Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5.
USA, 1953. Paramount Pictures. Screenplay by Barre Lyndon, based on the novel by H.G. Wells. Cinematography by George Barnes. Produced by George Pal. Music by Leith Stevens. Production Design by Albert Nozaki, Hal Pereira. Costume Design by Edith Head. Film Editing by Everett Douglas.
The original invasion! Following the stultifying radio show performed by Orson Welles in the 1930s, Hollywood came along and adapted H.G. Wells’ terrific little story to the big-screen. Essentially a B-movie with an A-list budget, the story takes place in a tiny American town where a meteorite has crashed into some farm property and is starting to make funny noises. Soon meteorites are crashing all over the planet and strange spaceships with killer ray guns are emerging from them, destroying important world buildings and killing people everywhere. A scientist and an innocent farm girl are at the centre of the mix, and of course they manage to find time to play Doctor and Nurse in between blasts from the space invaders. Excellent visual effects for their time are a highlight, as is the superior editing and sound, but of the 50s sci-fi oeuvre I’d rather watch Forbidden Planet any day.
The Criterion Collection: #1037
Academy Award: Best Special Effects
Nominations: Best Film Editing; Best Sound Recording