Carol T. (mamatraub) from SACRAMENTO, CA Reviewed on 3/28/2010...
This is a classic!
1 of 4 member(s) found this review helpful.
Shim F. Reviewed on 2/18/2008...
This movie is a little scary.
The music will get you every time.
1 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.
Memorable Film in Excellent No-Frills DVD Release
Gary F. Taylor | Biloxi, MS USA | 10/10/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"According to Hollywood lore, the cast and crew of this film decided to play a practical joke on actress Carolyn Jones during the filming: while she was out of her bungalow, they slipped in and left one of the large seedpods made for the film on her bed. They received a more memorable response than they expected, for when Jones returned to her bungalow for a nap and found the pod she ran screaming out into the street.
And such is the power of this film. There are no major special effects, and for the most part everything looks the way it should in small town America of the 1950s. But the idea it presents and the paranoia it creates is a remarkable, tangible thing.
Loosely based on the novella by Jack Finney and directed by Don Siegel, THE INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS was just a little black and white horror film--but it exploded within America's 1950s subconscious with all the force of an atomic bomb, tapping into fears of everything from Cold War-era communism to a decreasing sense of community to the notorious House Unamerican Activities Committee. And in the process it became one of the most influential horror films ever made, a motion picture that would exert a strong pull on every one from novelist Stephen King to filmmakers like Wolf Rilla.
The story has been told in no fewer than three film versions, but while the Donald Sutherland and the Meg Tilley versions are each quite fine in their own ways, the original remains the most powerful. Dr. Bennell (Kevin McCarthy) returns to the small California town of Santa Mira from a medical convention--only to discover that several members of the community have developed a strange form of hysteria: they have become convinced that certain friends and relatives are being impersonated by exact duplicates. Bennell brushes this aside as an oddity, but he soon realizes there is more to this than mere hysteria. The people of his small community are indeed being replaced by duplicates--duplicates being spawned by a strange plant-like alien lifeform.
Everything about this film is remarkably fine. The direction is first rate, the script is sharp and intriguing, and the film has a remarkable "everyday" look to it that is gradually subverted by increasing darkness and unexpected camera angles. And the cast is extremely, extremely good. Kevin McCarthy, the beautiful Dana Wynter, King Donovan, and Carolyn Jones all give truly amazing performances in the leads, and the overall ensemble is every bit their equal.
The DVD offers the choice of widescreen and standard ratio; apparently it was filmed in standard ratio but later converted to widescreen when that format became the norm. I must say that it works well in either version. The bonuses are slight, including only a brief interview with McCarthy, but it is quite interesting. And the transfer to DVD is extremely good. Even if you already a VHS version of this film, you may find it worth the cost to replace it with this DVD. Recommended.
GFT, Amazon Reviewer"
Keep awake, keep awake!!!!.
Maximiliano F Yofre | Buenos Aires, Argentina | 06/17/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a remarkable movie in many ways. With a relatively small budget a very interesting Sci-Fi / horror film is made. No big visual effects, no Big Stars in the cast, black n' white photography and still a griping story. There are two remakes of this story, they can't stand against the original one, even if they were produced with a bigger budget and known actors.
This is the plot: Dr. Bennell (Kevin McCarthy) returns to his small home town ready to attend patients. Different consultants tell him of a paranoid syndrome: their relatives seem somehow changed. A couple of days after that, they return to his office and tell him "Everything is OK". Dr. Bennell and her old times girl friend Becky Driscoll (Dana Wynter) soon realize the town is being subject to an alien invasion plot. Huge seed are "planted" in basements or garages and evolved in a duplicate of a person (a clone will be called today). As soon as the victim fells asleep is "transformed". The tension grows up as time pass and the characters need to sleep.
Some comments issued around the film pointed out that it may be taken as a parable of the Cold War raging at the time it was released (1956). I think that there are more films of that period, alluding the frightful issue of "They are like us but they are NOT us and they are dangerous", as in "The Thing from another World" (1951) or "I Married a Monster from Outer Space" (1958).
