The citizens of a small Californian town begin to complain that their fellow townsfolk are not what they used to be. Local doctor Miles Bennel (Kevin McCarthy) discovers the reason behind their sudden personality shifts: extra-terrestrials are replacing humans with lookalikes grown in large pods. Bennel struggles to warn the nation of the truth before he too gets the alien make-over treatment. A remake starring Donald Sutherland was made in 1977, in which McCarthy had a cameo role.
Invasion of the Body Snatchers
is considered one of the best science fiction films of the 1950s and 1960s. The classic paranoid thriller was widely interpreted as a criticism of the McCarthy era, which was characterised by anti-Communist witch-hunts and fear of the dreaded blacklist. Some hailed it as an attack on the oppressive power of government as Big Brother. However viewers interpret it, this original 1956 version of Invaders of the Body Snatchers
(based on Jack Finney's serialised novel The Body Snatchers
) remains a milestone movie in its genre, directed by Don Siegel with an inventive intensity that continues to pack an entertaining wallop.
Dr. Miles Bennell (Kevin McCarthy) is unconcerned when the townsfolk accuse their loved ones of acting like emotionless impostors. But soon the evidence is overwhelming--Santa Mira has been invaded by alien "pods", which are capable of replicating humans and taking possession of their identities. It's up to McCarthy to spread the word of warning, battling the alien invasion at the risk of his own life. Look closely and you'll find future director Sam Peckinpah (an uncredited cowriter of this film) making a cameo appearance as a meter reader! --Jeff Shannon