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Criterion Collection Has Obtained Most of the Shōwa Era ‘Godzilla’ Films!

This could be real good news for your home video collections, Godzilla fans.

The timeline spanning from the original Godzilla in 1954 to Terror of Mechagodzilla in 1975 is referred to as the Big-G’s “Shōwa era,” and it included a total of fifteen Godzilla films produced and distributed by Toho. To date, Godzilla (’54) and Godzilla: King of the Monsters (’56) are the only films from that era to join the prestigious Criterion Collection, but that may soon be changing.

As reported by Godzilla-Movies.com, Janus Films and the Criterion Collection have obtained the rights to most of the Shōwa era Godzilla titles!

Janus Films and the Criterion Collection have the rights to these Godzilla films and Starz is licensing them from us,” Criterion’s Jon Mulvaney told the site. “We hope to make them available on other platforms in the future. Please stay tuned!

The films currently streaming on STARZ under Janus Films/Criterion are:

  • Godzilla (1954)
  • Godzilla Raids Again (1955)
  • Godzilla: King of the Monsters (1956)
  • Rodan (1956)
  • Mothra vs. Godzilla (1964)
  • Ghidorah: The Three Headed Monster (1964)
  • Invasion of Astro-Monster (1965)
  • War of the Gargantuas (1966)
  • Son of Godzilla (1967)
  • Destroy All Monsters (1968)
  • All Monsters Attack (1969)
  • Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973)
  • Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla (1974)
  • Terror of MechaGodzilla (1975)

At this time, we can’t be sure that these films will be released on home video by Criterion, but it seems to us like there’s a pretty good chance of that soon happening!

For now, reports Godzilla-Movies.com, “some of the Godzilla films streaming on STARZ use prints never before seen in North America as well as new subtitles.”



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COMMENTS

45 Comments
  • Flu-Like Symptoms

    Interesting. It’s been my perception that Criterion restoring the original Gojira and the US cut was kind of like a god-send or a fluke and G fans should be happy we got it. Strange they’d pick up the rights to the much less impressive vs titles of the 60’s and 70’s. Wonder what they’ll do with them.

    • oblivious247

      boxset like Zatoichi seems the best option

    • AlanMorlock

      Its always important to remember that despite how they are treated, rather than a canon, Criterion is a distributor, no different from Twilight Time or Scream Factory.

      Criterion often times makes its money by providing releases for movies that are underserved by other distributors. I’ve seen comments from people wishing filmmakers like John Carpenter would get into the Criterion Collection. That he isn’t isn’t a sleight against him or his films. They just already have exhaustive and well done releases from Scream Factory. The Showa films are rather spotty on bluray. Bringing many of them together would likely be a good fit.

      • Agreed and seconded that they don’t represent a “canon” of film making. They mostly serve niche markets. Freaking Armageddon (Michael Bay) got a Criterion DVD release. And while I loved it, I don’t think you’d find too many historians arguing that John Waters Multiple Maniacs is classic, essential film making.

        But i love the fact that hey often work to find movies that have only a small demand and give them the best release possible, and they don’t seem to ever go half-way about doing it. They dig out extras, do restorations, and try to put the best package possible together. So I’m typically happy to pay the premium for the films I get from them, though I’m not obsessive about having every one of their films, because some are simply nothing I want to see.

  • Maegnarval

    How about these movies as well, Criterion?

    1954 Invisible Man

    1955 Half Human

    1958 H-Man

    1959 Battle in Outer Space

    1960 The Human Vapor

    1961 Mothra

    1962 King Kong Vs. Godzilla (with the Restored found Footage)

    1962 Gorath

    1963 Atragon

    1963 Matango

    1964 Dogora

    1965 Frankenstein Vs Baragon

    1966 Ebirah, Horror from the Deep (Kracken Releases has this
    one)

    1966 War of the Gargantuas (With alternate ending included,
    The lady talking to the young boy about why the surviving Gargantua is sad)

    1967 King Kong Escapes (with the Restored found footage)

    1969 All Monsters Attack (Godzilla’s Revenge) (I think
    Kracken Releases has this one)

    1969 Latitude Zero

    1970 Space Amoeba (Yog, Monster From Space)

    1971 Godzilla Vs Hedorah (the Smog Monster) (I think Kracken
    Releases has this)

    1971 Lake of Dracula

    1972 Godzilla Vs Gigan (I think Kracken Releases has this)

    1973 Submersion of Japan (Tidal Wave)

    • Daniel Baldwin

      Two of those are already on the list above and the Kraken Releasing titles look great as is. Extras would always be nice, of course, but I’m not particularly expecting too many extras for the films that Criterion is doing. This feels like a boxed set in the making. Something that will port over past extras and maybe have a couple new ones (if we’re lucky).

