After the success of 1950's Destination Moon and 1951's When Worlds Collide, visionary producer George Pal brought the classic H.G. Wells story of a Martian invasion to the big screen, and it instantly became a science fic... more »tion classic and winner of the 1953 Academy Award for Best Special Effects. It's a work of frightening imagination, with its manta-ray spaceships armed with cobra-like probes that shoot a white-hot disintegration ray. As formations of alien ships continue to wreak destruction around the globe, the military is helpless to stop this enemy while scientists race to find an effective weapon. Gene Barry and Ann Robinson play the hero and heroine roles that were de rigueur for movies like this in the '50s, and their encounter with one of the Martians is as creepy today as it was in '53. It finally takes an unseen threat--simple Earth bacteria--to conquer the alien invaders, but not before War of the Worlds has provided a dazzling display of impressive special effects. As memorable for its sound effects as for its spectacular visions of destruction, this is a movie for the ages--the kind of spectacular that inspired little kids such as Steven Spielberg (not to mention Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin, whose Independence Day cribs liberally from the plot) and still packs a punch. --Jeff Shannon« less
Chad B. (abrnt1) from CABERY, IL Reviewed on 2/23/2012...
Forget the badly thought out Spielberg version. This is the version of War of the Worlds to watch. This film does have some differences from the novel (no tripods), but does a superior job of capturing the overall feel of the book.
2 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
Patti M. from ELK CITY, OK Reviewed on 8/7/2011...
this is the original WAR OF THE WORLDS.
to me better than the remake.
gene berry is a top professor, geologist in the country. he and
other geologists are fishing near a small town when an astroid type
thing comes blasting out of the sky. so hot no one can get to it.
they soon realize that these are martians up to no good.
see what they look like.
see gene berry met the girl [not a kid]
see how we fight.
see how the martians are conquered.
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
James B. (wandersoul73) from LINDALE, TX Reviewed on 6/22/2009...
This is really a great classic!
2 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
Very Shabby DVD of the 1953 Sci-Fi Classic
Gary F. Taylor | Biloxi, MS USA | 07/11/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"If you have a VHS version with which you are satisfied, hang on to it: the DVD release of 1953's WAR OF THE WORLDS is a slipshod and very shabby affair.Loosely based on the classic H.G. Wells novel, WAR OF THE WORLDS moves the original story from late 19th Century England to 1950s California, where a group of scientists confront an invasion from Mars. Arriving in meteor-like projectiles and sweeping across the landscape in strange, birdlike machines armed with death-rays, the Martians prove invincible to human attack. How can mankind survive?The great attraction of the film is its special effects, which is early 1950s state-of-the-art in its combination of rear-screen projections, miniatures, and truly imaginative design. But the film also has an additional interest, for it is very much of its time, presenting us with some of the most relentlessly stereotypical characters to ever reach the screen. This is particularly true in terms of gender roles, for seldom has any film before or after created such a hysteria-prone and clinging leading lady as Sylvia Van Buren, played here by the hapless Ann Robinson. Not only would the special effects and story prove tremendously influential, so too would the film's gender stereotyping. While the slightly earlier THE THING offered a strong female lead, THE WAR OF THE WORLDS would generally set the tone for every sci-fi leading lady well into the 1960s.But all of this is analytical criticism. We may hoot a bit at the incredibly broad performances, the frequently silly dialogue, and the truly ludicrous gender roles, but WAR OF THE WORLDS is a tremendous amount of fun to watch. It makes you want to break out a bag of popcorn and curl up with friends and family in true Saturday matinee fashion. And it is a great pity that the DVD release is so... well... dire.The DVD was transferred from a poor-condition print riddled with artifacts. In an effort to compensate for this, the technicians have toyed with the contrast, and as a result the picture quality varies from foggy to grainy--and in the process quite often reveals the wires used to manipulate the famous Martian machines. Adding insult to injury, the technicians have also fiddled with the color balance, often reducing the film's brilliant colors to a grayish hues. There are also problems with the sound; when I watched the DVD I found that the sound levels of several scenes were so faint I had to turn up the volume... and then, quite naturally, when the soundtrack returned to normal the blast almost blew me through the wall.It seems almost beside the point to note that there are no bonus features beyond the original movie trailer--which, sadly, is in better visual condition than the film itself. I purchased this DVD with the idea of replacing my VHS copy, but it was money wasted. Get the VHS and hope that someday someone will give this film the DVD release it deserves.--GFT (Amazon.com Reviewer)--"
DVD Does Justice to a SF Classic
Blackhawk | Huntsville, AL USA | 01/29/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Based on H.G. Wells' classic novel, George Pal's The War Of The Worlds is a classic in its own right. The movie transfers the story from England and the turn of the century to California and the 1950's. Some people see the paranoia of the '50s in the movie but the novel also had a strong theme of fear of things beyond our ken. Pal often included a religious theme in his movies and this film would have been better without it, but it does not detract from the movie enough to keep it from being a classic. The story is that of an invasion of Earth by coldly intelligent Martians. Told in clear, bold strokes with exceptional special effects (for the time) and fine performances by the two leads, Gene Barry and Ann Robinson, The War Of The Worlds should be in every collection of science fiction movies. The DVD transfer is excellent. The picture is sharp and clear. The color is strong and rich, as Technicolor should be. Like most people, I had only seen this movie on television and it never looked as good as it does on DVD. The picture resolution is so good that you can easily see the wires supporting the Martian war machines. The sound does not measure up to the standard of the video. It is mono and there are cracks and pops on the sound track during the early part of the movie, though I didn't notice them as much in the later scenes (but that may simply be because I was caught up in the excitement of the story). The disk provides only a trailer as supplemental material (I don't consider scene selection to be a special feature, it should be standard on any DVD). The disk is formatted in TV standard but that is not significantly different from the movie's original ratio, since it was not shot in what we now call widescreen. Although I would have liked to see more supplemental material, this is still a fine DVD of a nearly fifty year old movie that has not received the special treatment of movies like The Wizard Of Oz."
