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4.6 out of 5 stars
Invasion of the Body Snatchers [DVD]
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Based on a Collier's Magazine serial by Jack Finney, "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" is an intelligent, superb example of its era and genre, with excellent direction and cast. Director Don Siegel said that this was probably his best film, though he deplored that the film studio (United Artists) made him add a prologue and epilogue, and tell the story with narration as a flashback. Though this format would weaken the chilling effect of the story somewhat, it is nevertheless riveting and quite frightening. When Doctor Miles Bennell returns from a business trip, he finds his small town changed, with people saying that their loved ones are "no longer the same." Miles also finds that his sweetheart of many years ago, Becky Driscoll, has come home after a 5 year absence, and a divorce, and they make a marvelous duo, quoting Shakespeare to each other, and with some dialogue that in the mid 1950s would have been quite racy.
Kevin McCarthy is marvelous as Miles, who runs a race against time and sleep to fight the pod people, and Dana Wynter is beautiful as Becky. There are others in the above average cast that will be familiar to old time TV viewers, like Carolyn Jones (Morticia of "The Adams Family"), Virginia Christine (Mrs. Olsen of the Folger's Coffee commercials), and Richard Deacon (Mel Cooley of "The Dick Van Dyke Show"). Among the credits, the great Carmen Dragon did the soundtrack, Ellsworth Fredericks the cinematography, and Daniel Mainwaring the bright and clever script.
The premise as I see it (and I think every viewer will bring his own interpretation to this film depending on his viewpoint) is still valid, as conformity is still king, and pod people are ever present. The 1978 remake is one of the few that lives up to the original, and is also highly recommended. Total running time is 80 minutes.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 4 March 2013
A landmark in cinema, not just in sci-fi, but in cinema period. This film truly set the bench mark for high tension, suspense, and paranoia which the 1970's remake comes close to, but doesn't quite match. This is the film that introduced the idea of aliens that take over the world via the mind (the idea was first popularized by Robert A. Heinleind in "The Puppet Masters" and later turned in to the book Invasion of the Body Snatchers" by Jack Finney) and has since become a common theme in sci-fi and horror, but anyone who is interested in good films or the roots of sci-fi needs to watch this movie and if you have the time read Heinleind and Finney's novels as well.

I was 10yrs the first time I saw this film. I walked down to Hollywood Video (whom are now bankrupt) which was a few blocks from my house and since I was always attracted to creepy and/or horror movies, I thought this looked very interesting and I rented it. When I got home and watched it I was absolutely amazed at this movie and how terrifying it truly was, as prone to nightmares as I already was, I realize a couple of years back that this movie gave me nightmares for the next 14yrs it affected me that much. I watched it not once, but 10 times over the next week, and soon this movie was tied between The Lion King and itself for my favorite movie of all time.

When I watched the movie as I got older, the feeling of terror, claustrophobia, and paranoia never vanished from this film, it gives that same creepy feeling every time you view it. I am sad to say I can no longer watch it for this very reason, it gives me horrible nightmares, but I enjoy the memory of it and it still remains in the top 5 of what I consider to be the best sci-fi films of all time.

I highly doubt most of you will be as affected by it as I am, but I do hope you all enjoy it.

God Bless ~Amy
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 5 June 2008
One of the Best- Ever Si Fi/ Horror Movies. A Classic, much imitated by later film-makers. It stands the test if time, even though I know some people won't give old black and white movies a look, I cadjolled my 25 year son into watching it , and he thought it was way better and more scary than most modern day Slasher - Pics.
The sininster atmosphere conveyed, the casting, the special effects, , and actors still hold the power to chill the bones today,
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 15 August 2012
Although I have this disc already, I would highly recommend this release. The only gripe is that it's shown in 4:3 widescreen, not 16:9 anamorphic. I don't know if it got released in its original widescreen format, either in R1 or 2.That doesn't spoil my enjoyment of the film, though. It grips from start to finish. Also, you have the option of watching the movie in its original B&W or colourised versions. Its not only one of the finest sci-fi movies of all time, but its in my top ten great masterpieces. And its directed by the great Don Siegal, who made a certain Harry very Dirty!
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
on 4 October 2007
First the good news. This film IS a classic of its kind and indispensible for fans of the genre. It is fascinating to watch it and compare it with the Donald Sutherland remake and see how the latter incorporates scenes from the first.

