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Don't let the title fool you. This one is a classic. (by krorie)
This is one of the great movie allegories. Yes, it is an allegory on the McCarthy era. Yes, it is an allegory on conformist America. But it is also an allegory on the evils of communism and fascism. Yes, it is a plea for sanity and individualism, for creativity and artistic freedom. And again yes it is a great directorial achievement for Don Siegel. All that aside it is also an entertaining film that does what any great movie should do, it moves. The dialog is not stilted or full of clichés. It is original and insightful without becoming preachy. Was Kevin McCarthy chosen because his name <more>
was McCarthy and the film runs counter to McCarthism? I think he was chosen because he was one of the gifted actors of the 1950's whose talents were not fully realized by the film industry. His fellow actors and actresses in the movie shared the same fate. The movie is also a top notch thriller, as good as any Hitchcock. When you're talking about the films of the 1950's that help define the period only a few come to mind: "The Wild One," "Rebel Without A Cause," and "Bad Day at Black Rock" are often cited. But "The Invasion of the Body Snatchers" is the one to study. It epitomizes the American outlook and cold war hysteria of the era as no other film from the decade does.
An American cinematic masterpiece (by SimplySteve)
When I first watched this movie I was a teenager. I knew nothing about the Mcarthey era. I didn't live through the early post cold war paranoia. There were no outside influences aside from my love of movies. I have seen the film over 2 dozen times and believe it to be the best of the 50's generation, and one of the top 3 or 4 science fiction films of all time. With or without the prologue and epilogue.All things are not what they seem. What if you woke up from a nightmare to find that you are still in it, and can't get out. The message is clear. A home, a car, and a career are all <more>
great to strive for in one's life. But love, compassion and emotion are the true gifts to keep living in the first place. Imagine a home without love or any emotion what so ever. None. Good or bad. One by one, Kevin Mcarthy and Dana Wynter are confronted by the loss of neighbors, associates, and friends. The horror of the loss of everything they new. Early on, when a boy thinks his mother isn't his mother, and a friend doubt's her uncle is who he says he is. Doctor Miles is confused and doesn't know what to believe. So he goes with common sense. His eyes see there is no problem. But The evidence piles slowly and precisely. Soon it is not only what to believe, but who to trust.Kevin Mcarthy is outstanding. Dana Wynter is absolutely gorgeous and the chemistry between the two seems real. The film will keep you glued from beginning 'til end. Simply one of the best!
One of the Best Horror Movies of all time! (by GaryKoca)
One of the best horror movies of all time, Invasion of the Body Snatchers is a very suspenseful horror movie that succeeds without any obviously scary monsters. Instead, it relies on suspense, action, impending doom, and a completely eery atmosphere to succeed. The slow buildup, in which the entire town is take over by monsters who emanate from giant pods and take over the bodies of the real people, works extremely well in this film. The cast, featuring a terrific but restrained performance by Kevin McCarthy, is excellent. The surprise ending, featuring an ironic twist caused in part by <more>
California freeway traffic, is excellent. This is simply one of the best horror movies of all time and works without any obvious monsters, makeup, or special effects. Far superior to any of the sequels.
Excellent genre film with intellectual subtexts (by BrandtSponseller)
Dr. Miles J. Bennell Kevin McCarthy is called back to his small California home early from a conference because a number of his patients have been frantically asking to see him. But oddly, when he returns home, most forget about their unspecified needs. At the same time, it seems that a mass hysteria is building where residents believe that friends and loved ones are "not themselves", literally. Just what is going on? As of this writing, it has been more than twenty years since I have seen the 1978 remake of this film, so I can't compare the two at the moment. However, it <more>
would have to be flawless to top this, the original Invasion of the Body Snatchers.The sole factor that caused me to give the film less than a ten was the pacing during portions of the first half hour or so. While it's not bad, exactly, director Don Siegel does not build atmosphere and tension as effectively as he might have while the viewer is being filled in on the necessary exposition. Admittedly, this section is directed in a standard way for its era, but "standard" here is enough to subtract a point.However, once we reach Miles' friend Jack Belicec King Donovan discovering a body on his billiard table, the suspense and tension gradually increase, and the remainder of the film is a very solid ten.The literal "weapon" of the film's horror could have easily come across as cheesy, but it doesn't. Don Post and Milt Rice's special make-up effects and props are threateningly eerie. The transformation sequences involving the props are beautifully shot and edited--showing just enough to make them effective, but not so much that the mystery is gone.It was ingenious to create a story where a whole town gradually turns into a villain, and even natural, unavoidable biological functions threaten our heroes' destruction. In conjunction, it all creates an intense sense of claustrophobia and paranoia for the audience.McCarthy and Dana Wynter, as Miles' girlfriend Becky Driscoll, expertly convey a gradual transformation from common citizens to panic-stricken, desperate victims on the run. The film is also notable for slightly ahead-of-its time portrayals of relationships and divorce.Much has been said about the parallels between Invasion of the Body Snatchers and the "communist paranoia" in the United States in the late 1940s and early 1950s, especially as it was directed against Hollywood by the House of Un-American Activities Committee. And how ironic that the star of Invasion of the Body Snatchers is named McCarthy? However, there is another very interesting subtext present that isn't so often mentioned. The film can also be looked at as a philosophical exploration of personal identity. Just what does it take for people to be themselves? Is it how they look, act, the things they say? Is it not the case that people are constantly transformed into something they weren't just hours ago, or even moments ago? Among the many ways that these kinds of ideas are worked into the script is that sleep is a metaphor for unconscious physical change over time. It would be easy to analyze each scene in the film in this manner, going into detail about the various implications each plot development has on the matter of personal identity.Despite the slight pacing/atmosphere flaw in the beginning, this is a gem of a film, not just for sci-fi and horror fans, and not just for its era. It's worth seeing by anyone with a serious interest in film, and can be enjoyed either on its suspenseful surface level, or more in-depth by those who want to look at the film as more metaphorical material for societal and philosophical concerns.
