outside Review: Barney Buckley – Godzilla Shrine (http://www.godzillashrine.com/)
Summary or Synopsis:Kobayashi and Tsukioka are part of a small fishing fleet , they are pilots for this company. While Kobayashi’s plane has problems.
Kobayashi is forced to landed on Iwato island. He is found by Tsukioka, there they stumble onto two great beasts clashing with each other. The Monsters
known as Godzilla to some and the name given to him is by Warner Brothers upon distribution is called Gigantis and the other monster is called Anguirus.
The two monsters fight until they fall into the ocean where they end up in Osaka, Japan. Gigantis eventually gets the better of Anguirus and kills the monster.
Gigantis is now traveling to an off island where he is eventually trapped in ice by jet fighters bombing the hill side that is packed full of ice and snow..
Acting/Dialogue:The acting and dialogue and dubbing is pretty accurate for its time. The acting is alot better to me then most of the newer movies they
make. Sometimes the simpler the situation the easer it is to control.
Gore:The only gore I have seen here is when Gigantis takes a bite of Anguirus. He chomped down on his neck like a vampire hungry for blood.
Good Points:Now the good points to this movie is unlike Godzilla 1954 where he plundered and destroyed Tokyo at a very calm and deliberate pace,
Gigantis is the opposite , the monsters are very swift and agile, reason for this is they (Toho Company) filmed the fight scenes at a slower speed and the rest
of the movie at the regular speed giving the monsters the impression of being very fast. Tsuburaya who was the effects director for the film studied the
movies from three different cameras all being the same speed except camera C. Tsuburaya actual liked it and left in this film and future films to come.
Another thing I liked about this film was the actual design of Gigantis suits, I am partial to the spines of this suit.
Bad Points:The one thing that sets in everyone’s mind is why the different name , well being that Warner Brothers purchased the rights to the movie , they
just did not want to fork out that extra penny for the name, and the roars are another thing in Warner Brothers Version Gigantis sounds like Anguirus at
times what’s up with that. One thing I mentioned early was the design of the suit it also has its flaws like some scenes it shows Anguirus’s carapace separate
and Godzilla seems at times in the bay coming ashore he looks like he is a on Slim fast diet.
Overall Rating:This movie is a good one to watch like the original is has a dark and eerie feel about it. But it has its weak points too. Though it is the very
movie that had Godzilla or Gigantis in this case gets his first enemy a foe who later becomes Godzilla’s friend in later movies.I will give this movie 3 zillers.
1. The fight scenes between Godzilla and Anguirus were filmed at the wrong speed. Tsuburaya wanted the scenes in slow motion, but they ended up at a
faster pace. He liked the effect so he kept the footage in the film.
2. Instead of using the original score by Masaru Sato Warner Bros. used the themes from “Kronos” (1957) and “Deerslayer” (1943).
DVD Review: Cinema Isomnia – Episode 3 – Gigantis The Fire Monster
Gigantis the Fire Monster is finally available on DVD. Hosted by Mr. Lobo for the cable program Cinema Insomnia this disk recaptures the feel of old
fashioned late night movie nostalgia. Many older readers will remember that this is how these films used to be seen in an era long before DVD, VHS, or for
that fact Cable TV. Mr. Lobo does an excellent job adding comic relief between scenes and there are a lot of good trailers and classic adds added into the
mix. Overall a great trip down memory lane for those of us who can remember and great campy fun for the younger generation. Copies of the disc are
available at Cinema Insomnia for $15.99.
Warner Bros. (Toho)
AKA: Gojira no gyakushu (1955), Counterattack of the Monsters (1959),
Gigantis (1955), Godzilla Raids Again (1959), Godzilla’s Counter Attack
(1955), Gojira Strikes Again (1955), Gojira’s Counterattack (1955), The
Return of Godzilla (1955), The Volcano Monster (1955)Directed By: Motoyoshi Oda
Written By: Shigeaki Hidaka and Shigeru Kayama
Hiroshi Koizumi as Shoichi Tsukioka
Setsuko Wakayama as Hidemi Yamaji
Minoru Chiaki as Koji Kobayashi
Takashi Shimura as Dr. Kyohei Yamane
Masao Shimura as Dr. TadokoroRuntime: 82 Minutes Japan / 78 Minutes USA
Color: Black and White / Sound: Mono
Released: April 24, 1955 (Japan)(Godzilla Raids Again)
from the cinematic gem known as “Gigantis the Fire Monster.” For those of
you out of the loop the afore mentioned movie is an Americanized version of
the rather underrated Japanese monster movie “Godzilla Raids Again” which
was the first in a long list of sequels to the original “Godzilla” (Gojira). Now I
have talked at great lengths about how this film that was produced by
Warner Bros is a complete mess so I will only touch on the subject again
briefly. To sum it up Gigantis (Godzilla) is called Anguirus (the other monster
in the film), Anguirus is called Gigantis, the monsters roars get mixed up, the
original movie score by Masaru Satō was replaced by stock music from
other films including “Creature from the Black Lagoon” and the dialogue
really has to be heard to be believed.“Horrors in the world of science are part of nature’s plan.”You’ll scratch your head for hours!Though “Gigantis” is not even on the same playing field with it’s Japanese
counterpart the film does retain a sliver of it’s charm and the love story
contained therein if you look hard enough and there is still plenty of monster
mayhem and carnage to be enjoyed.
There is also the story about how the two original Japanese made monster
suits fell into Hollywood limbo after they were shipped stateside to make
another film based on “G Raids Again” called “The Volcano Monsters” that
was to be produced by Hary Rybnick and Edward Barison of AB-PT
Pictures which went belly up before it could be made. Those two suits are
either still in the possession of a studio, which has no idea they have them, or
they are in the LA dump.
As for the photo itself it is an 8×10 printed on glossy stock paper and it’s
serial number is 59/179.
I really like the composition of this one with both Godzilla and Anguirus
going at it in the background with the three major human characters running
for their lives in the foreground.