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Comments about the soundtrack for Godzilla (1954) (Akira Ifukube)

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Filmtracks Sponsored Donated Review
• Posted by: Mike Karis   <Send E-Mail>
• Date: Sunday, May 3, 2009, at 7:17 a.m.
• IP Address:

(The following donated review by Mike Karis was moved by Filmtracks to this comment section in May, 2009)

Godzilla (1954): (Akira Ifukube) When I first saw the original Godzilla during the film's 40th anniversary, I was shocked at what I saw and heard. The special effects were good for their time, but scorewise, before I saw the film, I was expecting a (slightly) cheesy score like Mothra (1961). But I was wrong. But that's more of a compliment than insult. Akira Ifukube had started his career in 1948, but it wasn't until Godzilla that film scoring became popular in Japan, similar to John Williams' score to Star Wars. And this score proves that Akira could very well be the Japanese equalivent of John Williams.

We start off with the Main Title, an action-oriented piece very good to listen to. Footsteps (Track 2) is mostly sound-FX, with Godzilla's roar and footsteps, which Akira also created too, in addition to the music! Track 6 serves as source music for the Odo Island ritual for the beast known as Godzilla, where, according to legend, a young island girl is sacrificed to the creature. Many ancient Japanese instruments are used for this track. The first and second Frigate Marches are very good, and are also used in several Godzilla sequels. Storm on Odo Island serves as action music, similiar to the action music John Williams would later use for Jaws!

From Track 11 on out, it's mostly more action music. Godzilla Comes Ashore is very slow moving, from what I remember seeing in the film. (Note: I don't own this disc, but I have heard the music for myself.) Track 17 (Prayer For Peace) I believe is the main highlight of this score as a women's chorus sings a funeral-esque hymn amongst visual images of the destroyed city of Tokyo. 45 years later, this choral pattern is repeated in the film Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, in "Duel Of The Fates." Track 19 leads to the film's climax, where Godzilla is destroyed, and humanity is spared. From what I can remember hearing in the (altered American) film, the Ending is a reprise of Track 17.

All in all, a great, not to mention new, listening experience. The sound quality I guess is good, but don't take my word for it. The film was altered for American release, with Perry Mason's Raymond Burr, so the score is kinda messed around with, but most of it is the same as the Japanese version (at least from what I saw in the track listing). Go for it! *****

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