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King Kong v.s. Godzilla
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King Kong vs. Godzilla
(Kingu Kongu Tai Gojira, lit: King Kong Against Godzilla) is a 1962 tokusatsu kaiju film directed by Ishiro Honda with visual effects by Eiji Tsuburaya. Akira Ifukube, the composer for the original Godzilla (Gojira), returns to provide what many consider to be his finest score. It was the third installment in the Japanese series of kaiju films featuring the monster Godzilla. It is an eccentric departure from the visual effects style of the original 1933 film King Kong, this film features a man in a gorilla suit playing Kong instead of stop-motion animation. Godzilla, freshly released from his iceberg enclosure from the end of Godzilla Raids Again (U.S. title: Gigantis the Fire Monster) rampages through Japan. He eventually faces King Kong, brought from his island originally as a publicity stunt by the greedy head of a pharmaceutical company (played by Ichiro Arishima).

OverviewEdit

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Repairing the costumes
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Unlike the previous two films in the series King Kong vs. Godzilla overtly emphasizes comedy, both in the human and monster scenes. This is usually attributed to Eiji Tsuburaya, who wanted to move the Godzilla series in a lighter direction. The film is obviously a spoof of commercialism and the burgeoning media in Japan. Some critics also claim that Kong, and in the following film Mothra, represent the resources of the Pacific Islands with Godzilla as symbol of the United States's nuclear power. However, Kong is usually viewed as an 'American' monster (as it was an American film company that first came up with him). The portrayal of Kong by a man in a suit angered many Kong fans, due to his rather comical appearance which differs from the frightening look he had in the original.

Much of the overt comedy of the film disappears in the re-edited version released in America by Universal International. Producer John Beck cut large amounts of the Japanese footage and replaced it with new footage of American actors playing newscasters commenting on the action. The score by Akira Ifukube was also replaced with library music, much of it replaced by stock music from the movie Creature from the Black Lagoon by Henry Mancini.

The film had its roots in earlier concepts for a new Kong feature put out by Willis O'Brien in his search to fund another film starring the famous ape. In O'Brien's original proposed treatment, the gorilla King Kong fought against a giant version of the Frankenstein creature. After American producer John Beck sold the concept to Toho Studios (much to O'Brien's dismay), the Japanese executives replaced the Frankenstein monster with their own flagship giant monster, Godzilla. This was the first color feature for either monster.

PlotEdit

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Godzilla pinning down King Kong
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Godzilla and King Kong
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King Kong and Godzilla ready to battle
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Mr. Tako, head of Pacific Pharmaceuticals, is frustrated with the television shows his company is sponsoring and wants something to boost his ratings. When Doctor Makino tells Tako about a giant monster he discovered on the small Pharoh Island, Tako believes that it would be a brilliant idea "...with a punch" to use the monster to gain publicity. Tako immediately sends two men, Sakurai and Kinsaburo, to find and bring back the monster from Faro.

Meanwhile, the American submarine Seahawk gets caught in an iceberg. Unfortunately, this is the same iceberg that Godzilla was trapped in by the JSDF seven years earlier in 1955 in the movie Godzilla Raids Again. As an American rescue helicopter circles the iceberg, Godzilla breaks out and heads towards a nearby Japanese Arctic base. The base, of course, is ineffective against Godzilla. Godzilla's appearance is all over the press and makes Tako angry. As Tako is complaining about Godzilla's media hype to his employees, one of them exclaims "And... there's a movie too!"

Meanwhile on Pharoh Island, a giant octopus attacks the village. King Kong finally makes his appearance and defeats the monster. Kong then drinks some red berry juice and falls asleep. Sakurai and Kinsaburo place Kong on a large raft and begin to transport him back to Japan. Back at Pacific Pharmaceuticals, Tako is excited because Kong is now all over the press instead of Godzilla. As Tako is out of the room, one of the employees ask which is stronger between King Kong and Godzilla. Another employee responds "Stupid, it's not a wrestling match!" Tako walks back in the room and exclaims "I'll buy that idea!"

