Saturday, March 5, 2016

King Kong vs. Godzilla (Ifukube, 1963)

     The 3rd Godzilla film featured another icon of fantasy film, King Kong.  Originally developed as a Kong vs Frankenstein vehicle, it apparently ended up that Kong Island was much closer to Japan than London or Geneva...  In any case, Akira Ifukube, Godzilla's first composer, was again called upon to provide the music, making this his second Godzilla score (the previous entry in the Godzilla series, "Godzilla's Counterattack", was scored by Masaroh Satoh).  Ifukube used this score to cement his position as THE Godzilla composer, writing instantly recognizable motifs for the atomic-radiation-spewing behemoth.  Unfortunately, when this film was imported and redubbed for English audiences, the score was mostly replaced by Hollywood library music (most notably Hans J. Salter's "The Creature from the Black Lagoon").

     In Ifukube's version of the score, the composer brought back the Godzilla "Fury" theme from "Godzilla" (1954) and added several new ones, two of which would become iconic "Godzilla" themes:
  • Terror motif: iconic Godzilla brass fanfare, slow and foreboding
  • Resurrection theme: figures building in power, also iconic and almost always follows the Fury theme
  • Faro Island theme: "ethnic" music
  • Jungle theme: the main title theme, somewhat inspired by Max Steiner's native music in the original "King Kong".  This theme is also sometimes called the "Sleeping Chant".
  • Kong Battle theme: heavy, dramatic figures
  • Kong/Godzilla Battle theme: uptempo action march.

     Ifukube's score has been released in various forms over the years (including now on Spotify).  The below listing is based on the 4th disc of the Godzilla Perfect Collection Box 1, which is the stereo version of the score.  The mono version on the 3rd disc of Perfect Box 1 has some additional bonus cues (basically alternate takes of the Faro Island source music).  The score was also released domestically on La-La Land Records, but is now sold out (available used on Amazon, though).

