Battle of Algiers & Gojira

As long as we’re singing the praises of Rialto Pictures this week, I should note they’ve not only announced a strong New York/Los Angeles/Chicago/Washington, DC opening for The Battle of Algiers (1965) on January 9, but have also released a very good trailer for the film, which can be seen via the Film Forum’s website.

Given the fact that Rialto’s trailer for Balthazar was not exactly the most creative piece of advertising I’ve seen (in short, a few “minor” scenes cut together without any sense of the film’s importance or thematic concerns), I’m very pleased to see their Algiers piece convey much of the film’s raw power and historical weight. Check it out.

And more news on the Rialto front…2004 is, of course, the 50th anniversary of the original Gojira (1954), but if you’ve only seen it in the US, you’ve probably never seen it at all. Godzilla: King of the Monsters (the only version available on VHS and DVD in America) is a severely re-edited version of the original stomping monster classic. Whole subpolts were removed and an entire new storyline was grafted onto the film involving Raymond Burr playing a reporter commentating on “offscreen action” (the original film itself). Thankfully, Rialto has announced it will correct the situation by releasing the original film in 2004.

While Gojira (which I own on a poor VHS) is not exactly a movie of Shakespearean complexity, it does offer substantially more scenes involving Kurosawa-regular Takashi Shimura, emphasizes its nuclear concerns to a greater degree, and flows much more smoothly.