Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)

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Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)

Post  BoG on Sat Sep 07, 2013 12:04 am

The alien invasion here is quiet, subtle. It happens in a small California town. The aliens - some form of plant life from another world - replace people with emotionless duplicates. This is an attack on the notion of individuality. In this proposed new world, each 'person' is the same as the next one, except in outward appearance. From the p.o.v. of the aliens, there are much less problems without pesky emotion; but, for humans, this is like the ultimate nightmare - you lose your personal identity, all that you are as a unique being. The main character is the local doctor (Kevin McCarthy) who steadily learns of this incursion, first by the mere rumor and paranoia that people are not behaving as they used to, and loses all his friends and acquaintances to the new order. At one point, the doctor makes the observation of how most humans steadily and voluntarily discard their emotions during their lifetimes - "harden our hearts" - so this invasion may merely be an escalation of what we do anyway. As the only 'survivor' of his community, will his warnings to the rest of the world be heeded..?  

The tone of the first half of the film is that of a strange mystery. McCarthy as the doctor begins to kindle a romance with local beauty Dana Wynter. He's called over by a local writer, a buddy of his, who has found an odd, featureless body on his property. The writer (King Donovan) and his wife (Carolyn Jones) are understandably very nervous but don't know what to make of this. The mystery deepens and is unresolved during that first night because the body eventually disappears and there's no proof. The crucial scene in the film (see pic above) and the abrupt shocking turn occurs around the midpoint; things seem to return to normal the next day and the two couples resume routine activity like barbecuing - typical suburban relaxation - when the doctor suddenly hears and sees new pod bodies being born in the greenhouse. With the sudden shift of the best sci-fi/horror stories, everything changes in several seconds. Now they are on the run and things close in on them rapidly. The full horror of the situation is impressed on the audience near the end, when the blossoming romance between McCarthy and Wynter ends suddenly. The 1st remake, shifting to San Francisco, was in 1978. BoG's Score: 8 out of 10
Trivia of the Body Snatchers: based on Jack Finney's 1954 novel, The Body Snatchers;
----------------------------------- besides the 1978 follow-up, other remakes were in 1993 & 2007 (The Invasion).
----------------------------------- small role for future director Sam Peckinpah as the gas meter man;
---------------------------------- McCarthy would pop up in cameo in the 1978 remake, perhaps as the same character;
----------------------------------- there's at least one colorized version; the one below was released on VHS:
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