Trk Dur Title Sequence, themes
1 2:04 Main Title
Opening logo, slow pan of rocks.
Jungle theme (tom toms, brass counter figures, staccato strings and voice, mid tempo, repeat at 1:06).
2 0:11 Series Of World Wonders
Theme music for opening of TV science show.
Drum/xylophone cadence.
3 0:56 The Sparkling Iceberg
While in the Arctic, the submarine The Seahawk sees radioactive glowing, and immediately dives.
Mysterious organ, strings, flute, piano, etc.
4 0:27 Commercial Source music for "Passion" commercial.
Drum licks.
5 0:33 The Seahawk In Crisis
The Seahawk runs into the underwater part of the glowing iceberg.
Mysterious figures in organ, tremolo strings, piano, brass, etc.
6 1:46 PS-1-1 Background source music for the departure party of ad men Sakurai and Kinsaburo, who are investigating a giant monster in the Solomon Islands.
Circus-like parade music.
7 2:00 The Seahawk's SOS
The Seahawk sends out an SOS, but is soon destroyed by the emergence of Godzilla from the disturbed iceberg (offscreen).
Suspense brass/tremolo strings, low rumbling, hints of Godzilla Terror intro motif (1:43), mysterious organ, brass fanfares, etc.
8 0:49 Faro Island
Sakurai and Kinsaburo land at Faro Island, where a giant monster has been sighted.
Faro Island theme: Low brass, tom toms, oboe in an ethnic mode.
9 0:59 The Natives
The island natives at work.
Low pulses joined by male chant and cymbal accents, female choir ornaments.
10 1:37 Thunder And The Devil
At the sound of thunder and roaring, the natives suddenly begin a ritual worship dance.
Jungle theme variation without brass (toms and voice over low organ drone).
11 0:37 Fumiko's Misgivings
Fumiko is worried about her boyfriend Kazuo while watching a TV nature show (source music) and is visited by her friend.
Faro Island theme variation: Tom toms, oboe in an ethnic mode.
12 1:44 Godzilla Lives!
(Godzilla's Resurrection)
Kazuo observes Godzilla emerging from an iceberg and rampaging across a military base.  Tanks and artillery have no effect.
Terror intro motif, Godzilla Fury theme (3-note rising figures, 0:11),  Resurrection theme (rising/falling figures, adding layers: 0:25).
13 1:45 Faro Island
The ad men walk through the jungle looking for Kong.
Faro Island theme: low brass, tom toms, oboe in an ethnic mode.
14 0:21 The Cry Of The Devil
When one of the ad men shoot a lizard, thunder, lightning and roaring begin again, as well as a landslide.
Fanfare-like trombone and gong figures.
15 0:55 A Prayer to
the Rolling Thunder
The villagers do a ritual chant.
Low pulses, organ, brass.
16 3:19 Devil In The South Seas -
Drums Of Battle
A giant octopus attacks the village.  The ad men use their rifles on it.
The villagers prepare for battle with the octopus.
Undeveloped version of Kong Battle theme: Swooping trombones/strings with dissonant organ, string tremoli/organ, native bongos joining (repeat sequence without bongos).
17 1:39 Giant Octopus
vs King Kong
King Kong appears, breaking through a large bamboo gate, and eventually drives off the octopus.
Kong Battle theme: Swooping trombones/strings with dissonant organ, Jungle motifs in brass and strings, intercut with rhythmic strings. 
18 3:15 The Sleeping Devil
After drinking vats of berry juice, Kong falls asleep.  The native girls dance before his sleeping form.  The ad men decide to build a raft for Kong.
Jungle theme developed on tom toms, voice, winds, some organ drones. Repeat at 1:17, eventually increasing speed with low organ layer (winds drop out), developed chorus.
19 0:28 To Japan
A sleeping Kong is transported on a giant raft over the sea by the ad men.
Organ/string pulses/tremoli with Native motif.
20 0:19 Godzilla
Godzilla appears near Sendai.
Terror intro.
21 3:36 The Terror of Godzilla
Godzilla attacks a train near Sendai.  Fumiko narrowly escapes with the help of Kazuo.
Terror intro motif, Godzilla Fury theme (0:14),  Resurrection theme with organ harmony (0:30), repeat at 1:45.
22 0:24 The Invincible King Kong
When Kong wakes up on the raft prematurely, the ad men try to blow it up, but Kong survives.
Swooping trombone/Natives motif over organ.
23 0:36 Preparation for
Operation 'Burial'
The army does some landscaping to prepare a trap for Godzilla.
Brass and strings in playful counter figures - "labor music".
24 2:42 King Kong vs Godzilla I
Kong and Godzilla slowly approach one another.  Kong throws rocks, but is ultimately defeated by Godzilla's atomic breath.
Battle Theme in strings and brass supported by drums and organ.  Trumpet counter-figure joins at 0:31, soon supported by strings, added organ clusters, ending with additional wind trills/brass figures.  Recap at about 1:42.
25 0:25 Preparations for
'One Million Volts'
Camera pans over power station structures.
Playful brass counter-figures with drums.
26 1:07 Operation 'Burial' I
Godzilla approaches.  The army fills the terrain with gasoline.  When Godzilla arrives they set it on fire.
Terror intro, Godzilla Fury, Resurrection theme on brass/strings/piano.  
27 0:54 Operation 'Burial' II
Godzilla is lured towards a hidden pit.  When he falls in, the pit explodes.
Godzilla Fury, Resurrection theme on brass/strings/piano.  
28 0:15 Operation 'Burial' Fails
Godzilla climbs out of the pit.
Terror intro on brass over strident strings.
29 1:01 Operation
'One Million Volts' I
When Godzilla approaches Tokyo, the army activates a high voltage fence, which halts the giant creature.
Resurrection Theme on low brass/strings over pounding piano clusters, joined by trumpets/organ.
30 2:15 Operation
'One Million Volts' II
King Kong approaches, and he succeeds in destroying the electric fence.  The army considers its next move as panic erupts.
Kong Battle theme: Swooping trombone figures alternating with rising wind/string figures over low bass pulse and organ chords, etc..
31 2:08 Kong Shows up in Tokyo
Kong rampages through Tokyo.  He destroys a train and picks up Fumiko.
Kong Battle theme: Swooping trombone figures alternating with rising wind/string figures over low bass pulse and organ chords, etc..
32 2:06 Operation
"Rescue Fumiko" I
The army fires berry juice mist from Faro Island to make Kong sleepy.  The native music is used to make Kong feel "at home" (one of the ad men plays bongos).
Timpani intro, Jungle theme (tom toms, voice, brief wind counter figures).
33 0:35 Operation
"Rescue Fumiko" II
Fumiko is rescued when Kong falls asleep.
Jungle theme on brass, staccato strings.
34 2:15 The Plan to Transport King Kong
The army attaches giant balloons to King Kong so that he can be moved while asleep.
March on brass/drums/strings/ethnic organ figure.
35 2:09 King Kong Advances
on Fuji
The balloons lift Kong towards Mt Fuji.  When they reach the mountain, Godzilla is below.  The cut Kong loose.
Vibrato organ chords, slow pulses with mixture of Jungle and Godzilla Terror motifs in brass/winds.
36 4:03 Showdown at Mt. Fuji
Kong tries to grab Godzilla's tail and throw rocks, but Godzilla bats the rocks back to him.  They wrestle but Kong accidentally knocks his head on some rocks.  Godzilla beats him with his tail and rocks.  Kong gets "roasted" by Godzilla's breath.
Resurrection theme on brass/gong/cymbals with organ textures, Fury theme, repeat sequence.
37 1:43 King Kong Lives!
(King Kong's Resurrection)
A lightning storm erupts which re-energizes Kong, giving him electrical powers.  He wrestles Godzilla to the ground.
Kong Battle theme: swooping trombone figures alternating with rising wind/string figures over low bass pulse and organ chords, etc..
38 2:00 King Kong vs. Godzilla II
The fight continues near Atami Castle.  The Castle is demolished and the two monsters fall into the sea.
Battle Theme: faster and shorter reprise.
39 0:24 Ending
King Kong swims away, heading towards home.
Tom toms leading to ending chord cadence.
40 4:32 Apartment
Background Music
Kazuo, Fumiko and her brother the ad man discuss the next day's trip to Kong Island.
Jazz combo source music.
41 3:59 PS-1-1 Background source music for the departure party of ad men Sakurai and Kinsaburo, who are investigating a giant monster in the Solomon Islands.
Extended circus/parade source music.
42 1:50 Transistor Radio Music
Music playing when the ad men impress the native leader with their radio.
Lounge jazz/pop source with childish girl vocal.

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

Invasion of Astro Monster
Destroy All Monsters

Amazon Listing
Spotify Listing
Godzilla Perfect Box 1 at Screen Archives
Akira Ifukube Wiki
Akira Ifukube Museum
Godzilla Monster Music Review
Toho Kingdom Review

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