Released 1956 (USA)
American, in English
Director - Don Siegel
Stars - Kevin McCarthy, Dana Wynter
Dr. Miles J. Bennell (McCarthy) slowly begins to recognize that an alien invasion is taking over the small town in which he resides. Wynter co-stars as Becky Driscoll, Bennell’s love interest.
Minor violence; very minor gore.
The musical score isn’t exactly subtle.
I wasn’t wowed by any of the acting. McCarthy in particular was pretty weak as a lead.
It does a lot more “telling” than “showing” how the affected act differently. When comparing it with the 1970s version, I appreciated that there was a bit more nuance. Viewing it as a standalone, however, I wish they’d tried harder to show what they meant. I felt like, “I don’t know any of these characters. How am I supposed to just take their word for it?”
In this version, it was a lot more clear that the story is an allegory for the fear of Communism. I personally happen to like it when films feature aspects that are indicative of the time in which they were made.
It’s surprisingly non schlock-y. More mind game than horror flick.
It’s a nice, compact 80 minutes that comes at a good pace. I never felt like it dragged.
I really wish that the two versions of this film weren’t so close together on the list. For one, it was hard to stay interested because I felt like, “Didn’t I just watch this?” even though there are significant differences between the two. For another, it was difficult to watch it without comparing it to the other one. I wanted to give this a review based on its own merits but found myself constantly thinking, “Well, in the 1970s version, they did x and in this version they did y.” I wrote and deleted several points repeatedly.
Ultimately, I do like the film. If comparisons are all but impossible to avoid, I think it’s the better of the two. The 1970s version features better acting. This version is superior in almost every other way. Even so, I think the differences are slight. What I’m saying is, I appear to agree with the people who assembled this list. Both movies deserve to be on it, and the 1950s version is better, albeit only slightly.
I give it 3.5 stars.