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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Sophisticated Creature Feature
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...
Published on 19 July 2005 by Alejandra Vernon

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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars BAD PRINT!
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.
Published on 26 Mar 2008 by KARLOFF THE UNCANNEY


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Have you noticed any large pods in your cellar?, 3 April 2014
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I remember seeing this film when I was a young child. I was glued to the tv all the way through and thought that the pods in the basements were a bit scary as they were incubating aliens that would look just like the householders and would take the place of the humans by killing them and looking exactly like them. I remember being fascinated with this film. This was a great film of it's time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Invasion of the bodysnatchers DVD 1956 version, 18 Nov 2013
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A classic film. Pity there is no behind the scenes or director's commentary, but it's still a chilling science fiction film. I would definitely recommend it to anyone. I wonder if the US release has more extras?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars PLEASANTLY SUPRISED!, 12 Sep 2011
This film was one of 7 in 'THE CLASSIC SCI-FI COLLECTION' box set. I had never brought 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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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean no-one's abducting you, 7 Nov 2011
The title calls to mind a landscape strewn with grave-robbing zombies but Don Siegel's 1956 film is an altogether more intellectual parable than most science fiction of the time. A young doctor in a Californian town experiences a rash of patients complaining their loved ones are impostors: identical in body and mind, but lacking in soul and emotion. Initially satisfied by the town shrink's reassurances that this is localised hysteria, Dr Bennel (the ironically named Kevin McCarthy) begins to smell a rat as more of his acquaintances are afflicted, and knows he's caught one when a friend discovers an almost completely formed replica on his pool table. From there much excitement is had as Dr Bennel realises he and his lady friend, a saucy Becky Driscoll (Dana Wynter) are the only humans left in Santa Mira and the invaders - from an alien place, we can only surmise - are advanced in their planning to take this scheme nationwide.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers is, common consensus will tell you, an allegory, although a hearty debate can be had about what: one school has it that Siegel has communism in his sights; another that it is in fact *anti-communist* hysteria that the film warns against. Siegel himself, on the other hand, disavowed all political readings. He maintained he was just trying to make a thriller.

While it is difficult to imagine 1956 Hollywood having much truck with a McCarthyist agenda, it is harder to read Invasion of the Body Snatchers as the opposite: the enemy are the pods and the unseen, creeping brainwash they bring which saps a victim's passion, individuality and Americanism: straight out of Senator McCarthy's playbook. In any case there is more than a little irony, either way, that the only thing capable of saving the American way of life turns out to be the paternal hand of big central government in the shape of the FBI.

It doesn't seem outrageous, therefore to take Siegel's denial at face value: he was just trying to make a thriller, and on a shoestring budget he made a good one, though it is not without its faults.

The creeping paranoia established in early sequence is subtle and never overstated - there are no zombies or bug-eyed monsters here: the aliens are never explained and represented only by the now celebrated seed pods, which resemble nothing quite so much as stretcher-shaped and sized cabbages. Iconic though they may be, the purist in me feels that making the implied explicit by their inclusion was a mistake, particularly since the film changes its mind about what they represent halfway through: in early sequences the invaders are snatching bodies and replacing them with duplicates incubated in pods; by the end they're not snatching bodies at all, but infecting original ones while they sleep, with no need for a pod at all: a much more insidious and dreadful plan, if potentially less iconic.

The film is bookended with a scene away from Santa Mira in which a raving Dr Benner, having escaped, struggles to convince medicos he's not mad. It seems this scene was added subsequently to ameliorate an ending Siegel thought too distressing. It is also this envelope which is responsible for the anti-McCarthyist ambiguity. For my money the film would be more powerful and memorable without it: a closing scene where Benner stumbles onto a streaming freeway only to see truck loads of pods being ferried across the land would have been a striking finale indeed.

For science-fiction aficionados this flawed but involving film is a must-see, but for its historical context as much as its film craft.

