To: La La Land Records, Intrada, and Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Re-Record 1954's Godzilla Score
There are really only a handful of 20th Century film scores that can be assessed as historically and aesthetically significant. In America the scores by Max Steiner (King Kong) and Franz Waxman (Bride of Frankenstein) were maverick works that defined the artform as more than simply background music. Bernard Herrmann's Citizen Kane, less than ten years later, was stylistically important as it was rooted strongly in Americana and broke free from the Late Romantic sound Hollywood was steeped in at the time. In Russia, Prokofiev's Alexander Nevsky holds up even better today and represents the perfect marriage between image and sound.
In 1954, Akira Ifukube recorded his score for Japan's first Godzilla film. In assessing the value of that score, one has to divorce themselves from the primitive visual effects and campy sequels that would follow over the course of the Century. The intent of the original film was that it be a symbolic warning against "the bomb." Not even a decade had passed since the country was set on fire. Ifukube's score was every bit as groundbreaking and engaging as Alexander Nevsky, if not more creative. The thumping strings, bombastic marches, dark colors and evocative finale are comparable to Herrmann's and Prokofiev's best works. When the film makers were challenged to come up with a roar for the monster, the solution was found in the orchestra. A rubber glove smeared with violin rosin was rubbed down the strings of a double bass to create Godzilla's familiar rumbling and harmonic roar. His echoing footsteps? A bass drum.
Few films relegate music to such an important role as to define not only tone but character in such a way as to create a cultural phenomena. Though the films may stand up today as silly even, especially the sequels, everybody recognizes Godzilla's roar. Yet, aside from concert suites and Ifukube's own Symphonic variations, this original score only exists as a primitive recording.
Do this great score justice and re-record it. What time has depreciated and hidden from us should be once again revealed and appreciated.
Why is this important?
The historical and aesthetic significance of the original Godzilla score in the context of the approaching 2014 remake
CORRECTION: The Footsteps of the Monster were not a Bass Drum. Instead, it was an amplifier box which was struck. Ifukube himself referred to the device as "the Magic Box" on the original Godzilla manuscript score.