King Kong vs Godzilla, 1962
No one will mistake King Kong vs Godzilla for high art — and that’s fine; it doesn’t pretend to be anything other than enjoyable silliness. It’s two men in rubber suits, fighting in choreographed style — shades of professional wrestling. The movie has a comically foolish executive decide to use King Kong for advertising. And he decides to bring the real deal to Tokyo. At roughly the same time, Godzilla is released from an icy tomb. He heads back to Tokyo for the inevitable slugfest.
Although the two monsters are roughly evenly matched, Godzilla clearly has an advantage in long range attacks with his atomic breath. And so, the producers give Kong a brand-new ability. Both drawing power from lightning, and being able to attack with it.
As I say, it’s enjoyable fare, light and silly and fun — excellent for a rainy Saturday morning.
Editorial review of King Kong vs Godzilla, courtesy of Amazon.com
The two mightiest monsters of all time battle in the thrilling adventure classic, King Kong vs. Godzilla. When an underhanded pharmaceutical company goes to a remote tropical island to steal King Kong for advertising purposes, they get more than they bargained for when the gigantic ape attacks an unsuspecting village and an enormous octopus. Meanwhile, far below the sea, a submarine crew unleashes reptilian terror when they melt a block of ice and release the ferocious Godzilla from his icy lair. When both destructive monsters descend on Tokyo, it’s a fight that holds the future of mankind in the balance in this knock-out film that was the first theatrical release to bring its larger-than-life contenders to the big screen in glorious color.
Trivia for King Kong vs Godzilla
- There were four live octopuses used in the fight sequence with Kong and the natives, as well as a plastic model. Hot air was blown on them to get them to move and after the filming of the scene was finished, most of them were released except for one. Which Eiji Tsuburaya had for dinner.
- This film marks a number of firsts for King Kong and Godzilla films. It was the first time either King Kong and Godzilla were filmed in color and the first time either filmed in wide-screen. This film was also the third film for both King Kong and Godzilla. However, this film isn’t considered a sequel to the original King Kong or Son of Kong.
- The comical businessman is named “Tako,” which means “octopus,” a recurring motif in the film both literally and figuratively.
- Although fans argue to this day, Toho has declared that King Kong was meant to win. Kong was much more popular than Godzilla at this time, and was the obvious choice to win audiences over.
- During the final fight between King Kong and Godzilla, King Kong tries to shove a tree down Godzilla’s throat. This is a tribute to the fight between Kong and the Tyrannosaurs Rex from the original King Kong (1933). A famous publicity still from that encounter shows Kong shoving a tree into the T-Rex’s mouth.