H.G. Well's classic novel is brought to life in this tale of alien invasion. The residents of a small town in California are excited when a flaming meteor lands in the hills. Their joy is tempered somewhat when they discover that it has passengers who are not very friendly. The movie itself is understood better when you consider that it was made at the height of the Cold War--just replace Martian with Russian.... Written by
KC Hunt <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The Martian war machines were originally going to be walking tripods as they were depicted in H.G. Wells' novel, but George Pal didn't know how a tripod would walk and instead went with the flying machines. See more »
When the scientists are about to project an image using the Martian lens, there are two separate shadows from the boom and mike. As soon as the projector screen is pulled down there is a shadow from the boom that goes across the entire screen. At that same moment, the shadow from the mike can be seen on the wall to the left of the projector screen. See more »
In the First World War, and for the first time in the history of man, nations combined to fight against nations using the crude weapons of those days. The Second World War involved every continent on the globe, and men turned to science for new devices of warfare, which reached an unparalleled peak in their capacity for destruction. And now, fought with the terrible weapons of super-science, menacing all mankind and every creature on the Earth comes the War of the Worlds.
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To be an effective thriller, a sci-fi film absolutely must impart to the viewer a sense of --- coldness, either the physical coldness of outer space or other worlds, or the emotional coldness of science.
Cedric Hardwicke's opening narrative in "The War Of The Worlds" is brutally cold, and the added images uninviting. The martian machines, vaguely resembling "legless swans", are both beautiful and terrifying. They move slowly, in a graceful but calculating manner. They warn of their approach with an eerie, unearthly "pinging" sound.
In the scene where the priest walks toward one of the "swans", the aliens do not impulsively open fire. Instead, they wait. The cruel "eye" peers down on the priest, studying him, in a foreboding prelude to his inevitable annihilation.
Other scenes in the first half also convey this needed sense of alien coldness. We can, therefore, forgive the film for its somewhat corny plot.
The film's second half is weaker because the aliens have to compete for screen time with Los Angeles mob scenes, a showy and irksome display of American military hardware, and dry narration of military war tactics. But even in this second half, suspense filters through, as we watch the heartless "swans" eject their heat rays on a helpless Los Angeles.
For sci-fi films made before "2001: A Space Odyssey", "The War Of The Worlds" is one of my three favorites, along with "Robinson Crusoe On Mars" and "Forbidden Planet".
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