In the small English village of Midwich everybody and everything falls into a deep, mysterious sleep for several hours in the middle of the day. Some months later every woman capable of child-bearing is pregnant and the children that are born out of these pregnancies seem to grow very fast and they all have the same blond hair and strange, penetrating eyes that make people do things they don't want to do.Written by
Leon Wolters <wolters@strw.LeidenUniv.nl>
Originally begun in 1957 as an American picture, writer Stirling Silliphant said he wrote it with Ronald Colman in mind, but at the time producer Milo O. Frank Jr. was saying he wanted Glenn Ford to star. MGM had this scheduled for US filming in Spring 1958 and Spring 1959, and postponed both times. Coleman was gravely ill and housebound, dying soon after the script was completed. In an odd twist, his replacement was George Sanders, who had recently married Benita Hume, Colman's widow. Glenn Ford was one of MGM's few contracted big-named stars at the time and was in high demand for other MGM projects. See more »
A soldier walks into the zone of unconsciousness wearing a gas mask and a tether rope, immediately passes out, and is dragged back out by his mates. But the supposedly unconscious soldier is clearly holding his head up off the ground as he is dragged along headfirst on his back. See more »
Prof. Gordon Zellaby:
Good morning. Uh, would you get me Major Bernard at his Whitehall number? Thank you.
See more »
In order to get an 'A' certificate in the UK no optical effects shots were used in the UK print and original footage or alternative shots used instead. Both the UK and the 'standard' version of the film run to the same length. At the end of the film no glowing eyes are seen rising from the flames in the UK version, which also has a "Made at M.G.M British Studios, Borehamwood, England" credit. Because this change was requested at the scripting stage there is no reason to believe that the two versions of the film were not edited in tandem. It is incorrectly stated that the British print has the burning man sequence cut. This was a cut requested by the Production Code office in the US and is the same for both versions of the film, where the victim is never engulfed by the flames in close-up, which contradicts the long shot seen in the sequence. See more »
A great classic thriller, unfortunately overshadowed by the spectacular psychological thriller released the same year - Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho.
Village of the Damned is a very well-made thriller that seems to have been overlooked because of the sheer magnitude of its competition - Psycho. Both of these films are testaments to the idea that low budgets are very capable of producing great films. It is not the size of the budget that matters, it is the skill of the filmmakers and the actors. Village of the Damned makes use of a variety of very easily done but also very effective special effects, such as the boundary across which all people and animals lose consciousness, the creepy eyes on those kids, and their hypnotic powers.
The discussion of the exact same phenomenon happening to a few remote towns all over the world does a lot to show what these kids can do, and it increases the dramatic tension of the film as a whole. Cheaply made, but also very well made because a lot of thought was obviously put into it, Village of the Damned is a timeless thriller, even in black and white. When you watch a movie like this, if you are the kind of person who is so superficial about your movies that you refuse to watch black and white films, keep in mind that black and white photography REQUIRES good acting, to put it in the immortal words of Orson Welles. You can't have black and white photography and bad acting, the film would never work. Village of the Damned takes black and white photography and fills it with excellent acting, a fascinating story, and good direction that makes me wonder why this was the only film that Wolf Rilla ever directed.
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