A doctor comes to a hospital on a late night call to hear a man whom everybody else deems insane. The doctor persuades the man to be patient and tell his story. The man then tells the doctor about how a small California town has been invaded by some sort of alien seeds that grow into human clones...Coming straight from the McCarthy era and general Cold War paranoia this is one scary movie. There is not a gun fired, not a drop of gore shed but the final effect of the film will stay with you for a good while. More contemporary film viewers might recognize the concept from John Carpenter's <more>
"The Thing" which itself was an update of the 1951 film. However, the themes of paranoia and tension are just as nail-biting and intense here.There is a lack of visual punch that so many people are used to today, but just think of the historical context and the implications, basically use your mind! Then you'll see why the film scared studio executives so much that they forced Don Siegel to add an intro and outro to help soften the overall effect. It wasn't the best play in the book, but the film remains a great classic chiller. --- 9/10Not Rated. It would most likely receive a PG from the MPAA, there are several tense moments, though no violence.
Don't sleep. Never go to sleep, because when you close your eyes, they come. They come and snatch your mind away. And, you never wake up. Your memories come to life in another body that looks like you, and acts like you, but it's not you. It's a pod-person from outer space who has reproduced himself as you. This is the terror of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, one of the most dystopian, and original, science fiction stories ever written. The DVD includes a 1985 interview with Kevin McCarthy, who says he never thought the film had any symbolism or allegorical message. "That <more>
came later," he says. He quotes author Jack Finney as saying he [Finney] never wrote it that way. I saw this movie in 1956, it is likely the first movie I ever saw in a theater, and never felt then or now that it has any symbolic meaning. It's a scary story that flat out rocks, and I recommend you approach it as such. But, this does beg the question of all those comments about the aliens who don't need love or any emotion, who believe humanity is better off without them. Why are they in the script, and what do they mean? I want to suggest they are what makes the pod-people scary. The notion of assimilation is inherently scary, of course, and one could argue that no embellishment is necessary, but I think the story as a story is weakened without it. There is a continuity error in this story that has bothered me for more than forty years. Spoiler alert, just in case. In the final sequence, Becky falls asleep, just for a moment, and wakes up a pod person, but that's not how the assimilation takes place. They come at night during sleep and snatch human memories that are migrated into a copy of the original body. Miles speculates that the original body simply disintegrates, and the soul perishes. Becky should have died, and another Becky with her memories should have appeared, but that body should never have regained consciousness as a pod person or human. A minor nit, really, that bothers me less now that I understand it is a nit. The original movie does not contain the opening scene at the hospital, or the epilogue, also at the hospital. They were added because the studio felt the original ending was too depressing. Some feel these additions do not work, but I am not one of them. They add considerably, in fact, to the power of this story. Miles' face in the closing scene is a vivid memory I've carried for almost half a century. His reaction is a catharsis for him personally and his audience. It's a powerful vicarious emotional experience, and the movie would be not nearly as good without it. Kevin McCarthy and Dana Wynter are outstanding here. Wynter is one of the most beautiful women ever to appear onscreen and her first entrance is stunning. Jean Willes and King Donovan are good in supporting roles. This is one of the best pictures of its year, of its decade, and dare I say it, of all time. 9 out of 10.
