Dr Miles Bennell returns his small town practice to find several of his patients suffering the paranoid delusion that their friends or relatives are impostors. He is initially skeptical, especially when the alleged dopplegängers are able to answer detailed questions about their victim's lives, but he is eventually persuaded that something odd has happened and determines to find out what is causing this phenomenon. This film can be seen as a paranoid 1950s warning against those Damn Commies or, conversely, as a metaphor for the tyranny of McCarthyism (or the totalitarian system of Your Choice) and has a pro- and epilogue that was forced upon Siegel by the studio to lighten the tone. Written by
Mark Thompson <email@example.com>
Ted Haworth was worried that studio executives would object to the "nudity" of the pod likenesses. Don Siegel reminded him that Hollywood executives were all pods and, as such, had no real feeling about anything, including nudity. One executive, however, voiced strong objections and ordered Siegel to eliminate any nudity from the picture. Siegel returned to Haworth and told him to continue as planned. "I was sure that before the impressions were made, this executive would have become a pod, too," he said in his autobiography. At any rate, the issue was fairly moot; the pod replicas are revealed under foaming soap bubbles that manage to keep any overt nudity concealed. See more »
As the posse runs through Bronson Cave, after the policeman
stops on the planks, says his lines, and then runs ahead, look closely for the man in the white shirt: it looks like he fell down onto the planks before the shot ended. See more »
A small Californian town is overrun by alien pods which begin to replicate the inhabitants, prior to spreading their influence across the country - and the world.
Alien invaders masquerading as human beings? Or Communist infiltrators masquerading as aliens masquerading as humans? Don Siegel's clever film not only taps into the paranoia of its era, it also exploits the timeless fear of 'invasion from without' which has sustained dozens of similar horror/sci-fi movies over the years. It's also genuinely frightening in places: The 'unfinished' humanoid pod discovered on a pool table in co-star King Donovan's home, which begins to resemble Donovan and eventually... opens its eyes; the bone-chilling close-up of a major character who has succumbed to the alien's influence during the course of a single kiss; and the famous scene in which hero Kevin McCarthy struggles to convince motorists on a busy highway of the impending catastrophe ("You're next! You're next!"). Simple but never simplistic, and photographed in noirish black and white by ace cameraman Ellsworth Fredericks (SEVEN DAYS IN MAY, PICTURE MOMMY DEAD), the movie earns its place as one of the most memorable genre pieces of the 1950's. Future director Sam Peckinpah has a brief cameo (as Charlie, the meter reader); remade by Philip Kaufman in 1978, and by Abel Ferrara (as BODY SNATCHERS) in 1993, with THE INVASION following in 2007.
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