March 28, 2017

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956).

Review #920: Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

Kevin McCarthy (Dr. Miles Bennell), Dana Wynter (Becky Driscoll), Larry Gates (Dr. Dan Kauffman), King Donovan (Jack Belicec), Carolyn Jones (Theodora "Teddy" Belicec), Jean Willes (Nurse Sally Withers), Ralph Dumke (Police Chief Nick Grivett), Virginia Christine (Wilma Lentz), and Tom Fadden (Uncle Ira Lentz) Directed by Don Siegel (#893 - Dirty Harry)

What is it about science fiction that entertains us so much? What is it about horror and and aliens that lure us so much to watch? The 1950s definitely had a great deal of entertainment with these things, but this film (based of the novel "The Body Snatcher" by Jack Finney) manages to shine on its own, becoming a film worth discussing in part because of how it constructs himself. Even if one treats it as just a horror flick (as what the director and writers have stated they were intending), It's an interesting horror film in how it invokes fear and fright from how little you really see of the terror. The film also has decent cinematography by Ellsworth Fredericks, with the shadows and lighting working nicely with the sets. McCarthy is a good lead, fitting as a storyteller and hero like a glove. Wynter is also pretty decent, having some chemistry with McCarthy while also proving to be capable for some scenes. Donovan and Jones do a pretty fine job as well in accompanying the others in a movie that always seems doing something beneath the surface. Nobody is killed on screen, nor is there much in terms of what the pod people are (aside from a part near the climax), but it has a great degree of layers within this thriller. Numerous things have been written about it being an allegory for things in the 1950s (this was the Cold War era after all), but the easiest one can be the way that people can act towards cultural things with a sense of unfeeling. While the nature of how the narrative is set up may be a bit clunky (in short, it's a flashback narrative), the movie is at least swift enough to never cop itself out too much. There is something really interesting about the way it speaks about conformity and autonomy in this film, and it doesn't bash you over the head with any sort of overwrought kind of nature. On the whole, this is an entertaining film that inspires fear along with thought in part due to a fine cast and fine direction that work together to make a critical film from the 1950s.

Overall, I give it 9 out of 10 stars.

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