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Steve Ryfle

Steve Ryfle is a former Los Angeles Times reporter and the author of Japan’s Favorite Mon-Star: The Unauthorized Biography of Godzilla (ECW Press, 1999).


Godzilla’s Footprint

Winter 2005 | Essays

In summer 2004, fifty years after its debut, Godzilla played in cinemas all across the United States for the first time. Not the heavily reedited cult classic starring Raymond Burr but the original, Japanese-language picture that first unspooled in Tokyo on November 3, 1954, and has rarely been seen outside Japan in the five decades since then. The critics called it a revelation, and instead of complaining about bad dubbing and tacky special effects (Godzilla's two enduring claims to infamy), they praised the film's thinly veiled depiction of a nuclear holocaust, its documentary-style realism, its overpowering sadness, and of course its monster-mash entertainment value. A reviewer for said it best: "Godzilla is the most emotionally resonant fake monster movie ever made."