Movie-A-Day #218: Gojira (1954).
At 8:15 a.m. local time on August 6, 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city of Hiroshima, Japan, killing more than 100,000 civilians. Two days later, a similar attack in Nagasaki killed approximately 70,000 more. Japan remains the only nation to be the victim of a nuclear attack, and its people’s resilience in the years following is remarkable. It’s also fascinating to me that one way the Japanese dealt with their unique post-nuclear anxiety was by making a wildly popular series of movies about rubber suit kaiju monsters. The first Godzilla film came out less than a decade after the bombings and has been followed by an uninterrupted stream sequels, spinoffs and imitations that has to have reached triple digits by now. Along the way Gojira/Godzilla, the giant and blindly destructive face of nuclear science run amok, turned into a benevolent protector of the Earth for outside invaders. It’s an interesting reversal.