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Movie Name: Mothra
Release Date(s): July 30, 1961
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
When sailors are rescued from an irradiated area of the ocean without any radiation poisoning, they tell of strange natives who saved them. An expedition to the island reveals natives who worship two strange little girls (Emi Itō and Yumi Itō ) and something called Mothra living there. When the girls are kidnapped by Clark Nelson (Jerry Itou), Mothra is awakened and will stop at nothing to get them back.
Directed by Ishirō Honda, Mothra was originally titledモスラ Mosura and based on the novel The Luminous Fairies and Mothra by Shinichi Sekizawa. The movie was met with positive reviews and was doubled billed in the United States with The Three Stooges in Orbit in 1962.
Mothra is kind of a hard movie to find. In the United States, it rarely aired and wasn’t available for years on any legitimate copy. The only chance you ever had of seeing Mothra was catching it on TV or something. This is odd, because Godzilla is pretty big in the United States and things like Mothra Vs. Godzilla did make the jump. As a marketing sense, it doesn’t seem smart to not have people able to see the origins of the creature battling the famed Godzilla (and also teaming with him).
It is a shame because Mothra is rather entertaining. The weird little girls are legendary (and played by then pop duo known as The Peanuts). Their funky little song is almost a parody now and the scenes with them are rather good (although the little dolls when they are being held are bad). Mothra also looks great with the nice bright colors…though that caterpillar version is kind of gross looking.
Mothra is kind of a strange “monster” movie. Unlike other Japanese giant-monsters like Godzilla, Mothra really doesn’t have any evil tendencies. It just wants the girls back. This led to a different ending than most “monster” movies where the monster doesn’t actually die. Mothra and the girls just fly back to Infant Island (called Beiru in the American version). Most monster movies would have Mothra suffering a horrible death, and everyone learning a lesson at the cost of the creature…fortunately, Mothra gets to fly off into the sunset to return and battle Godzilla.
Mothra is a decent monster flick. It also contains the strange Rolisica country which is supposed to be an amalgam of Russia and the United States. I don’t know if this is a political statement or what, but the evil Clark Nelson is supposed to be from there…an outside swooping in to take the culture away. With this alone, Mothra seems a bit deeper than some of the other monster movies and it also adds a religious aspect to the film through the ending and the worship of Mothra and the girls. If you get a chance check out Mothra. Mothra returned in Mothra Vs. Godzilla in 1964.