Comparison between the Japanese Theatrical Version and the Director's Version, as well as the US Extended Version (all included on Arrow Video's UK Blu-ray).
Runtime of the Director's Version: 81:15 min
- One additional part in the Director's Version with a duration of 543,3 sec (= 9:03 min)
In 1965, Gamera: The Giant Monster was the answer of the Japanese studio Daiei Film to the success of rival Toho Films with Godzilla and the kaiju boom in general. A mutated turtle takes the monster part here and unsurprisingly, they also gradually appealed more and more to a younger audience. The fourth part, Gamera vs. Viras, was released in 1968 and unfortunately shows that the studio was a bit strapped for cash. They tried to disguise the greatly reduced budget by simply recycling material from the direct predecessors. And that brings us to the core of this report, which summarizes three film versions.
So in the best known "Director's Version", you find a longer retrospective sequence in the first half with a longer monster fight taken from the second part, Gamera vs. Barugon. This stretched the film to about 80 minutes. In America, however, they went one better by adding a similarly long flashback sequence to scenes from the third part, Gamera vs. Gyaos, in the same scene block.
This American "extended version" in particular is ultimately NOT recommendable, as it simply seems completely overdone to be bombarded with just under 20 minutes of stock footage in one piece with no dramaturgical relevance. This was historically probably the first cut made for the new export deal with American International Pictures. Director Noriaki Yuasa was not involved in the original addition of the flashback block, but later signed off on the roughly 80-minute "director's version" as a compromise.
In Japan, a version was released on DVD without this flashback block at all. Accordingly, Arrow Video also included such a version as the "Theatrical Version" for the highly recommended Blu-ray box set in the UK. The other two film versions are also selectable with seamless branching. The credits, by the way, are identical in Japanese in all film versions - but in the bonus section, the English-language adaptations of them are also archieved separately. Therefore, it's a well-rounded bundle. In addition, of course, it's nice that unlike many other genre peers, even from the Gamera series, no cuts were made for the releases in the U.S. or for export in general.
Theatrical Version 22:21 / DV 22:21-31:24
After the ice is broken, in the Director's Version (= DV) first follows a flashback to Gamera vs. Barugon. An off-screen narrator also briefly classifies this accordingly.
The Theatrical Version is back only with a close-up of the fire-breathing Gamera. In between, we also saw a couple of short re-cuts to the boy and the troop in the forest, which were just not just flashback moments, but continued the actual film story. Separately illustrated here is this rear part, which comes only after the Extended section, which is highlighted again individually in the following:
total 543.3 sec (= 9:03 min)
DV 29:06 / EXT 29:06-38:12
Within this DV extension (see delimited image block), only in the Extended does a longer part of the confrontation with Gyaos from the sequel Gamera vs. Gyaos follow. Again, this is prefaced with corresponding commentary from the off-screen narrator regarding Gyaos.
546.4 sec (= 9:06 min)