Mr. Tako arrives on the ship transporting Kong, but unfortunately, the monster then wakes up and breaks free from the raft. As Kong meets up with Godzilla in a valley, Tako, Sakurai, and Kinsaburo have difficulty avoiding the JSDF to watch the fight. Eventually they find a spot. Kong throws some large rocks at Godzilla, but Godzilla shoots his atomic ray at Kong, so King Kong retreats.

The JSDF constantly try and stop both Kong and Godzilla but are mostly ineffective. They set up some power lines filled with a million volts of electricity (compare that to the 300,000 volts Godzilla went through in the original movie). The electricity is too much for Godzilla, but it seems to make King Kong stronger. Kong attacks Tokyo and holds a woman from a train, named Fumiko, in his hand. The JSDF explode capsules full of the berry juice from Pharoh's scent and knock out King Kong and rescue Fumiko. Tako approved of this plan because he "...didn't want anything bad to happen to Kong." The JSDF then decide to transport Kong via balloons to Godzilla, in hope that they will fight each other to their deaths.

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King Kong's famous tree shove
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The next morning, Kong meets up with Godzilla and the two begin to fight. Godzilla eventually knocks Kong unconscious but then a thunder storm arrives and revives King Kong, giving him the power of an electric grasp. The two begin to fight, Kong shoving a tree in Godzilla's mouth, Godzilla lighting it on fire, burning Kong's hand. The two monsters fight some more, tearing down Atami Castle in the process, and eventually plunge into the sea. After an earthquake, only King Kong resurfaces and begins to slowly swim back home to Pharoh. As Kong swims home onlookers aren't sure if Godzilla survived the fight, but speculate that it was possible.

ProductionEdit

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A Shinto priest performs a purification ceremony prior to the start of filming.
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The film 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 vs. Frankenstein, where Kong would fight against a giant version of Frankenstein's monster in San Francisco.[1] O'Brien took the project (which consisted of some concept art[2] 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[3] when it was believed that Universal had the rights to the Frankenstein name (they actually only had the rights to the monster's makeup design). O'Brien was introduced to producer John Beck who promised to find a studio to make the film (at this point in time RKO was no longer a production company). Beck took the story treatment and had George Worthing Yates flesh it out into a screenplay. 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 name of Frankenstein in the original novel). Unfortunately, the cost of stop 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. Toho had long wanted to make a King Kong film and decided to replace the Frankenstein creature with their own monster Godzilla. They thought it would be the perfect way to celebrate their thirtieth year in production.[4] John Beck's dealings with Willis O'Brien's project were done behind his back, and O'Brien was never credited for his idea.[5] In 1963, Merian C. Cooper attempted to sue John Beck 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.[6]

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 Kaguyahime (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 a 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." [7]

Eiji Tsuburaya had a stated intention to move the Godzilla series in a lighter direction. This 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. But Tsuburaya wanted to appeal to children's sensibilities and broaden the genre's audience.[8] This approach was favoured by Toho and to this end, King Kong vs. Godzilla has a much lighter tone than the previous two Godzilla films and contains a great deal of humor within the action sequences. 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. Ishiro Honda was not a fan of the "dumbing down" of the monsters.[9] Years later Honda stated in an interview. "I don't think a monster should ever be a comical character". "The public is more entertained when the great King Kong strikes fear into the hearts of the little characters".[10] 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 this film on location in Sri Lanka, but had to forgo that (and scale back on production costs) because they ended up paying RKO roughly $200,000 (US) for the rights to the King Kong character. The bulk of the film was shot on Oshima (an island near Japan) instead.[11] The movie's production budget came out to ¥5,000,000.[12]

Suit actors Shoichi Hirose (King Kong) and Haruo Nakajima (Godzilla) were given a mostly free rein by Eiji Tsuburaya to choreograph their own moves. The men would rehearse for hours and would base their moves on that from professional wrestling (a sport that was growing in popularity in Japan).[13]

During pre-production, Ishirō Honda 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 except in a few, isolated scenes.

A brand new Godzilla suit was designed for this film and some slight alterations were done to his overall appearance. These alterations included the removal of his tiny ears, 3 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.[14] 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 fire breath. However the shots in the film where this prop was employed (far away shots of Godzilla breathing his fire during his attack on the Arctic Military base) were ultimately cut from the film.[15] These cut scenes can be seen in the Japanese theatrical trailer. Finally a separate prop of Godzilla's tail was also built for closeup practical shots when his tail would be used (such as the scene where Godzilla trips Kong with his tail). The tail prop would be swung offscreen by a stage hand.