      As for the rest of the titles you mentioned, most of the US rights for them are with either Sony or Universal. Perhaps if these do well, Criterion would consider a second batch on down the road, but I’m not holding my breath.

      • Mamet006

        Criterion has never had any issue licensing Sony or Universal films.

        • Maegnarval

          The above mentioned movies being part of a second and third boxed set would be awesome!

    • Minya

      Great list! What Restored found footage do you speak of with the Kong movies?!

      • Maegnarval

        Ok, I found a mention about it here, It is for “King Kong Vs Godzilla” and “Battle in Outer Space”. So far only the American Cut of “King Kong Vs Godzilla” and “King Kong Escapes” have been released on dvd/blu-ray here. So it would be cool to see the Japan version with the restored footage! See video clip about it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cXjTtGXYebo

        • Minya

          Fantastic! Thank you my friend.

    • Rzzzz

      Yeah ! What Maegnarval said !!

    • RyGuy

      King Kong vs Godzilla and King Kong Escapes are owned by Universal.

      • Maegnarval

        I’m sure Universal could have Criterion make the new blu-rays/4K discs of those two movies for them. The big plus and reason for them to do this, would be to get the original Japanese prints of the films, along with the restoration of the found, lost footage.

  • Steve Mills

    No “Godzilla’s Revenge”?! C’mon! I’d love to see that cleaned up a bit. Just don’t ruin the dubbing. These films would suck with “improved” dubs.

    • Constantine Furman

      “All Monsters Attack” is “Godzilla’s Revenge”

    • TheBaconBowl

      It’s on there under its international title, “All Monsters Attack” which has been the preferred home video titled for the film for the last decade.

      • Steve Mills

        That’s too bad. I prefer Godzilla’s Revenge. That’s the big title for the 2002 DVD I have, with “All monsters attack!” in small type at the top, like it’s a slogan, not a title.

  • Tan Shearer

    Don’t believe the hype. Criterion are just another DVD/Blu-ray company they’re not special in anyway or “prestigious”. No need to double dip or spend a ridiculous amount of money on their version at all. Nothing wrong with the older DVDs.

    • Callie Stratton

      Uh…so Godzilla 1954 and King of the Monsters restored themselves right?

      • Tan Shearer

        I have the older cheaper DVD and it’s completely fine.

        • Callie Stratton

          You realize they didn’t just slap it on to a Blu-ray?? They legitimately restored the film to the best quality it could be, along with including both versions…hell on Amazon the DVD is 17$ and the Blu-ray that’s HD, restored both audio wise and visually, has proper subtitles, and even the American version of the original Godzilla is literally just 22$

          Criterion does some great work and it’s great to see a majority of films fall under one company in the u.s rather than copyright bingo with multiple different films, which is still an issue for films like Biollante, v.s King Kong etc etc

          • Tan Shearer

            Blu-rays have always looked weird to me. I much prefer the aged look, what’s the point of trying to pretend a film is newer than it actually is? Let is age gracefully. Films have grain because they’re old, why do we need to pretend they’re not? I have no problem watching VHS and early DVDs in fact a lot of times they look better than Blu-rays. Getting to sound, sound on Blu-rays suck they’re not mixed properly when I watch Blu-rays I find myself constantly having to turn the volume up and down when it switches from dialogue to music. VHS and DVDs tend to be mixed properly so the music isn’t 10 times louder than the dialogue. Part of the reason I still use cassette tapes is because of the terrible remastering done on CD releases. Just making everything as loud as possible till it clips instead of mixing it properly.

          • Callie Stratton

            Analog film is an EXTREMELY high resolution format and that’s why you can get high resolution releases of old films if I’m right eventually you could get 8K resolutions from old film

            The only thing noticable in film is physical degradation which criterion fixes and grainiess which admittedly isn’t as present in DVD or VHS (which aren’t even 16:9 typically so the image gets cut off) because the resolution is so low

            Not to mention Blu Ray isn’t a magical movie format Blu-ray is literally an optical storage media you can put whatever you want on them, any bad mixing is purely the fault of the company releasing said film

            With the original Gojira Criterion literally had access to original film reels and composited and restored them to the best available version, the audio is fine though the original Gojira doesn’t even have mixing since it’s in Mono.

