6.5/10
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112 user 61 critic

Invaders from Mars (1953)

Approved | | Sci-Fi | 22 April 1953 (USA)
A young boy learns that space aliens are taking over the minds of earthlings.

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(screenplay)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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Sgt. Baker (as Bill Phipps)
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Capt. Roth
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Kathy Wilson
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Storyline

One night, young David McLean sees a spaceship crash into a nearby sandpit. His father goes to investigate, but comes back changed. Where once he was cheerful and affectionate, he's now sullen and snarlingly rude. Others fall into the sandpit and begin acting like him: cold, ill-tempered and conspiratorial. David knows that aliens are taking over the bodies of humans, but he'll soon discover there have been far more of these terrible thefts than he could have imagined. The young doom-monger finds some serious help in a lady doctor and a brilliant astronomer. Soon they meet the aliens: green creatures with insect-like eyes. These beings prove to be slaves to their leader: a large, silent head with ceaselessly shifting eyes and two tentacles on either side, each of which branches off into three smaller tentacles. It's up to the redoubtable earth trio to stop its evil plans. Written by J. Spurlin

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

NATURAL or SUPERNATURAL? See more »

Genres:

Sci-Fi

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

22 April 1953 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Invaders  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$290,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Color:

(Supercinecolor) (uncredited)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The eerie sandpit choir chant was done by a choral group made up of eight men and eight women. Moreover, said chant was further enhanced with echo in post-production to give it a more haunting and ethereal quality. See more »

Goofs

When the soldiers need to blast a new escape route, the boy knows how to work the heat ray. This seems unlikely since he was never present when it was fired. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Narrator: The heavens. Once an object of superstition, awe, and fear. Now a vast region for growing knowledge. The distance of Venus, the atmosphere of Mars, the size of Jupiter, and the speed of Mercury. All this and more we know. But their greatest mystery the heavens have kept a secret. What sort of life, if any, inhabits these other planets? Human life, like ours? Or life extremely lower in the scale? Or dangerously higher? Seeking the answer to this timeless question, forever seeking, ...
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Connections

Referenced in Fear in the Dark (1991) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Nostalgia probably has a lot to do with my affection for this film.
22 April 2000 | by See all my reviews

It could never be legitimately argued as one of the masterworks of Cinema. And, while its director was at the very least always regarded as competent, and more usually engaged as a production designer, he would never even be considered by critics when ranking the greats.

But at a time when computerised sleight-of-hand can achieve the impossible in depiction of alien worlds, few modern science-fiction films can match the portrayal of a young boy's fear and wonderment of the unknown as depicted in the original version of Invaders from Mars.

Nostalgia probably has a lot to do with my affection for this film. Although the original release date of the film was before my time, even some years later the early 1960's Irish schoolboys were still endlessly fascinated with the possibility of flying saucers. And while we wanted to believe that there really was something out there, the Red Planet was seen as this great evil place which we had to be constantly wary of.

So I really do identify with Jimmy Hunt and his sense of wonder. But the film is more than just a festival for nostalgia-freaks.

The wonderful design and look of the film, those marvellous garish colours; the feeling of alienation (sorry) by Jimmy when it seems that not only can he not trust the local police but even his parents seem to be under the control of the aliens. And that wonderful ending when it seems that the nightmare will never end.

Of course you can pick faults: the master alien is rather ridiculous looking. And the scenes of the aliens running through the tunnels would never strike dread in you. But I'm sure the budget, even by the standards of the time was not much above Poverty Row. But these are minor quibbles. Its the overall impact that matters most. And the accurate portrayal of the concerns of the time.

I know there are many films of the 1950's which Americans maintain are allegories of the McCarthy witch-hunts and the Cold War. I don't know about that. But I do know that however much I may admire the computerised sci-fi films of the 80's and 90's, this film will always have a special place in my collection.


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