Mothra (1961, Ishirô Honda)

So you’ve created Godzilla AND Rodan, directed The Mysterians and made almost thirty other movies. Now what?? Well, Mothra, obviously.

When a ship is in trouble (it’s always a ship in trouble with these japanese monster movies) some guys wash up on an island long thought to be empty and used by Japan for nuclear testing. They meet some natives and tiny girls who give them something to drink that makes ’em impervious to the radiation. Neat. Back home in Tokyo, scientists want to know more and set up a team to check out the island.

Amer… I mean Rolisican jerky businessman Nelson leads the expedition and intrepid reporter Fukuda sneaks along without permission. They find the “tiny beauties” (just like in the 90’s Rebirth of Mothra) and Nelson kidnaps them to make money showing off their tinyness and their beauty and their singing to sold-out theater in his home of New Yor… I mean, New Kirk City.

But their song awakens Mothra, who is drawn towards the song like a moth to… well you know. Fukuda and photographer friend Michi and some damned kid team up to return the tiny beauties to Mothra… but not before many, many models are destroyed, usually by being blown down model streets by Mothra’s giant flapping wings.

This director would later make about fifteen more monster movies and end on a high note, co-directing two of Akira Kurosawa’s final three movies.