Origins: Although the Japanese film was substantially altered in its American release, the climactic battle between the two titans ended with the same results in both versions: an ambiguous draw.
Just as additional footage featuring an American actor (Raymond Burr) was integrated into the original Godzilla film to enhance its appeal to American audiences, so it was with King Kong vs. Godzilla: additional scenes shot by an American director (featuring Michael Keith as "Eric Carter, your U.N. reporter") were added to the American version. The latter film was substantially altered in many other ways as well, however. Much footage was cut from the Japanese release to make room for scenes featuring Eric Carter and his U.N. news reports, most of the original score was replaced with music from the soundtrack of The Creature From the Black Lagoon, the dialogue was changed in the dubbing process, and special effects were altered or replaced.
One element that did remain the same in both versions was the action between
In any case, the movie's visual ending was exactly the same in both the Japanese and American releases. Probably because Americans found it unlikely that a Japanese-produced horror film would show a quintessentially American monster triumphing over a Japanese invention, a rumor began shortly after the movie's 1964 American release that two different endings had been filmed: one for Japanese audiences (in which only Godzilla survived), and one for American audiences (with King Kong the winner). No doubt whispers that there were indeed two different versions of the film helped foster the legend that there were two different endings as well, although it is unlikely that many people actually saw both versions.
Sightings: The Genus III edition of Trivial Pursuit asks "Who won the Japanese version of King Kong vs. Godzilla?" and claims "Godzilla" as the correct answer.
| King Kong vs. Godzilla |
(Internet Movie Database)
Adams, Arthur. "King Kong vs. Godzilla." Urban Legends #1. Dark Horse Comics, 1993 (p. 5). Marrero, Robert. Godzilla: King of the Movie Monsters. Key West, FL: Fantasma Books, 1996. ISBN 1-888214-01-5 (pp. 24-34).