The King Kong suit for this film has widely been considered to be one of the least appealing and insipid gorilla suits in film history [16] Sadamasa Arikawa (who worked with Eiji Tsuburaya) said that the sculptures had a hard time coming up with a King Kong suit that appeased Tsuburaya.[8] The first suit was rejected for being too fat with long legs giving Kong an almost cute look.[8] A few other designs were done before Tsuburaya would approve the final look that was ultimately used in the film. The suit was given two separate masks and two separate pairs of arms. Long arm extensions which contained poles inside the arms for Hirose to grab onto and with static immovable hands was used for long shots of Kong, while short human length arms were added to the suit for scenes that required Kong to grab items and wrestle with Godzilla.[17] Besides the suit with the two separate arm attachments, a meter high model and a puppet of Kong (used for closeups) were also built.[18][19] As well, a huge prop of Kong's hand was built for the scene where he grabs Mie Hama (Fumiko) and carries her off.[20]

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 were released. The fourth became special effects director Eiji Tsuburaya's dinner. Along with the live animals, two rubber octopus props were built, with the larger one being covered with plastic wrap to simulate mucus. Some stop motion tentacles were also created for the scene where the octopus grabs a native and tosses him.[21]

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Eiji Tsuburaya and an octopus wrangler work with a live octopus among the miniature huts.
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Since King Kong was seen as the bigger draw (at the time, he was even more popular in Japan than Godzilla), and since Godzilla was still a villain at this point in the series, it led to the decision 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 company book Toho Films Vol. 8, which states in the films plot synopsis, A spectacular duel is arranged on the summit of Mt. Fuji, and King Kong is victorious.[22]

TriviaEdit

  • Although fans of both Kong and Godzilla argue to this day, Toho has declared that King Kong was meant to win. Not only was King Kong the star and hero of the film, but Kong was much more popular than Godzilla at this time, and was the obvious choice to win audiences over. Toho confirmed Kong's victory in the press materials that they released when the film came out in 1962 that clearly says "A spectacular duel is arranged on the summit of Mt.Fuji, and King Kong is victorious".
  • A long-standing urban legend claims that the Japanese version of this film has an alternate ending in which Godzilla wins, but this was based on a misconceptions.
  • In Japan, this film has the highest box office attendance figures of all of the Godzilla series to date.
  • Not only was this the first Godzilla, or King Kong film shot in "Scope" ratio (2.35:1), but was also their first appearances in color.
  • While many fans of King Kong hated the ape's portrayal in this film, it was said that Eiji Tsuburaya deliberately made Kong comical as to not frighten young children, and make the audience root more for Kong than the frightening Godzilla.
  • The Davy Crockett, a portable rocket system for launching a small nuclear or conventional warhead, appears in the movie while still classified.
  • This movie is discussed by Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong in the Donkey Kong Country episode "From Zero to Hero", though it is not mentioned by name.
  • The picture of Kong on the US-release poster was a cropped still from the original 1933 production (during his fight with the pterodactyl), rather than as he actually appears in this film.
  • The bigger draw of the two monsters in Japan was King Kong, who at the time was far more popular there than their own monster, Godzilla.
  • King Kong's original creator, Willis O'Brien had created a treatment in the 60's called King Kong vs. Frankenstein (also sometimes refered to as both King Kong vs. Prometheus and King Kong vs. The Ginko). O'Brien planned on using stop animation, like he had in the original King Kong, to bring the monsters to life. O'Brien sparked the interest of producer John Beck with some concept art and several screenplay treatments to make the film. Unfortunately, the cost of stop animation prevented the film from being put into production. Beck took O'Brien's main idea to Toho, who was planning to make Godzilla return to the big screen after his seven year absence since Godzilla Raids Again. Toho also wanted a big movie to celebrate their thirtieth year in production. The O'Brien treatment was changed to feature Godzilla to battle King Kong instead of Frankenstein's monster.
  • In 1991, the film was to be "remade" as Godzilla vs King Kong with the names in reverse order, as part of the Hesei Series. Turner Entertainment, who claimed to be the owners of the original film, asked too much money for Kong's use, then Godzilla vs Mechani-Kong was attempted, but Turner tried to sue Toho for "Mechani-Kong being too similar to Kong". In the end, the film became Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah.
  • Ishiro Honda had toyed with the idea of using Willis O'Brien's stop motion technique instead of the suitmation process used in his films. Unfortunately, budgetary concerns prevented him from using the process. However, there are a couple of brief scenes where Honda makes use of stop motion photography. The first use of it is in the scene where the giant octopus grabs one of the natives and swings him around. Another is the scene during Kong's fight with Godzilla- it is used when Godzilla hits Kong with a jump-kick.
  • There were four live octopuses used in the scene where it fights the natives. They were forced to move by blowing hot air on them. After the filming of that scene was finished, three of the four were released. The fourth became special effects director Eiji Tsuburaya's dinner.
  • The dream project of special effects director Eiji Tsuburaya involved a giant octopus, and early designs for Godzilla himself in 1954 depicted him as a giant octopus. Although Tsuburaya's octopus design was rejected, it is likely that the giant octopus scene in this film is the fulfillment of his dream. (Tsuburaya would later shoot giant octopus scenes for two other films, Frankenstein vs. Baragon (although this scene was cut), and War of the Gargantuas.)
  • The Godzilla suit used for this film has been nicknamed "Kinggoji" . it is diffrent from the previous suits in many ways because the movie itself was had more of a sense of comedy than horror. changes included: godzilla's tiny eas being done away with, a bulkier body (again), three toes instead of four, a longer snout, a less jagged look dorsal plates, and more evended out teeth.

