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Fascinating behind the scenes photos from the making of the first Godzilla movie, 1954

 

Godzilla, or Gojira, has been one of the most enduring and iconic kaiju (Japanese giant monsters) in popular culture. Undoubtedly, the monster created by the atomic bomb explosion has captured the imagination of people around the world.

The fiery radioactive animal, the poignant embodiment of the fear of the entire population, became a beloved international symbol of destruction, spawning nearly thirty sequels.

The film was directed by Ishiro Honda, with special effects by Eiji Tsuburaya. It stars Akira Takarada, Momoko Kochi, Akihiko Hirata, and Godzilla along with Takashi Shimura, Haruo Nakajima, and Katsumi Tezuka.

In the film, Japanese officials deal with the sudden appearance of a giant monster, whose attacks raise fears of a nuclear holocaust during post-war Japan.


Tsuburaya originally proposed for a giant octopus before the filmmakers decided on a dinosaur-inspired creature. Godzilla pioneered a form of special effects called suitmation, in which a stunt performer wearing a suit interacts with a miniature set. Principal photography lasted 51 days, and special effects photography lasted 71 days.

The film was released in 1954 and initially received mixed reviews but was again appreciated in later years. In 1956, a heavily re-edited "Americanized" version titled Godzilla, King of the Monsters! was released in the United States.

The film spawned a multimedia franchise, recognized by Guinness World Records as the longest running film franchise in history. The character of Godzilla has since become an international pop culture icon.


Godzilla was designed by Teizō Toshimitsu and Akira Watanabe under the supervision of Eiji Tsuburaya. Initially, Tanaka considered designing the monster to resemble a gorilla or whale, due to the name "Gojira" (a combination of "gorilla", gorilla, and "whale", the Japanese word for kujira), but eventually a dinosaur-like design. settled on the design.

Kazuyoshi Abe was first hired to design Godzilla, but his ideas were later rejected due to Godzilla's overly human and mammalian appearance, whose head was shaped like a mushroom cloud; However, Abe was hired to help create the film's storyboards.

Toshimitsu and Watanabe decided to base Godzilla's design on dinosaurs and, using dinosaur books and magazines as a reference, combined elements of the dorsal fins of a Tyrannosaurus, Iguanodon and a Stegosaurus.

Despite wanting to use stop motion animation, Tsuburaya reluctantly settled on Suitmation, with Toshimitsu fabricated three clay models on which the suit would be based. The first two were rejected but the third was eventually approved.


The Godzilla suit was created by Kanj Yagi, Yasui Yagi and Eiz Kaimai, who used thin bamboo sticks and wire to form a frame for the interior of the suit, and metal mesh and cushioning to strengthen its structure. added, and finally applied the coat. Of latex.

Coats of molten rubber were additionally applied to create Godzilla's scaly skins, followed by carved indentations and strips of latex affixed to the suit's surface.

This first version of the suit weighed 100 kg (220 lb). For the close-up, Toshimitsu created a small-scale, mechanical, hand-operated puppet that sprayed streams of mist from its mouth to act as Godzilla's atomic breath.


In the film, Godzilla symbolizes the nuclear holocaust from Japan's point of view and has since been culturally recognized as a strong metaphor for nuclear weapons.

Producer Tomoyuki Tanaka stated that, "The theme of the film was the terror of the bomb from the beginning. Mankind made the bomb, and now nature was about to take revenge on mankind."

Director Ishiro Honda filmed Godzilla's Tokyo stampede to reflect the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, stating, "If Godzilla was a dinosaur or some other animal, he would have just been hit by a cannonball. But if that was the equivalent of an atomic bomb, we wouldn't know what to do. So, I took the characteristics of an atomic bomb and applied them to Godzilla."

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