King Kong vs. Godzilla (1963)

King Kong vs. Godzilla (1963)

“If we do not destroy Godzilla soon, the monster will destroy us all.”

Shortly after Godzilla is accidentally released from his icebound habitat, representatives (Tadao Takashima and Yû Fujiki) from a pharmaceutical company stumble upon King Kong on Faro Island and decide to bring him back to Japan for publicity purposes. What will happen when Godzilla and King Kong encounter one another?

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Japanese Films
  • Mutant Monsters

This third entry in the Godzilla franchise brought together two literal giants of the big screen: Godzilla (first introduced in 1956’s Godzilla, King of the Monsters!) and King Kong (first seen in 1933’s King Kong). Unfortunately Kong’s rendering was taken away from the brilliant hands of his original creator, Willis O’Brien, instead turning into what DVD Savant refers to as “an immediate source of derision”. He adds that “Toho had made ape suits before but this one is truly pathetic. The instructions seem to have been to not frighten 4-year-olds, and to slap it together in 24 hours.”

Meanwhile, lengthy sequences taking place on Faro Island feature the disturbing use of Japanese actors in blackface:

Partially redeeming this silly flick are effective use of a real-life octopus to simulate a gigantic one, and the final duke-out between two of cinema’s most formidable monster foes. However, this one is really only must-see for diehard Godzilla or Kong fans.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • The impressive octopus special effects
  • King Kong and Godzilla’s battle on Mount Fuji

Must See?
No; only fans of the series need to check this one out.


3 thoughts on “King Kong vs. Godzilla (1963)

  1. ⭐️⭐️⭐️ out of ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

    Infinitely superior to the US edit; a lavish, funny, satirical swipe at Japanese media and commercialism … and monsters smashing shit up real good! What’s not to love?

    The first big, splashy, more comedic, widescreen Godzilla flick was also a prestige family film made to join the 30th anniversary of Toho studios. However, it had some American money in it (Universal) and the the Americans cut out about 40 minutes of the original 97 and shot cheapo new footage of UN officials and news anchors discussing the situation. Most of the original satire on Japanese media was filleted out or rewritten in the English dub. The newly shot bits are really silly and don’t feel at all like proper news broadcasts. The US re-edit is very inferior.

    I rate the original as an enjoyable Godzilla effort; funny, exciting, gorgeous to look at and with typically superb SPFX … it was also THE biggest moneymaker in the series. The 91 minute US version feels lumpy and dumbed down, and the original was hardly Dostoevsky to begin with. It’s also saddled with overly familiar Universal International music cues like the very recognisable main theme from Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954).

    A fun film but not must see for FFs.

  2. First viewing. Not must-see. Only for Godzilla series fans, who will know what to expect.

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