Tuesday, May 13, 2014
Godzilla Week: Kaiju Cuts: Reporter Steve Martin (Raymond Burr)
When Godzilla (1954) was Americanized and released in the States as Godzilla: King of Monsters, a Western star was inserted into the film’s action to help create a sense of identification for Western audiences.
That star was stolid Raymond Burr, playing Steve Martin, a United World News correspondent who becomes trapped in Tokyo during Godzilla’s first reign of terror.
For a generation that didn’t get the opportunity to watch Godzilla in its original, uncut form, Burr (1917 – 1993) was actually a crucial piece of the movie’s tapestry, and a key element of Godzilla history, at least in America.
Burr returned to the role of Steve Martin in Godzilla: 1985, a direct sequel to the 1954 film. This time, when a second Godzilla attacks Tokyo, Martin consults with the Pentagon about the monster as the only Westerner to survive the monster’s original attack on Japan.
In essence, Burr plays the Godzilla movie equivalent of Halloween’s Dr. Sam Loomis in this sequel, warning the U.S. Military that its tactics are ineffective in the face of the enemy’s raw strength and power. And just like Loomis, Martin’s counsel is largely ignored.
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