U.S. VersionEdit

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US Poster
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King Kong vs. Godzilla
was distributed in the U.S. by Universal Pictures, who made many alterations to the film, including recutting it and adding scenes with American actors. Among the alterations made by Universal for the North American theatrical release are:
  • Dialogue was dubbed, and it often strayed heavily from the Japanese script (jokes like "Kong can't make a monkey out of us" were by the American distributors).
  • Akira Ifukube's musical score was replaced by various Universal library music, most notably from The Creature from the Black Lagoon. (Only the jungle dance theme sung by the natives on Faro Island remains within the American version.)
  • Deleted: a farewell party for Sakurai and Farue.
  • Deleted: a scene where Sakurai plays drums while recording a commercial. Later, Farue tells him he is to go to Faro Island.
  • Deleted: most of the comic moments.
  • Deleted : Newspapers showing Godzilla's attacks.
  • The scene where Kong and Godzilla first meet is in a different time spot.
  • The climatic Earthquake is much more powerful in the U.S version which uses stock footage from the film The Mysterians in order to make the Earthquake much more violent then the tame tremor seen in the Japanese version. This footage contains the ground splitting open and massive tidal waves which flood nearby valleys.
  • Most notably, new scenes featuring United Nations reporter Eric Carter and other characters, including Dr. Arnold Johnson (a paleontologist who uses a children's dinosaur picture book to explain Godzilla's origins), and Japanese corespondant Yataka Omura were added. The characters comment on the film's action (which was comprised of the Japanese footage). However, the characters in the new scenes state facts about the main action that they cannot know, like when the expedition on Faro Island hears Kong's roar, and how Kong draws strength from electricity (although he has not done this yet in the film). They also claim that Godzilla has been hibernating in the iceburg since the Jurrasic Period, an odd claim for anyone who had seen Godzilla King of the Monsters or Gigantis the Fire Monster. (After all, when Godzilla first breaks out of the iceburg, the two men in the helecopter call it "Godzilla". In the very next scene, Eric Carter states "The world is stunned to descover prehistoric beasts exist in the 20th century.")

The American version runs 91 minutes, seven minutes shorter than the Japanese version which runs for 98 minutes.

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 his own version of the film.[23] Beck was able to line up a couple of potential distributors in Warner Brothers and Universal Pictures International even before the film began production.

