War of the Worlds (1953)

Starring: Gene Barry, Ann Robinson
Director: Byron Haskin
Edition Details: Region 2 encoding (Europe, Japan, South Africa and the Middle East including Egypt)
, Dubbed, PAL
Features: Theatrical Trailer
Aspect Ratio: 1.33 Full Screen
Available Audio Tracks: Dolby Digital Stereo, Dolby Digital Mono
Main Language: English
Dubbed Language(s): French, German, Italian, Spanish
Subtitles: Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish
Hearing Impaired: English
Disc Format: DVD 5



Ahh, the ?Fifties . . .

Back then you can have an impressive-sounding degree in physics or whatever, but you'd be still be relegated to making coffee for the men!

It was time when alien invaders still came from Mars and were probably godless communists to boot.

Back then even a sci-fi alien invasion movie based on an H.G. Wells novel felt like a Biblical Epic (War of the Worlds ends with a voice-over praising God for having put bacteria on the Earth, er, hallelujah! The 1951 When Worlds Collide opens with a voice-over right out of The Ten Commandments)!

When state-of-the-art special effects in expensive Hollywood productions meant keeping models of flying alien crafts aloft with lots (and I mean lots!) of clearly visible wires. When everything in movies looked fake because, well, they were fake - fake studio trees, fake studio rocks, fake studio whatever. When everybody in movies smoked because, well, everybody smoked - it wasn't like it was bad for you, now was it?

Ahhh, back when . . . OK, so this hugely influential 1953 George Pal production of War of the Worlds is quite dated half a century later. The effects look cheesy, and transporting the setting from Wells? turn-of-the-century England to modern-day (okay, 1950s) California doesn't help when it comes to those cowboy outfits worn during a barn dance (I kid you not!).

But hey! I still liked it better than Independence Day, the movie which would plunder it whole scale right down to the bit about nuclear weapons being ineffective against the invaders (obviously a bit inserted into the movie which wasn't in the book since - duh! - the atom bomb weren't invented at the time Wells wrote it.)

Interesting to note that Orson Welles' famous War of the Worlds radio cast which caused such a panic was set in New York.

Also that that the evil scientist torturing poor Mike Nelson (and Joel Hodges) in the cult Mystery Science Theater 3000 TV show is named after our scientist protagonist in this movie. But you already knew that, now didn't you?

THE DISC: This Region 2 disc has . . . a trailer. Quite a shabby treatment of an important movie such as this one (voted number 48 of the Top 50 SF movies of all time by the Online Film Critics? Society). Image quality is stunning though for a movie that is now more than half-a-century old. Original mono sound is good too. Occasional (but very little) scratches and other artefacts on the print being used. Hey, we've seen movies only few years old that look worse on DVD than this baby.

WORTH IT? Cheesy mid-20th century movie immaculately preserved on late 20th century technology - what's not to like?

RECOMMENDATION: Pick it up when it hits the bargain bins.



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