The 1961 Toho film Mothra, モスラ or Mosura, is on my tv this morning. I hadn't seen it in a while, at least since I picked up that Toho Collection 3 movie dvd set in 2009. I might have forgotten if I watched it between then and now, I've seen it so many times I've lost count. It's the first appearance of the giant but rather unattractive larva that would grow into the beautiful but deadly Mothra. There would be 14 more movies, some tv work and plenty of video games. Not to mention toys. All those toys. The 1961 movie is directed by Ishirō Honda with special effects by Eiji Tsuburaya and screenplay by Shinichi Sekizawa. They'd work together on several more movies. The movie opens with a ship struggling to stay afloat in a bad storm. They are near Infant Island when they go down. Someone rescues them and since the area is home to Atom Bomb tests by the fictitious Rolisican government they are sent to see some doctors and scientists. Oddly they suffer no radiation and appear healthy. They mention some natives gave them some berries. The scientists are puzzled since the islands there are supposed to be uninhabited.
A joint Japanese and Rolisican expedition of scientists heads for the island. On board is a greedy and crooked Rolisican man named Nelson. When the Mothra girls are discovered they pass along the message that they don't want any atomic testing on their island. The group agrees and leaves. Nelson returns and kidnaps the Mothra girls. Angered, the natives attack but his gang has machine guns and they escape with the girls. Nelson plans to put the Mothra girls on display for cash and in their first preformance the girls sing the Mothra song and alll those Humba humbas cause the Mothra egg to hatch. The larva leaves Infant Island and swims for Tokyo> Some damage ensues, at least until the larva cocoons up in the ruins of the Tokyo Tower and becomes a butterfly. Things get too hot for Nelson and he heads for his homeland with Mothra flying not too far behind. Massive damage to the Rolisican city of New Kirk follows. Eventually the girls and Mothra are united and they head back for their island paradise. I suppose the only people who benefit from giant monsters are the people who get the contracts to rebuild the damaged buildings. It's a highly entertaining movie, lots of different things going on, plenty of great scenery and beautiful colors with a healthy bit of collateral damage. Nice music too. It's one of my favorite of the Japanese monster movies.
Next up is 妖星ゴラス Yosei Gorasu or Calamity Star Gorath. The 1962 movie was called Gorath in the US and the company that released The Human Vapor released this on a double bill. They went out of business in 1969 and another company bought the films to show on tv. I haven't seen the US version that I know of. I have a dvdr I made from the Video Dakaiju VHS tape that I bought several years back. Neither version has a dvd release in the US, other than bootlegs.
The Japanese space program sends a manned space ship to Saturn but before it arrives at the ringed planet it gets sent to investigate the fiery planet Gorath. The planet has a mass that makes it really heavy and it's also on a collision course with the Earth. The space ship is caught in the pull of Gorath's gravity and plunges into the surface of the planet. Everyone is sad for a while but they carry on and a second ship is sent to Gorath to investigate. On earth the scientists are building a series of giant rocket engines in the south pole to push the Earth out of Gorath's path. The space ship returns. Even though it's a straight up science fiction story we can't be too long without a monster. A giant walrus attacks the rocket engine site but it's soon killed. That walrus attack is the only scene that gets cut for the US version. The Earth gets saved and the people plan to rebuild an even better Tokyo. Sounds like someone's getting a nicer, fatter building contract than they thought they were. It's a fairly decent SF film that you might not be able to take too seriously but I still find it entertaining. There's a lot of space stuff, action on the ground and near death for the whole world. Someday maybe it will turn up in the US and I can get a copy. You can find it as a bootleg on the internet if you go looking.