Cast & Crew
Godzilla and his fellow monster Angurus do battle with two evil monsters hired by aliens to help them conquer Earth.
Godzilla vs. Gigan
Here, the T-Rex-like nuclear freak Godzilla teams up with sometime enemy Anguirus, a cross between armored dinosaur and bearded dragon, to defeat an invasion by alien beings disguised as theme park entrepreneurs (yes, really). Bent on taking over Earth, the aliens use King Ghidora, a bat-winged, three-headed dragon already familiar to kaiju audiences, and Gigan, a new cyborg space monster with a buzzsaw weapon in its abdomen, large metallic hooks for hands and a pincerlike jaw. We're gonna need a bigger movie!
Or are we? Apparently, the producers at Toho felt the story, already recycled in part from earlier films, could get along just fine with a minimal budget by using material from several previous pictures. Footage from other monster and sci-fi films is used liberally for the special effects sequences. The score is hobbled together from previous monster scores composed by Akira Ifukube, although singer-voice actor Susumu Ishikawa does get to sing a few tunes - "Godzilla March," "Beat Gigan" and "Go, Go Godzilla!" - newly created for this release.
The whole thing generally reeks of budget-slashing measures, from the unconvincing plastic miniatures to baby dolls subbing for department store mannequins to the threadbare Shoshingeki-Goji suit worn by Haruo Nakajima as Godzilla, already looking threadbare after its introduction only a few years earlier in Destroy All Monsters (1968).
Still, fans of Japanese monster movies find much to enjoy in this mish-mash, praising Toho for leaning in to the craziness by even having Godzilla and Anguirus talk to each other in shrieks and roars translated in comic book-style word bubbles. (The English language release includes distorted but still somewhat understandable speech.)
Mainstream reviewers may have ignored the picture when it was released stateside in 1977 as Godzilla on Monster Island, but it gets more props today, even as a so-bad-it's-good piece of entertainment. Time Out says, "If you're in the right silly mood, kind of fun" and compares Godzilla here to a broken and bloodied but still determined Rocky Balboa. ("Bloodied" is another landmark for this movie, the first in which Godzilla is seen to bleed.)
Godzilla vs. Gigan marked the final appearance of Haruo Nakajima (1929-2017) as Godzilla, a role he played since the monster's debut in 1954. He appeared in smaller roles in films by noted Japanese directors, especially six he made with Akira Kurosawa, including Seven Samurai (1954) and Yojimbo (1961). After this film, however, he made only one more appearance as a chauffeur in the disaster movie Tidal Wave (1973).
Speaking of acclaimed Japanese directors, Toho wasn't only known for its over-the-top monster flicks. In addition to much of Kurosawa's work, it also produced films by Ozu, Mizoguchi, Naruse and Kobayashi.
The full title of this film as released in Japan was Chikyū Kōgeki Meirei: Gojira tai Gaigan (Earth Destruction Directive: Godzilla vs. Gigan).
Director: Jun Fukuda
Producer: Tomoyuki Tanaka
Screenplay: Shin-ichi Sekizawa, story by Takeshi Kimura
Cinematography: Kiyoshi Hasegawa
Editing: Yoshio Tamura
Production Design: Yoshifumi Honda
Music: Akira Ifukube
Cast: Hiroshi Ishikawa (Gengo Kotaka), Yuriko Hishimi (Tomoko Tomoe), Minoru Takashima (Shosaku Takasugi), Tomoko Umeda (Machiko Shima), Toshiaki Nishizawa (Kubota, head of Children's Land), Zan Fujita (Fumio Sudo)
By Rob Nixon
Godzilla vs. Gigan
Released in USA on video.