Friday, October 22, 2010

Fright Flix presents: "Gamera the Invincible"!

I have to confess that watching these "giant monster" movies from Japan is still one of my most cherished guilty pleasures. Yeah, I know that they were goofy, with some guy in a big rubber monster suite smashing through plastic and foam sky scrapers and horribly over dubbed sound tracks, but I still enjoy watching these B-movie imports. While many consider "Godzilla" to be their favorite monster of this genre, I always was partial to the big turtle-like monster known as Gamera
Gamera (1965)
Giant Monster Gamera (Literal English translation)

Gamera, a.k.a. Gamera the Invincible, was the first of the Japanese monster movies to feature a child in the lead role, and the last of the genre to be filmed in black and white. Gamera was also the only movie in the series to be released to theatres in the United States, unlike the following installments of the series which were only shown on American television, with new footage featuring Brian Donlevy and Albert Dekker added.
It is a period of war, and an aircraft equipped with nuclear weapons is shot down in the Arctic. The plane crashes and causes a nuclear blast, awakening the giant prehistoric turtle, Gamera. Gamera attacks a nearby ship, then heads to Japan, where he destroys a geothermal power plant. A plan to temporarily freeze the creature and turn it on its back using explosives proves unable to stop it, and Gamera heads for Tokyo and wreaks havoc on the bustling metropolis. A new plan to use a trail of fire to lure the giant turtle into a rocket that will be shot into space is put into effect, but just as Gamera begins to follow the trail, rain begins to fall and extinguishes the trail.
Shot in Black and White, this film is obviously "the start of it all." At least it is for Gamera. The common opinion that Gamera was just weak competition for Godzilla is starts here, too. The first Godzilla film was in b&w and the only kaiju in the film was the title creature. Also, the first film could bea singular contained film - complete with a definite beginning and end . Primarily this is a giant-moster-on-the-run-rampage movie. While Gamera is destroying Japan, mankind must decide how to get rid of him. They shoot him into outer space with a giant rocket-cage. I guess I can't complain about any logic being thrown out the window; I love these films! I think that I'd rank Daikaiju Gamera film in the lower half of my famorite Gammy movies. The treatment is more serious than following films like Gamera vs. Guiron and Gamera vs Zigra, but we do get to see some of that "Friend of All Children" vein in this episode of the Gamera series.
This was the only film in the original Gamera series to be released to American theaters. It was originally presented in America by World Entertainment Corp. and Harris Associates, Inc. who re-named the film Gammera the Invincible. All subsequent entries in the series were released directly to television by American International Productions Television. Gammera the Invincible's American premiere was in New Orleans on December 15, 1966. Gammera the Invincible was heavily re-edited from its original Japanese version. Scenes were moved around and some were deleted completely. New footage featuring American actors was spliced in to create a more international feel and to replace scenes shot in the original cut featuring American extras with poor acting. These new scenes featured actors such as Albert Dekker and Brian Donlevy. The film was dubbed by Titan Productions, Inc. It features the voices of Jack Curtis and Peter Fernandez, who are best known as voices on Speed Racer and Ultraman.
An atomic explosion awakens Gammera--a giant, fire-breathing turtle monster--from his millions of years of hibernation. Enraged at being roused from such a sound sleep, he takes it out on Tokyo.

ATTENTION! This movie is...

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