Mitsubishi Jeeps vs. Godzilla

Godzilla vs. Mothra (1964) and Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973)


Godzilla vs. Mothra

1964 posterMosura tai Gojira (Toho Company, Japan, 1964) was known in English as both Mothra vs. Godzilla and Godzilla vs. Mothra. For the original English release, American International Pictures was probably worried that people wouldn't think a giant moth sounded scary enough, so the title was changed to Godzilla vs. the Thing. On the poster in English (230K JPEG), the mystery monster was hidden (except for very un-mothlike tentacles) but a Jeep was included.

Many people consider this one of the best Godzilla movies, possibly even better than the 1954 original. And it's also notable for being the last film of the original series, in which Godzilla was totally the bad guy.

FrameGodzilla starts stomping Tokyo after being disturbed by a developer building luxury condos. The Japanese military can't do much, even with the help of the U.S. Navy in the American release version. So it's up to the mystical giant moth Mothra to deal with the monster, whose rubber costume and special effects are quite fearsome in this film.

There are a few Mitsubishi Jeeps around 1964 Tokyo (see a CJ3B-J3 with a Nissan Pathfinder, 60K JPEG), but the most interesting ones are these police Jeeps.

FrameThe police vehicles are Mitsubishi CJ3B-J3's, which were built from 1953 into the 1970's. The Willys name and the Mitsubishi triangle are both stamped into the front grille. It's not clear how those red lights are attached to the canvas tops....

See also another shot of this Jeep (60K JPEG).

And if you get the urge to watch an old Godzilla film, this might be the one to rent if you want to scare the kids (see the trailer at IMDB.com.) But if you want the most laughs, try the movie below.

Godzilla vs. Megalon

PosterGojira tai Megaro (Toho Company, 1973) is generally considered one of the worst of the Godzilla series. A user on the Internet Movie Database commented, "One couldn't make a parody of the Godzilla films as funny as this; yet, incredibly, there's no sign that this was not intended to be taken seriously." But another reviewer adds, "Look guys, this Godzilla movie was clearly made for children. Judging this movie against the darker and more mature films in the series is clearly missing the point."

The consensus of course is "So bad it's good." One fan concluded, "A great movie, hilarious fight scenes. I recommend the movie to anyone, you'll love it! One of the best monster fights ever put on film!"

FrameThe film was clearly shot and edited very quickly, and fans of the genre have noticed that the military vehicle shots are taken straight out of earlier monster films, in particular Toho's War of the Gargantuas (1968) which is where this convoy of Jeeps comes from.

FrameThe Jeeps carry mostly "maser" weapons, from which soldiers with white gloves can fire blasts of amplified electromagnetic radiation. One of the Jeeps has an unusual feature in the form of some kind of streamlining or perhaps canvas, stretched over the cowl. Unfortunately it's difficult to see; one frame provides a slightly closer look (30K JPEG).

FrameThe masers are no more effective against Megalon than the good old fashioned 106mm recoilless rifle carried on this CJ3B-J4 with extended rear box, from War of the Gargantuas.

So it's up to Godzilla, and the robot Jet Jaguar, to save Japan by taking on the giant undersea cockroach Megalon and his sidekick Gigan from outer space, in the climactic battle depicted on the poster (140K JPEG).

Don't forget the popcorn. Thanks to the Internet Movie Cars Database for photos. -- Derek Redmond

See also Military Jeeps in Godzilla 2000.

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Last updated 29 March 2011 by Derek Redmond redmond@cj3b.info
All content not credited and previously copyright, is copyright Derek Redmond