Directed by Eugene Lourie
A fifty year old British-made Godzilla-Wanna-Be Monster Movie gets me thinking about Irish Citizenship, the song 'Four Green Fields,' and Ireland in general.
What did I have, this proud old woman did say
I had four green fields, each one was a jewel
But strangers came and tried to take them from me
I had fine strong sons, who fought to save my jewels
They fought and they died, and that was my grief said she
I am eligible for Irish citizenship, if I want to go through the trouble of getting it. My mother's parents were both born in Ireland, and so all I need to do is show proof that my grandfather, Manus O'Donnell, was born over there. After that, it should be simple to get ample proof that my mother is his daughter and that I am her son. I thought it would be easy, until I looked over copies of some documents my mother had about Grandpop. There was no copy of a birth certificate; in addition, the various documents all had my grandfather born on a different day. It appears as if I would have to do more research in order to obtain duel citizenship.
Nowadays I have a better reason to forget about becoming an Irish citizen. Recently, I read that Ireland closed its embassy to the Vatican. The reason given was that the embassy was not producing anything of economic value for Ireland, and with the poor economy, certain government functions which had little benefit would have to go. This just seems to be another part of the European Union's campaign to deny its Christian - or dare I say, Catholic - origins. Economic value? Was that the reason St. Patrick returned to Ireland to spread the Faith? Now that the European economy is hurting - and ours is too - the Irish may find that they will be needing some of their cultural roots to make it through hard times. Perhaps they will find out it Jim Stenson was right when he referred to CHARACTER as what you have left when all the money is gone......
Never mind about dual citizenship; I'll stay a Texan. Sure, all my ancestors were from Ireland, but far more important is my Catholic Faith. My Faith is reflected in the names of our children, which represent a lot of nationalities, from the Pole Maximilian Kolbe, to the Roman soldier St. Theodore Tyro, to the Mexican priest Blessed Miguel Pro. This is far more important than my Irish heritage. It does make me wonder, though, just how many of those saints were started on the road to Heaven thanks to an Irish missionary.
These are the kinds of thoughts which kept running through my mind as I watched the movie Gorgo, which on the surface looks as if it is just a British version of Godzilla. Briefly, Gorgo starts off the coast of Ireland by the fictional Nara Island. A salvage ship enters the port after being damaged by a squall precipitated by some sort of undersea earthquake or volcano. While making repairs, the crew witness a giant sea creature attacking the villagers. After a pitched battle, the creature is driven back into the ocean. For some reason Joe Ryan, the captain of the salvage vessel, and the First Mate, Sam Slade, decide that this creature may be worth capturing. This is the first bad idea of the movie, and like all those Japanese monster movies, there is an annoying child around who warns the ambitious captain to leave the creature alone.
The salvage crew captures the sea creature in a sequence which defies logic. When the Irish government finds out about it, they send a couple of experts from a Dublin university to claim it and take it to be studied. Our salvage crew decides to follow the money and instead take an offer to display it at a carnival located in London. This makes perfect sense to me, as I don't know of any famous buildings in Dublin which could be destroyed by a rampaging monster. London, on the other hand, has a lot of cool tourist sites.
The annoying child stows away on the boat and tries to free the creature. When he is unsuccessful, he once again warns Joe and Sam about the danger they face taking this creature away from his home. Of course they ignore him.
Anyways, the creature is delivered to the carnival with a few of the crew of the ship getting killed in the process. This doesn't seem to bother Joe, but Sam begins to have second thoughts about what they have done. They also are responsible for the welfare of that annoying child, who was actually an orphan. It is almost like a foreshadowing of the TV series Two and a Half Men.
At this point, Joe and Sam are informed by some British paleontologists that the creature they captured is probably not full grown. And, to paraphrase one of the scientists, where there are infants, there are usually parents....
Reflections on Gorgo
What follows may be considered SPOILERS. You have been warned.
My fourth green field shall bloom once again, said she.
So, two thoughts came to me as I watched this movie. First of all, the mother monster behaves just like any creature with a maternal instinct. She goes and retrieves her cute little hideous baby monster, defying all that the British Army, Navy, and Air Force can throw at her. When she finds her child, she turns around and, ignoring all of London which has not been devastated, swims back to her undersea lair.
I initially took this as a metaphor for Ireland fighting for her independence from England, where the monster just wanted to get her 'fourth green field' back. In this case the monster child is the last county still 'in bondage,' under the control of England. I guess this was still an issue in 1960; I know that as late as the 1970's there were folks in the United States who were raising money for the Irish Republican Army. At the time of release of this movie, this seemed like a plausible metaphor for the movie: the British steal something from Ireland, and Ireland goes and retrieves it.
With the current situation in Europe and Ireland, I have a little different take on this movie. Perhaps the baby monster represents Ireland - and Europe too - being stolen away from its Christian roots in favor of a materialistic society. Throughout the movie, money is the only thing which motivates Joe and Sam. Warnings from the innocent - but still annoying - child are ignored. The deaths of many islanders and sailors do not deter them from bringing Gorgo to the financial center of one of the world's former great powers. And finally, all of the weapons that man can muster are unable to defeat the creature- a creature which only takes that which is rightfully hers. In a strange way justice prevails, and the constructs of man are left in ruins. Ireland is returned to the bosom of Holy Mother Church, we hope.
Or maybe, like the song says, "History shows again and again how nature points out the folly of man."
Postscript: What does Samuel Beckett have to do with this movie?
I didn't buy this movie; nor did I get a free copy in exchange for this review. No, I watched it on YouTube while walking on the treadmill. Just to make matters more complicated, I actually watched the Mystery Science Theater 3000 version of the movie, which featured Mike Nelson and the Robots making sarcastic comments throughout. One of the more esoteric references made by the 'Bots was how one of the characters looked like the Irish poet Samuel Beckett. For the remainder of that characters 'life' on screen, references were made to several works by Mr. Beckett. One of the more famous of his works was an absurdist play called Waiting for Godot, which has been the subject of much speculation and controversy ever since its appearance in 1953. The play is about two characters waiting for another character named Godot, who never does arrive.
MST 3K did their own version of this play in one of their skits between commercial and movie:
If you like movie reviews and want to read some really good ones which usually tie in to the Faith, I recommend you look at the B-Movie Catechism. This blog really does an excellent job and was my inspiration for writing this review.