Like many people, I'm only familiar with the American version of this film; this is another example of new footage added on later, much of it following the pattern of the American version of Godzilla
(1956) - here we also see scenes of a journalist commenting on the action, but it's more pedestrian; it's a TV news guy who pops up periodically, speaking to some audience from the safety of a TV studio. My main gripe with the film is that much of it just treads water until the big showdown, which is just the final 10 minutes. There are some interesting scenes, however, even the beginning - a shot of the Earth with eerie music, as if we're about to see a world-shaking event; maybe it was.
Below are the covers of a couple of DVD releases; check out the one on the right: the image of Kong is not from this film, but from the 1976 film version King Kong
. Hm, wonder why? This reminds me: I recently read that marketing people back in '63 would not use images of the Kong in King Kong vs. Godzilla
on the posters back then either. Guess I'm not the only one who doesn't like the Kong suit in this one. The plot actually follows a continuity: Godzilla emerges from the ice, where he was buried at the end of Godzilla Raids Again
(55). However, the added American footage contains dialog which infers that Godzilla had awakened from a millions-of-years slumber. Godzilla is also described as a possible combo T-Rex & Stegosaurus.
I probably first watched this on TV in the mid-seventies and assumed that the two monsters were equal in popularity, perhaps even that Godzilla was bigger in Japan. I didn't find out until much later that Kong was much more popular in the early sixties, even in Japan. This film, the first in color for both, was the 3rd one for each but Kong's legend stretched back a good 30 years by that point, while Godzilla was still a villain, introduced less than a decade earlier. My memory is a little hazy going back to the seventies but I think I rooted for Godzilla anyway - if just so slightly. It must have been that damn Kong suit - there was something 'off' about it, even to these very young eyes. And Godzilla behaved like more of a bad-ass in the film; Kong got more aggressive in the 2nd half of their battle but in the early going, Godzilla seemed like the one to beat, the ultimate monster which made even the huge gorilla a bit nervous.Stop-motion animation alert
! Yeah, most of this is men-in-suits but there is a brief use of the W O'Brien
technique when Godzilla seems to support itself on its tail and drop-kicks Kong with both feet. It's not very well done but I still recall how those couple of seconds stood out for me when I was a kid - mostly as a 'what th..?
' reaction. Also, if anyone here wonders why some of the giant Octopus scenes looked so good, it's because... it was a real octopus. Godzilla would return in Mothra vs. Godzilla a.k.a. Godzilla vs. The Thing
(1964). Kong would be back in King Kong Escapes
(1966). BoG's Score
: 6 out of 10