Akira Ifukube

Godzilla [Original 1954 Soundtrack]

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Godzilla [Original 1954 Soundtrack] Review

by Bruce Eder

Godzilla: 50th Anniversary Edition is the first true soundtrack music release for Ishiro Honda's 1954 topical/horror masterpiece Godzilla (known in Japan as Gojira). In contrast to EMI Toshiba's soundtrack LP and CD issues from the 1980s and 1990s, which relied on the movie's M&E ("music and effects") track as a source, the producers of this release went back to the original music sources -- that, plus a decade or more in advances in mastering technology means that this release completely eclipses the Japanese disc on a technical and musical level. One can actually hear the orchestral timbre, the textures of the individual instruments in Akira Ifukube's score, and the details of the playing as never before. Equally important, the music, fully exposed and not masked by any sound effects or dialogue, holds up exceptionally well. The producers have assembled every complete cue recorded for the original film and have appended them with the edited versions of those same cues from the finished film and two tracks of Godzilla sound effects. The annotation is also extremely thorough and, in addition to confirming certain aspects of the music that one long suspected (e.g., that the keyboard sound in "Godzilla Comes Ashore" is the result of the pianist literally playing with his fists), reveals one fascinating fact about the entire score -- that the composer never saw the finished film, with its special effects completed, when he wrote the music. That explains why some elements of theGodzilla score have been so easily transposed by the composer to the scores for films on completely different subjects.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Sound Effects
1 Akira Ifukube 00:49 Amazon
Godzilla, film score
2 Akira Ifukube 01:31 Amazon
3 Akira Ifukube 01:06 Amazon
4 Akira Ifukube 00:23 Amazon
5 Akira Ifukube 00:50 Amazon
6 Akira Ifukube 01:21 Amazon
7 Akira Ifukube 01:53 Amazon
8 Akira Ifukube 00:34 Amazon
9 Akira Ifukube 00:42 Amazon
10 Akira Ifukube 00:42 Amazon
11 Akira Ifukube 01:52 Amazon
12 Akira Ifukube 02:25 Amazon
13 Akira Ifukube 01:12 Amazon
14 Akira Ifukube 01:25 Amazon
15 Akira Ifukube 01:27 Amazon
16 Akira Ifukube 02:18 Amazon
17 Akira Ifukube 03:11 Amazon
18 Akira Ifukube 02:48 Amazon
19 Akira Ifukube 00:21 Amazon
20 Akira Ifukube 06:20 Amazon
21 Akira Ifukube 01:41 Amazon
Sound Effects
22 Akira Ifukube 01:04 Amazon
Godzilla, film score
23 Akira Ifukube 02:03 Amazon
24 Akira Ifukube 03:37 Amazon
25 Akira Ifukube 02:17 Amazon
26 Akira Ifukube 02:21 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick