I watched King Kong VS Godzilla early this morning. I only have a copy of the Universal International DVD which looks like the only version in the US. For some reason I never picked up a bootleg of the original movie. The US and Japanese versions are different enough that I should have one. I'll have to do something about that one of these days, huh. King Kong Vs Godzilla came out in 1962 in Japan, seven years after the last Godzilla movie, and the US version came out in 1963. Toho had done several other monster movies in that time period. This was the first time Godzilla was filmed in color and it's the first appearance of King Kong. There's a rather complicated story behind the production with people acting kind of like the people in the movie. You can read it over at the Wikipedia. I have hidden a link in this post. Ishirō Honda returns to directing Godzilla. I've read that he was impressed by the original King Kong. Eiji Tsuburaya, the special effects guy, saw the 1933 release of King Kong and got into the effects business. I have to admit to really liking King Kong right from the first viewing. It's quite the movie. Sad though. Poor Kong. In KKVG some businessman, wanting to get some attention getting publicity, captures a giant ape on an island near Japan. He wants to bring it back to Japan and show it off. You know that's going to go badly, especially since Godzilla has broken out of the icey tomb he'd been trapped in at the end of Godzilla Raids Again (1955). Big G clashes with Kong when their paths cross. There's some furious battle action but it's still a more lighthearted take on the series than the previous two Godzilla films. There are more comedic parts in the film and even the fight scenes have a goofiness to them. The studio wanted to appeal more to the kids and that didn't always help the series. Director Honda was not a fan of this but he's a powerless cog in the Japanese film world. The King Kong suit isn't one of my favorites but what are you going to do. Mostly it's entertaining.
The fourth Godzilla movie is the 1964 Mothra vs Godzilla and it's more serious than the last movie. The Classic Media DVD has both the Japanese version and the English version, and unlike the previous Godzilla films, this one wasn't changed that much. The Us release changed the title to Godzilla Vs The Thing and they ran an ad campaign with a mystery monster theme. The guy doing the commentary mentioned actually trying to guess what the monster could be with kids in his school back when the movie was released. A giant egg washes up on shore. Immediately people get up on it's shell, staking it out, fighting over it, building a building around it. There's money to be made, science to be done. The natives of Infant Island, where Mothra lives, ask for the egg back. It's a Mothra egg and it needs to come back to the island. They are refused by the people around the egg. Godzilla shows up soon after. Darn, huh. Mothra gets involved and the fight kills her. The egg hatches into a couple of Mothra larvae who seal Godzilla up in a cocoon and push him into the sea. The larvae leave for home. There are a bunch of human characters running about during all this, but they are kind of annoying at times, what with their greed and stupidity. There is some great damage done to the city and some stuff blows up pretty regularly. It's one of my favorites in the series and worth watching.