The bad news is that I agree with the previous reviewer. The picture is not exactly sharp and the sound quality equally poor in parts. The only extra is more of a curio; the colourised version.

I'm glad I have it, but a little disappointed to have no commentary or feature putting it into context.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
This is a very clever, full on, classic sci-fi adventure that captures a style of film-making enbracing noir and expressionism in a delightfully morbid-sense of cinematic storytelling. So why 3 stars? Because this print (welcomed in widescreen) looks as if (at times) it has been transferred from a long defunct Nickleodean. Sloppy grainy presentation. Shame.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 12 September 2011
This film was one of 7 in 'THE CLASSIC SCI-FI COLLECTION' box set. I had never bought this film on it's own because of all the negative reviews I had read about the quality of the transfer. There were reviews saying it was out of focus, and that it was a terrible transfer. So I started to watch it with baited breath. I was pleasantly suprised.
The transfer was nowhere near as bad as reviews had suggested! straight away you can tell the picture IS in focus, and although some of the interior shots seemed a bit to contrasty, the picture is perfectly watchable. Sure, there are a lot of scratches on the print, but these are on the PRINT that was used for the transfer, and nothing at all to do with the WAY it has been transferred. The film itself appeared to be in 2.35:1. And has the word Superscope on the print but, after further research, I found that the film had been originally shot in 1.85:1. Superscope refers to a lab process that converts a non-anamorphic print into an anamorphic print, to be projected at a ratio of 2.00:1. When producer Walter Wenger saw a preview of the film he thought it lacked sharpness due to this process, so in conclusion, what other reviewers are seeing when viewing this film, is in fact the original way it was intended to be viewed in cinemas. The film is not out of focus, and the transfer is adequate. If these reviewers want to see a bad transfer I suggest they watch 'THE LAST DETAIL'. With Jack Nicholson. Now that is a BAD transfer.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Don Siegel's 1956 sci-fi chiller masterpiece made in black and white shows the narrative of Kevin McCarthy, who plays small-town doctor Dr Miles Bennell who treats a number of people who have started behaving bizarrely, claiming their nearest and dearest have been taken over by alien duplicates. Their claims, however, are short-lived as they suddenly and inexplicably abandon their fears, and begin to exhibit a bland, dead-eyed affirmation that everything is fine after all. A local psychiatrist dismisses these cases as mass hysteria, but Dr Bennell is not so sure. This is a movie has been much copied and can claim kinship to a number of later speculative fiction related films.

This monochrome nightmare was very much framed with the context of the red-scare and cold war paranoia. A film that plays on the themes of a perceived threat of communism, and it's hypothetical ideological invasion of American hearts and minds. Moreover, it can be considered a treatise to anti-communist complacency and conformity. Having said all of that, may be the message is more straightforward: giving over to the eternal horror that can creep over you - that your own identity and everyone else's is just a dream, a fake, an insidious illusion. When I first viewed this film, even though a lot of the horror is implied it really did scare me, and seeing it again in 2014 it still sends a chill down my spine.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 27 August 2008
Definitely one of the most exciting sci-fi movies ever made!

This is one of those movies that can be watched over and over again and still be enthralling - no re-make could ever match this original, starring Kevin McCarthy and Dana Wynter.

Huge seed pods arrive from outer space that 'hatch' and take on the form of 'imageless' human bodies. As soon as the nearest person falls asleep, 'it' becomes that person - exactly the same in every way, but without emotion. A Doctor and his girl put up a tremendous fight against this phenomenon, and this film is sure to keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end!

Great stuff!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 27 August 2008
Definitely one of the most exciting sci-fi movies ever made!

This is one of those movies that can be watched over and over again and still be enthralling - no re-make could ever match this original, starring Kevin McCarthy and Dana Wynter.

Huge seed pods arrive from outer space that 'hatch' and take on the form of 'imageless' human bodies. As soon as the nearest person falls asleep, 'it' becomes that person - exactly the same in every way, but without emotion. A Doctor and his girl put up a tremendous fight against this phenomenon, and this film is sure to keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end!

Great stuff!
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