Saturday, March 26, 2011

Rodan (1956)

Rodan, released in Japan as Sora no Daikaijū Radon (空の大怪獣 ラドン?, lit. "Radon, Giant Monster of the Sky"), is a 1956 tokusatsu film produced by Toho Studios. It was the studio's first daikaiju eiga filmed in color (though Toho's first color tokusatsu film, Madame White Snake, was released earlier that year). It is one of a series of "giant monster" movies that found an audience outside Japan, especially in the United States, where it was originally released as Rodan! The Flying Monster! Deep underground, miners are attacked by a clutch of prehistoric insects (Meganulon) which escape to the surface after a massive earthquake. The Meganulon in turn are fed upon by a pair of enormous flying reptiles called Rodan. Once all the Meganulon are devoured, the Rodans begin preying on humans, ultimately destroying a city and terrorizing the entire world. The Japanese military locates the Rodans lurking in a cavern and launches a missile barrage which triggers a volcanic eruption. The Rodans attempt to escape, but one succumbs to the forces of the eruption and plummets to earth. The other, refusing to abandon its mate, joins it in the fiery lava. The King Brothers' theatrical release of Rodan was quite successful in its first run in the United States. It was the first Japanese movie to receive general release on the West Coast to make a strong showing at the box-office.1 It later received the biggest TV advertising campaign given to a film to that date on New York's NBC flagship station WRCA-TV, where a series of commercials running 10 to 60 seconds were shown for a week before the film's opening. It grossed an estimated $450,000 to $500,000 during its opening weekend at 79 theaters in the New York City metropolitan area. Several theatrical circuits, including RKO, announced that Rodan broke the records for a science-fiction film. George Takei, better known as Lt. Hikaru Sulu in the original Star Trek series, was one of the many voice actors employed for this film. The only other Kaiju film for which he performed voice work was Godzilla Raids Again. The main narration provided by the character of Shigeru was voiced by actor Keye Luke with additional voices provided by veteran voice actor Paul Frees.

82 MIN

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