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Godzilla and Kurosawa

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    G-Mac

    I know that from the early 50s, Kurosawa and Ishiro Honda (Director of many Golden Age Sci-Fi pictures) had a great friendship. From what I’ve gathered from certain books, Kurosawa admired Honda’s tenacity and simplicity in his story-telling. Kurosawa also highly admired the effects crew of Tsubaraya, which created some of the most prolific science-fiction films of the sixties.

    Now, after Honda was laid-off by Toho Studios in the late 60s (Due to the Oil Crisis), Akira Kurosawa was interested in making his own Godzilla picture. If the rumor was true, Kurosawa must have made the proposition after filming Red Beard. Obviously, due to production costs, Toho turned him down. Do any of you guys know if this rumor is true?

    Also, what are your thoughts on some of Ishiro Honda’s pictures? If you’ve guys haven’t seen any of his special effects films you might recognize his style from the battle scenes in Kagemusha and Ran (Which he directed). Honda’s films don’t really hold a candle to the substance of Kurosawa’s movies, but if you appreciate the story and craft at hand, you’ll have as much fun with them as you would Sanjuro, or other light-hearted flicks.

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    Vili Maunula

    G-Mac: Now, after Honda was laid-off by Toho Studios in the late 60s (Due to the Oil Crisis), Akira Kurosawa was interested in making his own Godzilla picture. If the rumor was true, Kurosawa must have made the proposition after filming Red Beard. Obviously, due to production costs, Toho turned him down. Do any of you guys know if this rumor is true?

    First of all, sorry about the late reply, G-Mac. I’ve been travelling, and the others have been fairly silent as well. It is summer, after all, at least on the Northern hemisphere.

    I, too, have at some point heard the rumours about Kurosawa’s Godzilla project, although I cannot remember where. Hoping to find out more, I now went through all the primary Kurosawa literature, but there is no mention of any such proposed project. Even Stuart Galbraith’s comprehensive Kurosawa biography makes no reference to anything like it.

    As I cannot find anything with a cursory web search either, I suppose that this is a false rumour, or a misunderstanding.

    G-Mac: what are your thoughts on some of Ishiro Honda’s pictures?

    Looking at Honda’s filmography, many of the titles are very familiar to me, but I cannot really distinguish one film from the other, or even remember which ones I have seen. My guess is that I have seen some half a dozen of his pictures, but unfortunately my memory doesn’t serve me well enough to be able to comment on them. There is, however, a thread that I opened a year or two ago after I watched the original Godzilla. You can find it here.

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    Ugetsu

    I was watching the brilliant Korean film The Host a few weeks ago – I think it was the critic A.O. Scott who said about it that every great film maker should do a monster movie. The point being, that monster movies give a great opportunity to delve into contemporary fears while still being loads of fun. So yes, I think I think Kurosawa missed a trick in not making a Godzilla film, it would have been amazing!

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    NoelCT

    I wonder if he would have had fun with GODZILLA, or paint it as a hellish nuclear holocaust like he did with “Mount Fuji in Red” from DREAMS.

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    G-Mac

    Actually, didn’t Honda film that sequence in Dreams? I know he ghost-directed a lot of Kurosawa’s later efforts.

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    NoelCT

    I don’t know if ghost-directed is the proper term. Honda resumed his old role as assistant director to Kurosawa, who was losing his eyesight.

    I think the one sequence in DREAMS that was pretty much his, though, was the one with the soldiers in the tunnell.

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