July 25, 2019
The Criterion Collection Oct. 29 (order date Oct. 1) will release Godzilla: The Showa-Era Films, 1954-1975 on Blu-ray as an eight-disc set containing 15 Japanese kaiju films.
The films will be presented with high-definition digital transfers and accompanied by a slew of supplemental material, including a deluxe hardcover book with an essay by cinema historian Steve Ryfle, notes on the films by cinema historian Ed Godziszewski, and new illustrations from 16 artists.
The original Godzilla gave rise to an entire monster-movie genre (kaiju eiga), but the King of the Monsters continued defend his throne against a host of other formidable creatures. Japan’s Showa era was marked by technical wizardry, fantastical storytelling and indomitable international appeal that established the most iconic giant monster the cinema has ever seen.
The included films are:
- Godzilla (1954)
- Godzilla Raids Again (1955)
- King Kong vs. Godzilla (1963) — U.S. release version
- Mothra vs. Godzilla (1964)
- Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster (1964)
- Invasion of Astro-Monster (1965)
- Ebirah, Horror of the Deep (1966)
- Son of Godzilla (1967)
- Destroy All Monsters (1968)
- All Monsters Attack (1969)
- Godzilla vs. Hedorah (1971)
- Godzilla vs. Gigan (1972)
- Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973)
- Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (1974)
- Terror of Mechagodzilla (1975)
The films will feature uncompressed monaural soundtracks and, with the exception of King Kong vs. Godzilla, are presented in Japanese with new English subtitle translations. Godzilla and Godzilla Raids Again are presented in the original black and white. International English-language dub tracks will be available for Invasion of Astro-Monster, Son of Godzilla, Destroy All Monsters, Godzilla vs. Megalon, Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla and Terror of Mechagodzilla.
The set will also include a high-definition digital transfer of Godzilla, King of the Monsters, the 1956 American edit of the original Godzilla, and the 1962 original Japanese version of King Kong vs. Godzilla.
Other extras include:
- Audio commentaries from 2011 on Godzilla and Godzilla, King of the Monsters featuring film historian David Kalat;
- A Directors Guild of Japan interview with Ishiro Honda, director of the original film and several others in the franchise, conducted by director Yoshimitsu Banno in 1990
- Programs detailing the creation of Godzilla’s special effects and unused effects sequences from Toho releases including Destroy All Monsters;
- A new interview with filmmaker Alex Cox about his admiration for the Showa-era “Godzilla” films;
- New and archival interviews with cast and crew members, including actors Bin Furuya, Tsugutoshi Komada, Haruo Nakajima, and Akira Takarada; composer Akira Ifukube; and effects technicians Yoshio Irie and Eizo Kaimai;
- An interview with critic Tadao Sato from 2011;
- An illustrated audio essay from 2011 about the real-life tragedy that inspired Godzilla;
The boxed set will carry spine number 1,000, marking the 1,000th Criterion release, and is listed at $224.95.