Thursday, March 24, 2016

Godzilla vs. The Thing (Mothra vs. Godzilla, Ifukube, 1964)

    The giant moth Mothra and her two singing fairie friends (Shobijin) made their debut in 1961's "Mothra" (モスラ), but it was only a few years before they were forced to return and defend Japan from an attack by fellow, less-friendly giant monster Godzilla in 1964's "Mothra vs. Godzilla" (Japan: モスラ対ゴジラ, US: Godzilla vs. The Thing).  Godzilla's signature composer Akira Ifukube also came back for this, his 3rd Godzilla score (following  "Godzilla" and "King Kong vs. Godzilla"), bringing back and further developing some of the Godzilla themes he had created for his previous entries and adding some new ones (as well as incorporating Yuji Koseki's song for Mothra from the first Mothra film).

    In the premise of this film, a hurricane has washed Mothra's giant egg out to sea towards Japan, as well as burying Godzilla underneath a beach at Shizonoura.  When the Mothra egg is brought ashore, entrepreneurs plan to build a seaside attraction out of it as it hatches.  Mothra's fairie-like "Shobijin", representatives from Infant Island, entreat the businessmen to return the egg, but are met with resistance.  Eventually, Godzilla wakes up from his sandy slumber and begins a rampage.  The human stars of the film journey to Infant Island to enlist Mothra's help in defending Japan against Godzilla.  Mothra agrees, but is later fatally injured in battle, due to her advanced age.  The Japanese army fails to stop Godzilla, but the giant egg finally hatches, revealing twin Mothra larvae.  The newborn Mothra larvae pursue Godzilla to an offshore island and eventually cocoon him.

    As mentioned previously, Ifukube brought back a few themes which he had initially introduced in the previous Godzilla films which he had scored:
  • Terror motif: big, foreboding and usually on low brass, opening with a 6 note fanfare, followed by short falling and then rising figures.
  • Fury theme: sinister and growing: first long note is followed by rising 3-note figures, repetitions often eventually ending in pounding accent chords (kind of a "tail") joined by the Terror motif.
  • Resurrection theme: slow marching theme building in power, also iconic and often follows the Fury theme, consisting of rising phrases made from 2 accents followed by short ornamental motifs, eventually ending in a chromatic descending line and final accents.
The Peanuts as the Shobijin (twin sisters Emi Itō (伊藤エミ) and Yumi Itō (伊藤ユミ).
    He also added several new themes which are mostly related to the Mothra elements, most notably the songs sung by the Peanuts, a female singing duo popular in Japan at the time (acting in the film as the Shobijin, aka "small beauties").
  • Mothra theme: Mothra's motif practically spells out "mo-su-ra".  The native ritual song version ("Mahala Mothra", track 26, sung in Filipino) is sung to help birth the twin Mothra larvae:
Mahal Mahal Mothra
Tama Tama Mothra
Laban Guerra Labanan
To Love...Mothra
Fight - War - Battle 
  • Mothra song (composed by Yuji Koseki, track 19): from "Mothra", song used to convince Mothra to help the humans:  
Mosura ya Mosura
Dongan kasakuyan indo muu
Rusuto uiraandoa,
hanba hanbamuyan,
randa banunradan
Tounjukanraa...Kasaku yaanmu
Mothra oh Mothra
With the Power of your Ancestor
Grant the prayer
of your followers.
Arise and
show...your power.
          • Sacred Fountain (Sacred Springs) theme (song version track 18): basically the Shobijin theme song, sung poignantly in modified Tagalog (Filipino)
          Na intidihan mo ba (2x)
          Mairoun doan maganda baron
          Punta ka lang dito...Ka lang dito
          Harika tu marupo (2x)
          Do you understand?
          There is a way, is it beautiful
          Come here
          Come here and sit down 
          • Mothra fanfare: rising and then falling, often leading into the Mothra theme.
          • Egg theme: mysterious figure often supported by organ with vibrato.
          • Infant Island theme: noble, exotic melody opening with an upward-leaping interval.
          • Monster cadence: basically a horror fanfare made up of falling timpani scales and loud percussive textures.

               The score to Godzilla vs. The Thing has seen several releases over the years.  The below table is based on the main score tracks from the Godzilla Perfect Box 1, Disc 5, which also includes 11 bonus tracks at the end of alternate takes and karaoke versions of songs.