Review for special edition: release 11/05
R. Gorey | New York | 11/07/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"War of the Worlds has been on DVD before, but it's much better in this special edition, restored and presented, thankfully, in full frame, as it was shot. The print quality is just beautiful, and the movie looks as good as it's ever looked. Special features are also of a high standard: especially welcome are the commentaries by stars Ann Robinson and Gene Barry. Barry seems a little less in command than Robinson, but she graciously compensates, by eloquently describing her experiences, her affection for Barry and producer George Pal, and the film itself, with which she seems wonderfully familiar. Her insight is detailed, sometimes funny, exhaustive, and genuinely revealing--even down to the revelation of a cameo by Woody Woodpecker. Images are so crisp that the wires supporting the ships are sometimes sadly visible, but fans will be so caught up in the frightening story that this won't matter much at all. For those who love this film, I'd say get out there and pick this up: someone got it right, and went to the trouble to present this admired film in an edition that can really be called "special". What a pleasure to see old Technicolor the way it was meant to be seen! A great movie, and a great DVD."
From 1950's Fear of War, A Landmark Sci-Fi Film Was Born
M. Hart | USA | 03/11/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The beginnings of rocketry, fear of science & new technology, the carnage of World War II, the emergence of the Cold War and the fear of nuclear war created an atmosphere in the 1950's perfect for the production of many sci-fi films filled with similar themes. Initiated by the classic film "The Day the Earth Stood Still" in 1951, and including films such as "Forbidden Planet" (1956) and "This Island Earth" (1955), most 1950's sci-fi films focused on war, death, destruction or unbridled technology. Of these, no film better illustrates these themes better than the 1953 film "The War of the Worlds", which was based upon the novel by classic sci-fi author H.G. Wells (1866-1946).Directed by Byron Haskin (whose behind-the-camera film career includes cinematography and special effects), "The War of the Worlds" begins when a meteor lands in the hills outside of a small California town not far from Los Angeles. Shortly after a scientist from a nearby university, Dr. Clayton Forrester (Gene Barry), comes to investigate the meteor, the meteor opens to reveal several deadly Martian machines whose weapons and defenses are unmatched by anything that man can muster. (In H.G. Well's original novel, Clayton Forrester is a reporter and the meteor lands in England.) In the nearby town, Dr. Forrester meets Sylvia Van Buren (Ann Robinson) and her uncle Matthew Collins (Lewis Martin), a local church pastor. For 1950's special effects technology, the Martian machines and their weapons are done very well. Instead of rising on mechanical legs as envisioned by H.G. Wells, they rise on invisible electromagnetic energy allowing them to float above the ground. Over the course of the film, more meteors land around the earth harboring more seemingly unstoppable Martian machines, and a romance develops between Dr. Forrester and Sylvia. The film has many memorable scenes including Dr. Forrester and Sylvia attempting to escape the Martians in a light airplane, their encounter with more Martians in an abondoned farmhouse, Dr. Forrester battling with frightened mobs in the streets of Los Angeles and his relentless search for Sylvia. Other memorable characters include Major General Mann (Les Tremayne), Dr. Bilderbeck (Sandro Giglio), Dr. Dupree (Ann Codee, uncredited) and the commentary as read by Cedric Hardwicke. Producer George Pal did an excellent job by picking Byron Haskin to direct the film. He also produced "When Worlds Collide" (1951) and both produced and directed "tom thumb" (1958), "The Time Machine" (1960) and "Seven Faces of Dr. Lao" (1964). "The War of the Worlds" was a landmark sci-fi film that continues to encourage writers and producers to create even more sci-fi stories. Among them was a sci-fi TV series (44 episodes) of the same name produced between 1988 and 1990. Overall, I rate "The War of the Worlds" with a highly deserved 5 out of 5 stars and I regard it to be one of the best sci-fi films ever produced in the 1950's."
The Grandfather of all Science Fiction Movies in the USA
Gunner | Bethlehem,Georgia | 03/19/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The War Of The Worlds DVD
The War Of The Worlds is based on the story by that name by the , Father of Science Fiction, H.G. Wells, at least in the english language. It's about an invasion of Earth by what is thought to be Martians with superhuman talents and weapons. This story was made famous by Orson Wells on his Halloween special on October 30, 1938 when he reenacted it on a CBS radio show as if it were true, using actual street names and place names to make it more realistic. People panicked grabbed their guns and hid their children. Gene Barry plays the protagonist in the movie with Ann Robinson as his "love interest" (got to have a pretty girl).
Highly recommended for fans of science Fiction, both books and movies, to see the roots of what is coming out even today See A Hymn Before Battle (Posleen War Series #1)John Ring's Posleen War series beginninig with A Hymn Before Battle