War of The Gargantuas

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War of the Gargantuas Poster
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Also Known As

  • La Guerre des monstres (Belgium) (dubbed version) (French title) / France
  • Adventure of Gargantuas
  • La Batalla de los simios gigantes (Spain)
  • Duel of the Gargantuas
  • Frankenstein - Zweikampf der Giganten (Germany)
  • Frankenstein hyökkää (Finland)
  • Frankenstein's Monsters: Sanda vs. Gailah
  • Frankenstein's Monsters: Sanda vs. Gaira (literal English title)
  • Katango (Italy)
  • King Kongarnas krig (Sweden)
  • Kong, uragano sulla metropoli (Italy)
  • Les Monstres des planètes secrètes (France) (video title)
  • De Oorlog der monsters (Belgium) (Flemish title)
  • O Polemos ton gargantuas (Greece)
  • Sanda vs. Gailah
  • The War of the Gargantuas (USA)

Main Details

  • Released in 1966
  • Color
  • Running Time: Japan:90 min | Germany:77 min | USA:92 min
  • Production Co: Benedict Pictures Corp. | Toho Company | United Productions of America (UPA)
  • Distribution Co: Astral Films (1970) (Canada) (dubbed) | Maron Films (1970) (USA) (dubbed)

Cast and Crew

  • Directed by Ishirô Honda
  • Written by Reuben Bercovitch, Ishirô Honda, Takeshi Kimura
  • Starring Russ Tamblyn, Kumi Mizuno, Kenji Sahara, Nobuo Nakamura, Jun Tazaki
  • Produced by Reuben Bercovitch, Reuben Bercovitch, Henry G. Saperstein, Tomoyuki Tanaka, Kenichiro Tsunoda
  • Original Music by Akira Ifukube
  • Cinematography by Hajime Koizumi
  • Film Editing by Ryohei Fujii

Film Review

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A sea vessel runs into trouble when it's crew gets attacked by a giant octopus. Help arrives in the form of a sea-based Gargantua who gets the best out of the octopus. But just when the crew are about to praise the Gargantua for his heroics, the giant beast turns on them and does his own attacking. Back at the hospital, one of the panic-strickened sole suvivors murmurs out who was responsible for the attack, "...Frankenstein..." Phone calls are then made to a doctor of science, Paul Stewart (Russ Tamblyn) and his assistant, Akemi (Kumi Mizuno), who had once cared for and overlooked a young, diminutive Frankenstein/Gargantua that they named Sanda. But Sanda eventually escaped from the lab and found a new home in the mountains. Both Akemi and Paul are confident that it isn't Sanda who has been causing the death and destruction, but rather a "clone" that had been created by Sanda's cells. The theory proves correct when eyewitness accounts indicate that the dangerous Gargantua is green (Sanda is brown) plus the facts that this Gargantua (Named Gailah) is ocean-based and fears the sunlight, which Sanda does not. The miltary takes action against Gailah and succeeds in nearly trapping and killing him, but Sanda emerges to help and save his "Brother". At the same time, orders are made from Paul that the military should prevent from harming either Gailah or Sanda with weapons because a simple strand of their DNA could regenerate and create more offspring! Meanwhile, as Sanda helps to take care of Gailah, he notices that Gailah feeds on humans and is alarmed by this. Sanda backs off from Gailah at this point, but the grudge between the two Gargantuas soon explodes when Gailah harms Akemi. Since the military can no longer intervene, it's all up to Sanda in restoring peace. But in order to do this, he has to battle it out with his "twin" in the streets of Tokyo.

If one may be confused by the "Frankenstein" talk about this one, it's that this was meant to be a sequel (Or, at least, a loose sequel) to Frankenstein Conquers the World with the Gargantuas being the cell-offspring from the Frankenstein character (All this information was deleted out of the original U.S. version) But as for this movie itself, much of it is by-the-numbers in typical Kaiju fashion. There's the usual "What is it that's causing the destruction?" and "What can we do to stop it?" sections that you're always accustomed to seeing. But to break up the monotony, at least there's that amusing (And quite famous) sequence of Gailah's attack....On a lounge singer! But really, one of the more stand-out indications on why War of The Gargantuas is still one of the more beloved and respected of all the Giant Monster classics is due to the costume design and the performances of the Garangtuas. Unlike the quite hefty and immobile suits that you see on Godzilla, Ghidorah, etc...The much slimmer Garagantua costumes allow more natural fluidity for the performers to convey emotion and pull off some more satisfying stunts when they lay the smackdown on each other or on other large objects (I'm also a fan of Gailah's "Hissing" sounds) It actually really is too bad that this would be the first, and last, time that the film-world would see these two legendary behemoths on the screen because a sequel (Or more) would have likely generated enough fan interest. But in the end, it always seems better enough to make film history one time only rather than to continue beating a dead "Gargantua" to the ground.

Reviewed by Laydback - 11/21/08

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