Godzilla, Gojira, either way pretty scary

Happy Change of Venue Friday, the day we take a deserved amble down a path that’s not strictly legal—but a path I’d guess lawyers would enjoy.

Today, I take note of a new release of an old classic film: Gojira, the precursor to what most of us know as Godzilla.

It turns out there’s a lot more to the Gojira story than we would have guessed—so much so that the storied Criterion Collection is re-releasing the original. As the news story notes:

“The highbrow Criterion Collection, which usually traffics in the world of Hitchcock, Truffaut and Japan’s Akira Kurosawa, will add digitally restored editions of Toho Studios’ ‘Gojira’ and the watered-down American version from 1956, ‘Godzilla: King of the Monsters,’ with Raymond Burr, to its prestigious DVD and Blu-ray catalog.

“‘For viewers who grew up on the campy, silly ‘Godzilla’ movies that came later, this 1954 original is going to seem like a shock,’ says film scholar David Kalat, author of ‘A Critical History and Filmography of Toho’s Godzilla Series.’

“‘It’s like the difference between the Adam West ‘Batman’ and ‘The Dark Knight’—the basic premise is the same, but it’s so much darker and more horrific.’”

Yes, Godzilla got its own Hollywood star.

“Horrific”? Well, yes. For it is “a fearful atomic fable from expert filmmakers, a metaphor for the bombing of Hiroshima that ended World War II just nine years earlier.”

Read the whole story here. And have a great weekend.