STARRING: Kevin McCarthy, Dana Wynter, Larry Gates, King Donovan, Carolyn Jones, Jean Willes, Ralph Dumke, Virginia Christine, Tom Fadden, Kenneth Patterson

1956, 80 Minutes, Directed by: Don Siegel

invasion56_a.jpg (20159 bytes)
Description: Something's wrong in the town of Santa Mira, California. At first, Dr. Miles Bennell (Kevin McCarthy) is unconcerned when the townsfolk accuse their loved ones of acting like emotionless impostors. But soon the evidence is overwhelming--Santa Mira has been invaded by alien "pods" that are capable of replicating humans and taking possession of their identities. It's up to McCarthy to spread the word of warning, battling the alien invasion at the risk of his own life.

The much underrated 1978 Invasion of the Body Snatchers is still probably the best movie based on Jack Finney's 1955 science fiction novel, The Body Snatchers but that doesn't make this 1956 version bad, quite the opposite.

This classic is a tautly directed affair. Hardly a moment of screen time is wasted as the story gets underway straight off. Add to his some very effective Black & White photography and none of the cheesy reliance on rubber monsters that characterized other 1950s sci-fi output and you have some creepy moments that'll stick in the mind after popping the movie out of the VCR.

Finney's story while it may seem over-familiar to modern audiences still remains the movie's strong point: an alien invasion by creatures who takes over humans. Who is human and who is not? Who can be trusted? Also, a sense of helplessness adds to the tension. Soon, the lead character is the only human left in the small American town targeted by the aliens. And the authorities are unwilling to listen to his story or are they also possessed? Invasion of the Body Snatchers is a classic must-see that remains potent to this very day.

Incidentally, if you have seen the other versions, you'd realize that they are more variations on the same theme rather than straightforward remakes. In this original the action takes place in a small American town, in the 1978 one it is the city of San Francisco (its urban setting makes it more upsetting since most city dwellers probably already suffer from a sense of alienation in any case). The 1994 Body Snatchers is set in a military base a bit of a misconceived idea since soldiers in a military base are supposed to be all the same! The 2007 The Invasion starring Daniel Craig and Nicole Kidman returns the action to an urban environment.


# 17
of the
Top 100 Sci-Fi Movies
of all time




blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest Headlines

Most Popular

Copyright © 1997-forward James O'Ehley/The Sci-Fi Movie Page (unless where indicated otherwise).