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Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)

Approved | | Horror, Sci-Fi | 5 February 1956 (USA)
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2:49 | Featurette

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A small-town doctor learns that the population of his community is being replaced by emotionless alien duplicates.

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(screenplay), (Collier's magazine serial)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Larry Gates ...
King Donovan ...
...
Jean Willes ...
Ralph Dumke ...
Police Chief Nick Grivett
Virginia Christine ...
Tom Fadden ...
Uncle Ira Lentz
Kenneth Patterson ...
Guy Way ...
Officer Sam Janzek
Eileen Stevens ...
Anne Grimaldi
Beatrice Maude ...
Grandma Grimaldi
Jean Andren ...
Eleda Lentz
Bobby Clark ...
Jimmy Grimaldi
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Storyline

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 <mrt@oasis.icl.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The original Black & White classic See more »

Genres:

Horror | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

5 February 1956 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Body Snatchers  »

Box Office

Budget:

$417,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Perspecta Sound encoding) (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Production Designer Ted Haworth came up with a fairly simple and inexpensive (about $30,000 total) idea for creating the pods. The most difficult part was when the pods burst open, revealing the likenesses of the actors. The actors had to have naked impressions of themselves made out of thin, skin-tight latex. Making the casts, which involved being submerged in the very hot casting material with only a straw in their mouths to breathe through, was grueling for the actors, especially Carolyn Jones, who was claustrophobic. Dana Wynter recalled, "I was in this thing while it hardened, and of course it got rather warm! I was breathing through straws or something quite bizarre, and the rest of me was encased, it was like a sarcophagus. The guys who were making it tapped on the back of the thing and said, 'Dana, listen, we won't be long, we're just off for lunch [laughs]!' In the end, we had to be covered except for just the nostrils and I think a little aperture for the mouth." See more »

Goofs

Water stains on the planks in the mine. See more »

Quotes

Dr. Miles J. Bennell: [Upon learning that Becky is also divorced] Well, I guess that makes us Lodge Brothers now...
Becky: yes
Dr. Miles J. Bennell: Except that I'm paying dues while you collect them.
Becky: [laughing] Oh, Miles!
See more »

Crazy Credits

THE END comes up on the final shot of the film of Miles looking relieved that Dr Hill has believed his story, and is calling the FBI about the alien invasion of Santa Mira. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

One of the scariest sci-fi films of the 1950s.
15 December 2003 | by (Fayetteville, GA) – See all my reviews

A chilling motion picture, well directed by Don Sigel, with a script co-written by Daniel Mainwaring and (uncredited) Sam Peckinpah, based on the novel "The Body Snatchers" (aka "Sleep No More") by Jack Finney.

The excellent musical score is by Carmen Dragon. Kevin McCarthy and Dana Wynter head the cast of this four-star classic in which the inhabitants of a small California town are being replaced by alien look-alikes. The aliens come to Earth in the form of "seed pods" that burst open and spew out a foam which grows into human duplicates, complete with all the memories of the original. The best scene in the film takes place in a greenhouse where several alien pods burst open and disgorge the half-formed copies of the horrified humans.

A prologue, a new ending, and a voice over-narration were added after the film's initial release, to help the audience follow the strange plot. In the added scenes, the story opens with Kevin McCarthy being brought into a hospital, raving about alien invaders. Two doctors (Whit Bissell and Richard Deacon) listen to McCarthy's strange story, which the audience sees as a flashback. At the end of he movie the doctors are understandably skeptical about McCarthy's weird yarn, but an unexpected event lends credence to his story.

Many film reviewers criticize these added scenes as unnecessary, an unwise attempt to conclude the story with a happier ending. But these scenes serve a valuable purpose, increasing the viewers sympathy for McCarthy and his efforts to convince someone that mankind is in danger. The alleged "happier ending" does not establish that mankind will win the battle against the aliens. It simply implies a Chapter Two in this epic struggle. Mankind will have a fighting chance in the war, but the outcome is definitely open to debate.


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