After the film was completed, Beck was given a private screening of the film and didn't like the comedic aspect of the film (the original Japanese version is a satire of commercialism). He went to work on his version and tried to turn the film into a straight sci-fi story. This resulted in what would be the most altered Godzilla film from its original Japanese version to the English version in the film series history. Beck removed much of the overt comedy from the original version of the film, cutting out huge amounts of Japanese dialogue which consisted primarily of character development. He replaced this footage with newly shot scenes of Eric Carter, a UN reporter who spends much of the time commenting on the action from a UN communication satellite, as well of Arnold Johnson, the head of the Museum of Natural History in New York, who tries to explain Godzilla's origin and his and Kong's motivations.[24] The new footage was directed by Thomas Montgomery.[25]

Beck was able to secure a deal with Universal Pictures International during this time as a distributor and was able to obtain from them library music from some of their older films (music tracks that had been composed by Henry Mancini, Hans J. Salter, and even a track from Heinz Roemheld). These films include Creature from the Black Lagoon, Bend of the River, Untamed Frontier, The Golden Horde, Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman, Man Made Monster, and The Monster That Challenged the World. He used these scores to almost completely replace the original Japanese score by Akira Ifukube.[26] Beck wanted the films score to have a more western sound as he thought the original Japanese score sounded too "oriental".[13] Beck also obtained stock footage from the film The Mysterians from RKO (the film's US copyright holder at the time) which he used to not only represent the UN communication satellite but which he also used during the film's climax. Beck was unimpressed with the tiny tremor that occurs in the Japanese version when Kong and Godzilla are fighting underwater. He utilized stock footage of a massive Earthquake from The Mysterians, in order to make the Earthquake much more violent than the tame tremor seen in the Japanese version. This footage features massive tidal waves, flooded valleys, and the ground splitting open swallowing up various huts. None of this over the top carnage is seen in the Japanese version of the film.

Beck spent roughly $15,500 making his English version and sold the film to Universal Pictures International for roughly $200,000 on April 29, 1963.[23]

The English version runs 87 minutes, eleven minutes shorter than the original Japanese version.

ReleaseEdit

This film was released in Germany 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)[27][28]

In Japan, this film has the highest box office attendance figures of all of the Godzilla series to date. It sold 11.2 million tickets during its initial theatrical run accumulating ¥350,000,000 in grosses.[12] After 2 theatrical re-releases in 1970 and 1977 respectively, it has a lifetime figure of 12,550,000 tickets sold.

LegacyEdit

Due to this film's great box office success, Toho announced plans to do a sequel almost immediately. The sequel was simply called Continuation: King Kong vs. Godzilla.[29] Apparently though, the project never evolved past that announcement.

Also due to the great box office success of this film, Toho was convinced to build a franchise around the character of Godzilla and started producing sequels on a yearly basis. The next project was to pit Godzilla against another famous movie monster icon: a giant version of the Frankenstein monster. In 1963, Kaoru Mabuchi (a.k.a Takeshi Kimura) wrote a script called Frankenshutain tai Gojira.[30] Ultimately, Toho rejected the script and the next year pitted Mothra against Godzilla instead, in the 1964 film Mothra vs. Godzilla. This began an intra-company style crossover where kaiju from other Toho kaiju films would be brought into the Godzilla series.

Toho was eager to build a series around their version of King Kong but were refused by RKO.[31] They worked with the character again in 1967 though, when they helped Rankin/Bass co produce their film King Kong Escapes (which was loosely based on a cartoon series R/B had produced). That film, however, was not a sequel to King Kong vs. Godzilla.

Henry Saperstein (whose company UPA co-produced the 1965 film Frankenstein Conquers the World and the 1966 film War of the Gargantuas with Toho) was so impressed with the octopus sequence that he requested the creature to appear in these two productions. The giant octopus appeared in an alternate ending in Frankenstein Conquers the World that was intended specifically for the American market but was ultimately never used.[30] The creature did reappear at the beginning of the films sequel War of the Gargantuas this time being retained in the finished film.[32]

Even though it was only featured in this one film (although it was used for a couple of brief shots in Mothra vs. Godzilla[33]), this Godzilla suit was always one of the more popular designs among fans from both sides of the Pacific. It formed the basis for some early merchandise in the US in the 1960s, such as a popular model kit by Aurora Plastics Corporation, and a popular board game by Ideal Toys.[34]