            If criterion keeps this level of quality for releases we can finally have an affordable copy of son of Godzilla released in the u.s that isn’t in some weird 4:3 format
            Criterion is a God send for out of print DVDs that were lower quality to begin with

          • Tan Shearer

            Well i’m perfectly fine with watching grainy films. Doesn’t bother me at all. They won’t be getting my money especially seeing as I already have said films on DVD. Some are bootlegs but they look and sound fine.

          • Maegnarval

            I have all the Godzilla and other Toho Kiaju on dvd (all official) as well and on blu-ray too. The blu-rays are so much better, watching on a 4K TV! Now to see if Shin-Godzilla gets a 4K release in the U.S. then i’ll get it and it will be my first 4K Kiaju disc! Someone Mentioned the Zatoichi blu-ray Set, in another post, I highly recommend that one as well!

          • Steve Mills

            You must be watching on a tiny piece of shit TV if DVDs look fine and Blu-rays look weird. Glad my equipment is a helluva lot better than yours.

          • Tan Shearer

            My TV is around 40 inches.

          • Kerry Maxwell

            That’s plenty big enough if you sit within 6-8 ft. At that scale, the DVD vs BD difference isn’t life-changing in itself, but in many cases the print and transfer is improved in it’s trip to BD. There is no “look” to Blu-Rays, if there is, you need to take a close look at all the settings in the devices in the chain. The sound issue you complain about is from uncompressed audio, not poor mixing, you’re just accustomed to poor dynamic range.

          • Kerry Maxwell

            You actually get far more grain on blu-rays than you do on DVDs. Easily an order of magnitude.

          • Excellent response.

          • Rich Mackey

            I love the fact that there is at least one lady out there who knows her shit about Godzilla/kaiju films, Bravo Callie!!

          • I use to feel the same way about the visual part on BluRays–they looked so artificial. Then I read an article on here from a horror director that said you needed to shut off one of the auto controls that is usually default on on the TVs. Unfortunately, I can’t remember the name of it, but once I went in and shut that control off, the picture looked amazingly crisp and clear without having that weird “hyper-real” look that made everything seem fake.

            As for the sound–if it possible that you need to re-balance the levels on your speakers? I’ve never found myself having an issue with what you’re talking about. All i can think is that you may need to boost the volume on your center channel (where most of the quieter, dialogue-driven portions play) and lower it in your front and surround channels) where the score and effects sounds tend to be processed).

            Not trying to say you’re wrong, by the way, just hoping to offer a way for you to get more enjoyment from your blu-rays, especially since there are still some releases that are blu-ray only.

          • Rzzzz

            And I like to hand wash my clothes, they come out cleaner….

          • Peter Winkler

            None of the Godzilla films are in danger of losing their copyright. Toho zealously protects their rights and is very litigous.

          • Callie Stratton

            In Japan.
            In the u.s the films are ridiculously scattered
            Biollantes been out of print for years because it’s owned by miramax/lionsgate

            1984/85 is still only available recently and even then no Blu Ray of the American cut exists due to new world pictures

            While the rest of the heisei being owned by Sony I believe, King Kong being universal pictures and a few other films scattered I can’t seem to remember

          • RyGuy

            All the Godzilla films in the 90s, pre-2005 and 2016 are owned by Sony (as TriStar Pictures owned licence to produce American films until 2005 and Sony Pictures Television recently bought 95% of Funimation)

    • Rzzzz

      Do you do a lot of drugs?

  • Howard S.

    I hope they’ll get Frankenstein Conquers the World (aka Frankenstein vs. Baragon) because it’s the companion piece to War of the Gargantuas and it’s a hell of a nutty good movie!

  • If these all come out as Criterion editions, I’m going to be broke forever.

  • Rich Mackey

    It would be nice if Son of Godzilla and Destroy All Monsters also had their AIP/Titan dubs as well.

  • FeministFriendly

    Those are the good ones.

    Maybe becasue I dont have the same perspective that I did when I was a kid anymore, I dont like pro-rasslin anymore either, I’m just not really into the new Godzillas. Final Wars was fun though, mostly for all the cameo’s and the new Gigan designs.

  • Rzzzz

    Ok Criterion, just tell me how much the ransom is and I will pay it. ESPECIALLY for War of the Gargantuas. If you could port over the extras from the non english friendly Japanese blu, I will pay whatever you ask…..

  • RyGuy

    Universal wasted a huge opportunity by not doing it themselves

  • Slackr loves music

    Yay!

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