The actress Carolyn Jones (later best known by her impersonation of Morticia at the "Addams Family" TV serial) play a short, but very well enacted, role A very enjoyable film to be seen. Duration: 80 minutes. Reviewed by Max Yofre."
Paranoia From A Pod
Ryan Costantino | Nowhere, Special | 08/11/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"For those people out there who have not seen this film (or read the excellent book it was based on) a classic sci-fi treat lies in wait to take over your lives and endow you all with a driving need to conform and obey. Or maybe just replace you with a carbon copy replica.
That's right, long before the fear of cloning and internet derived identity theft, the fear of being replaced with a doppleganger consumed the masses, driving them to the brink of hysteria. And moviegoing, let's not forget the rampant moviegoing.
Before the advent (and allowance) of gore and excessive violence film makers were forced to rely on actual storytelling and directing skill to make movies. Case in point: Invasion of the Body Snatchers, a film that succeeds because it takes its premise and runs with it, full bore at the audience, and provides one heckuva case of the screaming heebie jeebies.
While this movie is almost always categorized as a sci-fi film I personally view it as a Horror film that takes the "What If?" notion to a still very scary degree.
What if you found out that your friends, neighbors, and loved ones were all being methodically replaced for no apparent reason?
What if you found out that a vast and far reaching conspiracy existed and the conspirators knew that you knew of their existence?
What if you were being hunted?
And finally, the terrifying humdinger that pushes you over the brink: What if no one believed you?
All of these questions are addressed in this film with a flair that was probably more a reflection of the times (need proof, just watch the remake with Jeff Goldblum and Donald Sutherland) then the studio's desire to produce what can be rightfully called a genre masterpiece.
So for anybody who appreciates film and its history, or for anyone who likes to actually be scared by a movie seek out this film.
P.S. Expect a new, better edition of Invasion of the Body Snatchers with more bells and whistles in the future, it's long overdue."
Body Snatchers Invade Video Collection
Maximiliano F Yofre | 10/29/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Don Siegel's Invasion of the Body Snatchers proves to be a classic of the science-fiction genre. Usually bored to death of sci-fi films, I quite enjoyed this film of pods taking over and transforming themselves into the citizens of Santa Mira, while they sleep, in the hopes of soon engulfing the entire world. Brilliantly acted by Kevin McCarthy in the role Miles Bennel, and Dana Wynter as Becky Driscoll, with a wonderful supporting cast, the film is easily believable. With Milt Rice in charge of special effects, the entire collaberation is a marvel for its time. Upon returning home from a trip, Miles finds the Santa Mira townspeople to be acting a bit unusual, but little does he know that one by one the townspeople are being taken over by pods from another world. Miles and Becky, Miles' girlfriend, attempt to warn the town and save the others, but it soon proves to be no easy feat for them to save themselves. The two drive, and then literally run, for their lives through the California hills. If they can make it to the highway and then to the neighboring town, perhaps they and the world can be saved. With impressive cinematography by Ellsworth Fredericks, notably the highway scene late in the film, and a striking musical score by Carmen Dragon, this film has quickly become one of my favorites. To occupy a place on the shelves amidst my usual favorites is not an easy thing for a film to do, especially for one that is science-fiction, but this brilliant sci-fi film, which hints a bit at McCarthyism, is a can't miss for any film lover."
The First Is Still The Best
Eleanor C. Ray | Iowa, USA | 03/29/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is the original, black-and-white version of the movie. Unlike later movies that focus on gore, this one focusses on actual horror--the fear that one day you will wake up and the people you know will not be who they were, and you may not even know they are changed. Based on the book The Body Snatchers, it focusses on a small town doctor who begins hearing people say that their loved ones are not really their loved ones. From there he is introduced to a dead body that is slowly coming alive before his eyes, and a town...well, you should see it for yourself. This is first-rate speculative fiction, and a must-have classic for your film library."