          Trk Dur Title Film sequence, themes
          1 1:57 Main Title
          Opening titles over a huge storm battering a beach city.
          0:00: Piano clusters and percussion.
          0:14: Terror motif on brass.
          0:47: Resurrection theme on strings/piano/percussion.
          1:26: Mothra theme on brass/piano rhythm.
          2 0:25 The Rainbow-Colored Object
          A mysterious object is found in the beach wreckage by a reporter, Ichi, and his photographer Junko.
          Mysterious figures on xylophone/organ, tremolo strings, falling brass/high winds.
          3 0:25 The Giant Egg in the Waters Off Shizunoura
          A giant egg is seen drifting towards the shore, a native does an odd ritual.
          Mysterious figure (Egg theme) in strings over vibrating organ.
          4 0:37 The Giant Egg
          Washes Ashore
          Fishing boats bring the egg to shore and it is examined by Prof. Miura.
          Egg theme in strings (reprise without organ), leading to brass fanfare/organ, gentle ending cadence.
          5 0:54 The Little Beauty's Theme Song
          Two little fairies (the Shobijin) appear and ask the Happy Enterprises businessmen to return it.  The businessmen try to capture the fairies.
          Mystical, high, fast version of Sacred Fountain theme featured on piano (flute enters for reprise after a brief pause).
          6 1:49 Reflection Of
          The Little Beauty
          The Shobijin appear to Ichi, Miura and Junko.  They explain that they are from Infant Island and that the egg is Mothra's.  A flashback shows the egg being blown out to sea.  They warn that when the egg hatches the larvae may cause destruction.
          0:00: Mystical, fast version of Sacred Fountain theme on piano/flute/etc.
          0:15: Sacred Fountain theme in normal (ballad) tempo on strings/winds/piano.
          0:51: Darker textures on brass and percussion (flashback), returning to opening texture.
          7 0:25 Mothra on
          the Hilltop
          The Shobijin reveal Mothra resting on a nearby hilltop.
          Mothra fanfare, Mothra theme statement.
          8 0:27 Mothra Leaves
          Mothra flies away with the the Shobijin (back to Infant Island).
          Muted Mothra fanfare, Mothra theme statement.
          9 1:04 Hamakaze Hotel
          (slow jazz source music during a meeting with the Happy Enterprises entrepreneurs)
          10 0:28 The Dome Is Activated
          In order to speed up the hatching, the businessmen use oil burners to heat it up.
          Egg theme in tremolo strings/low brass, leading to fanfare.
          11 0:36 Mysterious Radioactivity
          Miura shows Junko and Ichi that the beach object they found was strangely radioactive.  They return to the beach.
          Flutter-tongue flute and falling brass, mysterious brass/organ, string glissandi.
          12 0:49 Godzilla Appears
          Godzilla's tail emerges from the sand, soon followed by the rest of him (also when Godzilla menaces the beach village after surviving the electrical charges).
          0:00: Piano impact into Terror motif on brass.
          0:29: Fury theme fragment on strings over descending brass/piano chords.
          13 1:22 The Attack On The Industrial Complex
          Godzilla rampages in a refinery complex.
          0:00: Terror motif on brass/piano.
          0:19: Fury theme on strings/brass, brass/piano, Terror motif on brass/piano.
          14 1:49 Godzilla And Nagoya
          Godzilla's rampage continues inland.
          0:00: Terror motif on brass/piano/perc.
          0:35: Resurrection theme on strings/piano rhythm, joined by brass.
          15 0:21 The Dome At Sunset
          The egg is shown enclosed by scaffolding.
          Egg theme variation on muted trumpet/piano/vibraphone.
          16 1:16 Infant Island
          Ichi, Miura and Junko land at Infant Island and find a landscape devastated by nuclear weapon tests.
          Infant Island theme on muted brass, added wind in repeat.
          17 1:01 Evil Spirit
          Purification Ceremony
          The visitors are captured by native villagers and instructed to drink a potion.
          Egg theme variation on fluttery winds/tremolo strings/sul ponticello textures/vibraphone, leading to suspense figure on piano/winds/muted brass, etc.
          18 1:58 Sacred Springs
          (Ps-99 Mix)
          The Shobijin sing a song near an oasis.
          The Sacred Fountain theme as a vocal song (the Peanuts/Shobijin) over strings/harp.
          19 1:10 Mothra's Song
          (Yuji Koseki)
          The Shobijin sing a song before Mothra.
          Mothra’s Song (sung in Malay) acappella by the Peanuts/Shobijin.
          20 2:40 Mothra's Journey
          0:00: The Shobijin lead the visitors to Mothra and sing Mothra's Song (previous cue).
          Infant Island theme on muted brass/organ/percussion, joined by muted brass, theme on strings