Allied Artists stunning INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS is arguably the finest Sci-Fi movie ever made. Produced in 1956 by Walter Wanger it was perfectly written for the screen by Daniel Mainwaring who also wrote "Out Of The Past" which derived originally from the Colliers magazine story and then a novel by Jack Finney. Beautifully photographed in black & white and in the short lived widescreen process Superscope by Ellsworth Fredericks the picture is a triumph on all fronts with bracing cinematic nous and expertise from all departments thanks to the committed and adroit <more>
direction by Don Siegel. This movie came from early in the great director's career. He had started off at Warner Bros. doing special effects on such things as "Casablanca" 1942 and "Edge of Darkness" 1943 before he started directing. His first feature to direct was the Sidney Greenstreet classic "The Verdict" in 1946 and then garnered great praise in 1954 when he directed Walter Wanger's tough and gritty prison drama "Riot In Cell Block 11". Latterly Siegel is better known for his association with Clint Eastwood for whom he directed some of the actor's most memorable films. In 1976 he directed John Wayne in his final film "The Shootist" and Siegel's own final film was the best forgotten Bette Midler vehicle "Jinxed" in 1983. Don Siegel died in 1991 but of all his films he will probably be best remembered for Wanger's two classics "Riot In Cell Block 11" and INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS.On his return home after attending a medical conference in the city a young small town doctor Kevin McCarthy finds some of his patients acting somewhat strangely. It is not too long before he discovers much to his horror that their very bodies have been taken over by an alien life form. Further investigation establishes the strange life form germinated in giant seed pods that were placed near their victims as they slept. Without any noticeable difference in their physical appearance the aliens perfectly replicated the human form with one exception the "new" beings have no human feelings or emotions. Soon everyone in the town is affected including the police and all of the doctor's friends. Now, together with his girlfriend Dana Wynter , he must endeavour to escape from the town - get to the capital and warn the authorities. But in order to survive and make the journey they not only have to evade the now alien townspeople who are pursuing them en masse but ensure at all costs that they don't fall asleep.Although the cast is made up mostly of minor players the performances throughout are uniformly excellent. Kevin McCarthy - he of the chiseled-jaw - a fine character actor in anything he did is good here as the main protagonist imbuing his role with just about the right degree of fear and trepidation. The lovely Dana Wynter - she of the cute little upturned nose - is as attractive as ever in what must be her most memorable role. Also interesting are well measured portrayals from such minor actors as King Donovan, Carolyn Jones in one of her early films , Virginia Christine, Larry Gates and Ralph Dumke as the police chief. And watch out for the unknown Sam Peckinpah in a tiny part as a meter reading gas-man and later towards the end - when an exhausted McCarthy finally reaches the busy freeway - Pechinpah leading the pursuers shouts "Let him go......they'll never believe him". There are also some lovely moments of pure film noir! Ellsworth Frederick's monochrome camera makes ingenious use of light and shadow, up and down narrow office corridors, McCarthy and Wynter hiding from the police in an office closet and particularly brilliant is the clip when the pair are silhouetted against the dimly lit wet streets and alleyways at night as they race hand in hand to escape their incredible nightmare. And holding the whole thing together is the splendid score - if perhaps a tad over emphatic - from composer conductor Carmen Dragon.INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS is not only a superb Sci-Fi adventure but more significantly it is an imaginative, intense and suspenseful thriller of a motion picture. The brilliance with which it steadfastly maintains to this day.
Stunning and frightening adaptation which emerged as a cinema classic compellingly by Donald Siegel (by ma-cortes)
Splendid Sci-Fi picture which achieved tremendous and unexpected success on its appearance . Science Fiction and fantasy is presented in its most horrifying form . A genuinely frightening , chilling exercise in nightmare dislocation in which hideous creatures from outer space arrive on Earth with plans of conquest by means of pods and being based upon a novel by Jack Finney . There are not monsters only the residents of a town , as their wills , minds and bodies taken over by a weird form of life from outer space . This is the first adaptation , still very scary and creepy about a vintage <more>
novel deals with a little town residents who are being replaced by duplicates hatched from weird pods . It creates an altering the human behaviour in the new invaders . Meanwhile , a doctor top-notch Kevin McCarthy as an angst-ridden medic must protect his girlfriend significant role for gorgeous Dana Wynter and soon aware that pods from outer space are duplicating and menacing everyone there . The doctor may hold the means to avoid the extraterrestrial invasion as he discovers their friends are being taking over by cold human-duplicates , as one by one are turned into aliens . The mysterious epidemic from outer space is spread her friends and known people Larry Gates , King Donovan , Carolyn Jones , Sam Peckinpah and small California town people , everybody are being taken over by emotionless , cold behaving beings . The mysterious seeds from outer space are growing and destroying a little town at an alarming attack.This scary Sci-Fi displays a tense screenplay based on Jack Finney novel titled ¨Body snatchers¨ that can be considered truly disturbing . Packs eerie suspense , chills , thrills , spectacular scenes , chilly events and pretty turns and twists . A ceaselessly inventive , ghastly rendition of the alien take-over paradigm , including a a nice built-in paranoia so well tuned for the times that some saw it a parable Communist Witch Hunts. The one and only post-McCarthy paranoid fantasy epic , where a small California town is infiltrated by pods from outer space that replace and replicate human beings . It profits from a winning and intense acting by Kevin McCarthy along with an enjoyable Dana Wynter ; furthermore , a perfect direction by maestro Donald Siegel who proved himself master of the eerie clutch at the base of one's spine . Appropriately exciting and frightening musical score by Carmen Dragon . Very good cinematography and evocatively eerie ambient , including appropriate production design . The motion picture was professionally directed by Donald Siegel . Director Siegel brought an entirely new approach to the Sci-Fi field . He filmed an excellent story and it has emerged as a cinema classic that brings astonishing nightmares . Lovers of the thriller/chiller should no miss this remarkable Sci-Fi , everybody will have fun being scared by this expertly crafted film . Other versions about this known story are the following : 1978 new version , being one of few instances where a remake is an improvement on the original , directed by Philip Kauffman with Donald Sutherland , Brooke Adams and features cameos by Don Siegel and Kevin McCarthy from the original , realized with great originality in spite of being a remake concerning again about mysterious seeds duplicating people . And yet another inferior rendition in which the horror is diminished , being shot by Abel Ferrara 1994 that takes place in a military base in which turns out to be invested with pod people , starred by Forest Whitaker , Meg Tilly, Terry Kinney and Gabriella Anwar , it is regular version as is slow-paced with few jolts of horror . Lately recent version that results to be the least satisfactory titled ¨Invasion¨ with Daniel Craig, Nicole Kidman , Jeffrey Wright and directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel , this so-so take on , it takes advantage of the advances in FX , sound technology and some interesting visual effects . Rating : Better than average . Worthwhile watching .
A Very Exciting and Often Involving Noir Fantasy Thriller; Recommended (by silverscreen888)
The decision to make this fascinating novel into a noir thriller worked very well on its own merits as an "adventure" with mostly-implicit ideas as motivations; however, I believe the film could have been made into a dramatic work of unusual power, It is B/W, swift-paced, intelligently acted and unusually- well-directed by Don Siegel, with a literate script by Daniel Mainwaring. The project is also interesting and disturbing for a number of reasons. Jack Finney wrote a novel in the 1950s which some read as a loss of American individualism, and others as an attack on Cold-War <more>
mentality realpolitik. Whatever the wellsprings of this fine idea, Finney's story treated of "seeds from space"; the idea is that these came to Earth and have the power to reproduce themselves into any living thing's form, right down to its thought patterns, memories, etc. But of course they have no emotions--they are merely replicas, not the originals. A mass hysteria grips the town of Santa Mira, California, shortly after their secret arrival on our planet; and Dr. Miles Bennell is called home from a conference because a dozen people claim some relative or beloved friend is not who they were before. When this seems to die down, Miles has time to pursue old flame and lovely Becky Driscoll, now that both their divorces are final. But the problem does not disappear and cannot be explained away by a psychologist friend of Bennelle's, thoughtfully played by Larry Gates. Bennell and his friend Jack Belicec and his wife Teddie find a body on Jack's pool table; his wife think's it's an alien thing--to replace Jack. They three flee to Miles's house, and Bennell goes to get Becky--carrying her off into the night. The next day looks sunny and normal, except that they find huge seed pods in Bennell's greenhouse, turning into--something else. Or someone? The remainder of the film consists of Bennell trying to call for help, observing the distribution of seeds in trucks in the small town's center, being trapped in his office, overcoming two guards, fleeing, and losing Becky to the monsters, before he finally convinces authorities that he is not insane; this requires an accident--to a truck carrying giant seed pods, from Santa Mira. As Bennell, Kevin McCarthy is quite good if not ideal. Dana Wynter is classically good as Becky; King Donovan and Carolyn Jones are the Belicecs, she doing a great deal with little to work from. Ralph Dumke as the Police Chief and Virginia Christine as Becky's Aunt Wilma are also standouts. Others in the cast include Kenneth Patterson, Tom Fadden, Guy Rennie and Jean Willes as Bennell's nurse. The production values are all good, by my standards, but only the direction is outstanding, except for the special effects. Carmen Dragon supplied eerie music suitable to the action. The loss to the film occasioned by its being made as a frightening adventure can be gauged best perhaps by comparing the qualities of Raymond Chandler's The Little Sister with the enjoyable adventure-level film "Marlowe" made in the 1970s. What we have here is a taut and often moving entertainment; what we might have had could have contained every element here, but could also perhaps have been even more intriguing. The theme of the film is "what makes a person human"; and no stronger idea for an idea-level fantasy can perhaps be imagined. But what we have here is a famous and interesting thriller in its own right; I like the envelope involving Richard Deacon, Whitner Bissell and others as the doctors at a mental hospital to which a raving Bennell is taken when he escape Santa Mira's nightmare. The original "They're here!" ending to me would have been unacceptably alarmist.