Olly Buxton
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific acting from all concerned, 11 July 2014
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Classic film. The suspense is maintained throughout the film although more apparent at the beginning. Terrific acting from all concerned.. Much better then the later remake
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THEY 'RE HERE!..., 4 Nov 2003
By 
Lawyeraau (Balmoral Castle) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Invasion of the Bodysnatchers [VHS] (VHS Tape)
This is, without a doubt, one of my favorite sci-fi films of all time. Never has more been done with less. The special effects are kept to a minimum. Yet, the sense of unrelenting terror and fear keeps mounting.
This film was the first and, to my mind, best adaptation of the book of the same name, written by the wonderfully inventive Jack Finney. The book s appears to have spawned a cottage industry all its own, as it has been adapted three times, thus far.
The film tells the tale of events that occurred in the small town of Santa Mira, California, as seen through the eyes of its young doctor, Miles Bennell (Kevin McCarthy). It seems the town is undergoing a drastic change that is as subtle as it is deadly. It seems that all the townspeople are not who they seem. They look the same. They sound the same. Their memories are intact. Still, they are just not the same.
Those who have noticed this, suddenly end up retracting their concerns days later. Something is not right in the town of Santa Mira, and Dr. Bennell knows it. Those large seed pods that are suddenly showing up every where are at the root of it. Their unearthly presence is connected to the profound changes that the people of Santa Mira are undergoing, and Dr. Bennell will stop at nothing to save his beloved town and the world from the invasion of the body snatchers.
Kevin McCarthy is sensational as the handsome young doctor, Miles Bennell. His all-American good looks underscore the perniciousness of what is going on in Santa Mira. The lovely Dana Wynter is excellent in the role of Becky Driscoll, Dr. Bennell's childhood sweetheart, infusing it with just the right amount of pathos. King Donovan and Carolyn Jones are perfect in the roles of Jack and Teddy Belicec, the couple who bring Dr. Bennell closer to discovering the truth about what is going on in the town of Santa Mira.
This is a great story beautifully directed by Don Siegel, who understood that less is more. Keeping special effects to a minimum and relying, instead, on a steady buildup of terror and paranoia through the wonderful performances by the entire cast, it succeeds brilliantly. The suspense is such that the viewer is kept riveted to the screen until the very end. It is no wonder that this film has developed a cult following, as it is a masterpiece for its genre. Bravo!
Those who enjoy this film should read the book, if they have not already done so. They should also view the other two film adaptations, Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) and Body Snatchers (1994).
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fine but buy the US release instead, 30 Jun 2009
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Although I will admit to preferring the Abel Ferrara version (remake) from 1993, this Don Siegal original is just fine and creepy enough to still be watchable over 50 years since it was originally made. The epilogue and prologue were added after filming had been completed to satisfy studio bosses and both now are as silly as they were unnecessary back then. Anyway, it's a great idea for a film and if you can ignore the McCarthyisms, you will enjoy it today.

I would recommend the US release over the British DVD though as it utilises a better print.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awful transfer, 1 Aug 2011
By 
Bignose (EASTLEIGH, Hants) - See all my reviews
As with many other reviewers here, I agree the film itself is an absolute classic. It frightened the tripe out of me as a kid and I can still see it's power now.

As for the actual DVD transfer, it is the single worst one in my ridiculously large collection. I've taped it on a worn out old VHS and it's looked and sounded ten times better than this.

Don't waste your money, keep the old tape and wait for the Blu Ray.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The original; the best, 12 Mar 2014
By 
M. Hevingham "Mark Hevingham" (BIRMINGHAM, WEST MIDLANDS United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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Whilst the 1979 version on the story is an undoubted classic, the sheer brilliance of the original never fades. Whether watching for the first or fiftieth time its a compelling tale well told. The acting is very good and he leads exemplary

This new HD version comes in the correct aspect ratio and whilst it doesn't "pop" as much as I suspect a big budget remaster would, the print is very good and the sound clean.

Its a brilliant film and its a shame that there isnt a single extra on this release
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stick a fork in it and see if it is done., 25 Dec 2007
By 
bernie "xyzzy" (Arlington, Texas) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
What if one day you noticed your best friend or closest relative wasn't? What if paranoia struck a town and everyone started thinking that way?

What if the were not paranoid?

This is exactly what happened in 1956 in the town of Santa Mira, California. Based on "The Body Snatchers" by Jack Finney.

Every thing you look for in a 50's Sci-Fi from the well known actors (including Kevin McCarthy, and Dana Wtnter) to the scenes where you know what is going g to happen and want to tell them to look out. But do they listen?
The worst part of watching this movie is the anticipation.

This is classic 50's sci-fi at its best. And it is still very scary in the 50's way today.

You will not sleep through this one.
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Invasion of the Bodysnatchers [VHS]
Invasion of the Bodysnatchers [VHS] by Don Siegel (VHS Tape - 1997)
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