          1:42: The Shobijin explain that Mothra has agreed to help fight Godzilla with the last of her energies.
          Mothra fanfare on piano/organ/winds/strings punctuated by timpani, Mothra theme on brass, reaching upwards in a plaintive final phrase.
          21 1:07 Godzilla vs.
          The Tank Corps
          Godzilla is attacked by tanks.
          Terror motif & Resurrection theme on brass/piano rhythm/percussion.
          22 2:25 Godzilla Advances
          0:00: The Happy Enterprises businessmen fight among themselves, but Godzilla destroys their building. 
          Terror motif, Fury theme.
          1:16: Godzilla attacks the giant egg's outer scaffolding.
          Terror motif and Resurrection theme over pounding piano rhythm, ending on Monster cadence (vibrating organ/falling timpani/percussive textures).
          23 5:57 Adult Mothra vs.
          0:00: Just as Godzilla uncovers the giant egg, Mothra appears.  She drops off the Shobijin.
          Mothra fanfare into organ/timpani/piano textures.
          0:56: Mothra uses her wings to batter Godzilla with wind.
          Terror motif, Fury theme.
          2:04: Mothra drags Godzilla by the tail.
          Mothra theme, Resurrection theme (slow march).
          3:06: Mothra and Godzilla engage in physical combat.  Mothra uses poison pollen, but is fatally injured by Godzilla's atomic breath.
          Mothra fanfare, Terror motif, Mothra fanfare, Terror motif, Resurrection theme.
          5:24: With her final breath, Mothra flies to her egg.
          Mothra theme.
          24 2:02 Plan A: Electrical Discharge Strike
          As night falls, tanks and planes attack and drive towards electrical generators, which he promptly knocks down.
          Resurrection theme as mid-tempo march, Fury theme on strings, brass, Terror motif over pounding piano rhythm, Resurrection theme resumes.
          25 3:21 Plan B: Electrical Discharge Strike
          In the morning, planes drop bombs and nets on Godzilla.  More electrical discharges are used to incapacitate Godzilla, but the power shorts and Godzilla escapes.
          0:00: Monster cadence, Terror motif, Fury theme.
          1:40: Terror motif into Resurrection theme over pounding piano march, joined by brass.
          2:54: Monster cadence.
          26 3:53 Mahala Mothra
          The Shobijin (and the Infant Island natives in an overlay) sing to Mothra's egg.  The egg begins glowing/flashing, and a statue on Infant Island does the same.
          "Mahala Mothra" (vocal version of Mothra theme, sung in Tagalog/Filipino):
          0:00: Percussion with ethnic reed/xylophone figures.
          0:30: Vocals enter in 1st main verse (Peanuts with male backup vocals).
          1:20: Soprano/male choir interlude with percussion/reed ornaments, opening figure.
          2:14: Peanuts on 2nd verse, joined by more percussion, opening wind figure, returning to soprano interlude, final cadence with Peanuts.
          27 0:42 The Birth Of
          The Larval Mothra
          Larval Mothra twins emerge from the egg.
          Vibraphone/xylophone figures, Mothra fanfare on muted/open brass, Mothra theme on sweeping strings/harp.
          28 8:39 Baby Mothra vs. Godzilla
          0:00: The Mothra larvae twins swim out to nearby Iwa Island to prevent Godzilla from harming a group of schoolchildren.
          Mothra fanfare over dissonant textures, Terror motif, Mothra fanfare, Terror motif, slow Fury theme on brass/strings.
          2:20: Ichi and his friends take a boat to the island to try and rescue the kids.  The Mothra larvae bite Godzilla's tail and spray him with silk threading.
          Mothra theme over piano rhythm, Resurrection theme, Monster cadence, Mothra fanfare, Terror motif, Mothra fanfare, Terror motif, Resurrection theme, Mothra theme/piano rhythm.
          6:11: Godzilla fights back with atomic breath, kicking rocks, etc.  The kids are rescued.  Godzilla falls into the sea.
          Resurrection march with added winds, Monster cadence with added piano begins and continues, Mothra fanfare (with Monster cadence), Terror motif with added low brass, Fury theme building, Mothra theme with piano rhythm.
          29 1:13 Ending
          The Shobijin and Mothra larvae depart into the sea.
          Sacred Fountain theme on brass/strings/piano/percussion.

               It may be interesting to note that the Peanuts were at one point produced by Hiroshi Miyagawa, who of course has been well-discussed here for his work on Space Battleship Yamato.

          Other Akira Ifukube Godzilla Films Analysed:
          King Kong vs Godzilla
          Ghidorah the Three-Headed Monster

          Invasion of Astro Monster
          Destroy All Monsters

          Godzilla Perfect Box 1 at Screen Archives
          Akira Ifukube Wiki
          Akira Ifukube Museum
          Godzilla Monster Music Review
          Mothra Song Lyrics
          Song translations
          The Peanuts Wiki

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