The King Kong suit from this film was redressed into the giant monkey Goro for episode 2 (GORO and Goro) of the television show Ultra Q.[35]Afterwards it was reused for the water scenes (although it was given a new mask/head) for the film King Kong Escapes.[36]

Scenes of the giant octopus attack were reused in black and white for episode 23 (Fury of the South Seas) of the television show Ultra Q.[35]

In 1992 (to coincide with the company's 60th anniversary), Toho wanted to remake this film as Godzilla vs. King Kong [37] as part of the Heisei series of Godzilla films. However, according to the late Tomoyuki Tanaka, it proved to be difficult to obtain permission to use King Kong.[38] Next, Toho thought to make Godzilla vs. Mechani-Kong[39] but, (according to Koichi Kawakita), it was discovered that obtaining permission even to use the likeness of King Kong would be difficult.[40][41] Mechani-Kong was replaced by Mechagodzilla, and the project eventually evolved into Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II in 1993.

The film was referenced in Da Lench Mob's 1992 single "Guerillas in tha Mist".

In Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, the special effects crew was instructed to watch the giant octopus scene to get reference for the Kraken.[42]

King Kong and Godzilla were reunited again in a Bembos burger commercial from Peru.

Dual ending mythEdit

For many years a popular myth has persisted that in the Japanese version of this 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 its incorrectly stated that there were "2 endings" and that "if you see King Kong vs Godzilla in Japan, Hong Kong or some Oriental sector of the world, Godzilla wins!".[44] The article was reprinted in various issues of Famous Monsters of Filmland in the years following such as issues 51, and 114. This bit of incorrect info would be accepted as fact and persist for decades, transcending the medium and into the mainstream. For example decades later in the 1980s, the myth was still going strong. The Genus III edition of the popular board game Trivial Pursuit had a question that asked "Who wins in the Japanese version of King Kong vs. Godzilla?", and states that the correct answer is "Godzilla". As well, through the years, this myth has been misreported by various members of the media,[45] and has been misreported by reputable news organizations such as The LA Times.[23] Since seeing the original Japanese versions of Godzilla movies was very hard to come by from a Western standpoint during this time period, it became easily believable.

However, as more Westerners were able to view the original version of the film (especially after its availability on home video during the late 1980s), and gain access to Japanese publications about the film, the myth became dispelled. There is only one ending to this film. Both versions of the film end the same way. Kong and Godzilla crash into the ocean, and Kong is the only monster to emerge and swims home. The only differences between the two endings of the film are extremely minor and trivial ones:

  • In the Japanese version, as Kong and Godzilla are fighting underwater, a very small earthquake occurs. In the American version, producer John Beck used stock footage of a violent earthquake from the film The Mysterians to make the climactic earthquake seem far more violent and destructive.
  • The dialogue is slightly different. In the Japanese version onlookers are speculating that Godzilla might be dead as they watch Kong swim home and speculate that it's possible he survived. In the American version, onlookers simply say, "Godzilla has disappeared without a trace" and newly shot scenes of reporter Eric Carter have him watching Kong swim home on a viewscreen and wishing him luck on his long journey home.
  • As the film ends and the screen fades to black, Owari (The End) appears on screen. Godzilla's roar followed by Kong's is on the Japanese soundtrack. This was akin to the monsters' "taking a bow" or saying goodbye to the audience, as at this point the film is over. In the American version, only Kong's roar is present on the soundtrack.

Box OfficeEdit

In Japan, there were 11 million admissions to King Kong vs. Godzilla, the most of any Godzilla film.

Trailer Edit

King Kong vs Godzilla Trailer (In English)(02:16)
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DVD ReleasesEdit

Goodtimes Video

  • Released: May 15, 2001
  • Aspect Ratio: Full frame (1.33:1)
  • Sound: English (1.0)
  • Supplements: Production notes
  • Region 1
  • Note: Contains the U.S. version of the film

Universal Studios

  • Released: November 29, 2005
  • Aspect Ratio: Widescreen (2.35:1) anamorphic
  • Sound: English
  • Region 1
  • Note: Contains the U.S. version of the film; Only available in a two-pack with King Kong Escapes

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