September 2004 Film Music CD Reviews

Film Music Editor: Gary S. Dalkin
Managing Editor: Ian Lace
Music Webmaster Len Mullenger

index page/ monthly listings / September /

Godzilla 50th Anniversary Edition  
Music composed by Akira Ifukube
  Available on La-La Land Records (Lllcd 1022)
Running Time: 46:28
La-La Land Records   Amazon UK   Amazon US


See also:
Monster Music Movie Album
A History of Horror
Godzilla 2000: Millennium

There is something poignant and charming about Akira Ifukube's music as composed for the original Japanese version of Godzilla (1954), a score that may come as a pleasant surprise to those unfamiliar with the Godzilla movies and have subconsciously relegated to them to the level of cheap schlock. Although it's true to say that the music does indeed show its age at times there is still an inherent intelligence and thoughtfulness to the work that demands serious appreciation.

The appealing 'Godzilla Main Title' is a melodic, stirring motif that manages to retain a timeless quality, but also signals an introspective, emotional approach to what could easily have been in lesser hands an exercise in infantilism. And there is strength in depth in this work with 'Japanese Army March 1' also well above average with its catchy horn-led fanfare, while 'Godzilla Comes Ashore' and 'Godzilla Rampage' sound vaguely reminiscent of James Bernard (in restrained mode) and that can never be a bad thing! Also of great note is 'Godzilla on the Ocean Floor', a subtly melancholy piece that creates a sense of loss and sadness, but most striking of all are the choral 'Prayer for Peace' and 'Ending', cues that would elevate any film they supported and will unquestionably come as rather unexpected for most listeners who are generally dismissive of the Godzilla series.

Admittedly the digitally remastered tracks are taken from variable mono sources and the quality is not always what might have been hoped for, but better to have this available than not at all. The inclusion of four cues taken from the film soundtrack add to this CD's collectability, but what is most impressive about this score is that it stands the test of time, unlike so many other soundtracks written during the fifties. There is artistic integrity and imagination on show here that deserves praise and attention and once again we should be thankful to La-La Land Records for this worthwhile release. I suggest giving this a try and you will find yourself rewarded with a score of understated drama and pathos.

Mark Hockley

***(*) 31/2

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