24 November 2014

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)
80 min.
Directed by Don Siegel.
With Kevin McCarthy, Dana Wynter, Larry Gates, Carolyn Jones, King Donovan, Virginia Christine, Jean Willes, Ralph Durnke, Whit Bissell, Richard Deacon.
This 1956 masterpiece is a timeless sci fi horror classic.

Dr. Miles Bennell (McCarthy) is alarmed when residents of his hometown of Santa Mira begin complaining that their loved ones are *not* really their loved ones.

They look the same. They act the same. But somehow, they've been...replaced.

By something else.

Bennell hooks up with his girlfriend Becky (Wynter) to investigate. It seems giant pods from outer space have landed on our planet, and begun to take over human bodies.

During sleep, an individual's memories and experiences are sucked out by the pods, and the poor Earthling is then replaced by an emotionless duplicate.

The question becomes: can Bennell and Becky stay awake long enough to stay alive? Or will they succumb to these deadly spores from outer space?

Based on a novel by Jack Finney, this original touchstone remains extremely influential, having spawned remakes in 1978, 1993 and 2007.

Widely interpreted either as a warning against the dangers of conformity, or an attack on the anti-communist juggernaut of the 1950s, it's a provocative study however it's analyzed.

McCarthy is sensational in the lead role, while the supporting cast deserves kudos as well (especially Jones and Donovan, who play Bennell's hapless friends in Santa Mira).

Director Siegel perfectly captures a sense of paranoia (a theme that would be amped up for Philip Kaufman's 1978 redo).

And there a number of memorable highlights, including McCarthy's famous 'crazed run on the highway' sequence. You might as well consider this 1956 gem an eternal resident on your 'can't miss' list.

Also known by the very cool title Sleep No More.

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