In Gamera: The Giant Monster, a gigantic, fire-breathing turtle awakens. He leaves his arctic prison and sets his sights on destroying Tokyo.
In short, Gamera: The Giant Monster is an enjoyable knockoff of the classic Gojira/Godzilla movie. It’s enjoyable, but not dreadfully original. However, it did spawn seven sequels, so it definitely improves over time. Also, it should be noted that this is strictly a black-and-white movie, unlike its’ sequels.
Gamera, the Giant Monster begins with a Cold War conflict. United States military fighters launch an attack on enemy bombers (presumably belonging to the USSR). This causes the detonation of an atomic bomb on one of the aircraft. The nuclear blast awakens Gamera from suspended animation in the ice. Meanwhile, a Japanese research team stumbles upon an Inuit tribe in possession of an ancient stone etching. It depicts a giant turtle, which the tribe refers to as “Gamera”.
Soon after, Gamera’s on his way to Japan, proving his destructive force and near-invulnerability. There are two things that separate him from the various other Godzilla knockoffs. He consumes flammable materials such as oil. And, he rescues a young boy, Toshio, from falling to his death.
Toshio loves all turtles. He now considers Gamera to be his special friend. He goes as far as to smuggle himself aboard, to warn Gamera of the scientists’ plans to stop him. Gamera is vulnerable to cold, at one point being frozen and knocked onto his back. But the fire-eating turtle also shoots fire from his limbs, rotating and flying through the air like a flying saucer. But his appetite for flammable materials has given the scientists an idea …
They use a trail of flammable materials to lure him to “Plan Z”. A trap to trap and launch the turtle to Mars. It actually succeeds, and the movie ends with Toshio and the various scientists waving goodbye. And Gamera flies towards Mars … until the sequel.
Cast of characters
- Eiji Funakoshi (Gamera vs. Guiron) … Dr. Hidaka
- Michiko Sugata … Nobuyo Sakurai
- Harumi Kiritachi as Kyoko Yamamoto
- Junichiro Yamashita as Aoyagi
- Yoshiro Uchida as Toshio Sakurai
- Yoshiro Kitahara as Mr. Sakurai
- Jun Hamamura as Dr. Murase
- Yoshio Yoshida as Eskimo Chief
- George Hirose as the Japanese ambassador
- Albert Dekker (Dr. Cyclops) … the Secretary of Defense
- Brian Donlevy (The Quartermass Xperiment, Curse of the Fly) … Gen. Terry Arnold
- Diane Findlay as Sgt. Susan Embers
- John Baragrey (Pardners, The Colossus of New York) … Captain Lovell
- Dick O’Neill (Wolfen) … Gen. O’Neill
- Mort Marshall … Jules Manning
- Alan Oppenheimer (Westworld 1973) … Dr. Contrare
- Steffen Zacharias (W. C. Fields and Me) … Senator Billings
- Thomas Stubblefield … J.T. Standish