When one of my college professors told our class that we were going to be watching Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), I found my nose crinkling. Of course when I realized he planned on showing the 1956 version I was a happy camper. For some reason or another, I have never truly enjoyed the 1978 remake of the film. The only remake I have enjoyed of this film is 2007’s The Invasion with Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig.
Maybe this is because I have never been a huge fan of gore for gore’s sake, but of the psychological repercussions that the original film and the latest remake provides. Besides, something far more frightening by what a person can make up within his or her mind. By not seeing the villain on the screen or having minimal time with the villain. Screen time with the villains of both Rear Window (1954) and Disturbia (2007) is a prime example of the power of screen time.
My point is that the original Invasion of the Body Snatchers is far superior than the remake that everyone is willing to rave on about for days to come. When in doubt always go with the original, even if the original was/is considered more of a B-movie than the remake.
The synopsis of the film appears quite simple on the surface, but extremely detailed the deeper one delves. When Dr. Miles Bennell (Kevin McCarthy) returns to his small home town, he realizes that there is something more than meets the eye. Patient after patient, he realizes that everyone is suffering from the same paranoid delusions as everyone else. People are determined that their life long friends or their relatives are replaced with someone or something else and happen to be impostors.
Not believing what he is hearing, he is skeptical of all the alleged doppelgangers hanging about town. Plus, these people can answer detailed questions about his or her own life that only the actual person would know. After all, how on Earth would someone be able to answer such intimate details if one was not who he or she said they were. Inevitably, he is persuaded into believing that some of the town people who have been coming to seek treatment might be onto something.
Maybe something causing this so-called phenomenon that appears to be taking place within the small town. Many other details reported about within the film as well. Most people believe this is not a regular B-movie, but a warning of the dangers of McCarthyism and Communism in the in 1950s. I do plan on posting an essay I wrote back in college on here tomorrow that goes more into those details.
The acting within the film that deserve praise. Invasion of the Body Snatchers is the perfect film that showcases what supporting actors and actresses can do within a film. The best actor within the entire film goes to McCarthy. Most would praise McCarthy of his other films, but at the end of the day his portrayal of the frantic doctor in this feature was one that everyone came back to praise at the end of the day.
The end of the film is one of the best in Sci-Fi history, and this feature is probably one of the best Sci-Fi features in general. No one will ever be able to forget him screaming “They’re here already! You’re next! You’re next, You’re next…!” This is why I wish this was a film in my movie collection. Why has this not been redistributed during the Halloween season yet. Give me a fancy Blu-ray edition with special artwork!
One of the best performance within the film goes to Dana Wynter, who played Becky Discoll. I would also feel odd not mentioning that sadly we lost Wynter in May of 2011 due to heart failure. This writer truly hopes she is resting in peace. While she too was in other features and in various television programs, she was best known for her role in Invasion of the Body Snatchers as well. She is the strongest woman within the entire film.
By continuing to fight throughout the duration of the film, she shows all the other women that this was possible. She fights it with all her might and even states to Miles that she wants “to love and be loved. I want your children. I don’t want a world without love or grief or beauty. I’d rather die.” Becky showed the world it was okay to fight regardless of how superficial some people would have considered her wants and needs. By pairing such two strong characters together, Invasion of the Body Snatchers has a strong core center, which amplifies the brilliance of the film.
Overall, Invasion of the Body Snatchers was not supposed to be a film that students would study. The film was a commercial flop. One of the main reasons that the film flopped is because most of the audiences at the time felt the film was far too bleak. No uplifting messages were at the end of the film, but as we all know via the Academy Award nominees these days there is no lack of sad endings floating around cinema now.
Although elevated to a cult status, those who study film and make films realize the feature is more than meets the eye. In fact, Francois Truffault was one of the main critics who hailed the film and afterward late night viewers found themselves viewing the film on various television networks. At the time showing B-movies late night was much more popular and embraced among night owls like myself. He went onto specifically praised McCarthy’s magnificent performance within the film.
Spoofs of the film continue to make their way into various television shows and movies. McCarthy was also asked to spoof the role specifically in the 1970s remake. This is one of the best 1950s film and hailed as a classic among film buffs today. Invasion of the Body Snatchers is by far one of the best pieces of cinema out there to this very day. Instead of taking a chance on the remake this Halloween, check to see if the original is available to rent.