The Outer Banks Voice – Stream On: Golden Oldies of the Big Screen – ‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers’ (1956) and ‘The Thing’ (1951)

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WHAT TO SEE ON TV

Stream On: Golden oldies from the big screen – “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” (1956) and “The Thing” (1951)

By Peter Hummers on November 11, 2021

Recently I’ve watched remakes of movies that add enough value to leave the originals in the memory hole, to keep the fond memories of our older citizens there and, until the sun goes out. , in the deepest recesses of the Internet Movie Database.

The are some films which are not diminished by remakes, whose originals stand the test of time, remaining magnificent examples of the cinema arts. Here are two:

INVASION OF BODY SNATCHERS

/Amazon.com /Main video /Diffusion /Public domain /Trailer / 1956

It’s a bit too much, isn’t it? The original 1956 version was an adaptation of the 1954 science fiction novel by Jack Finney Body thieves, and found a topical purchase with opponents and supporters of Senator Joe McCarthy’s highly publicized contemporary investigation of communism in America. (Star Kevin McCarthy said he spoke to author Jack Finney and said he had no intention of political allegory.[^]) Shot in a film noir, almost German impressionist style, it was claustrophobic and paranoid, while remaining naturalistic (there were very few special effects, which were used sparingly).

The film’s script is about an alien invasion that begins in the fictional California city, Santa Mira. Spores of exotic plants fell from space and transformed into large pods, each capable of producing a visually identical replacement copy of a human. As each pod reaches its full development, it assimilates the physical traits, memories and personalities of each sleeping person placed nearby; these duplicates, however, are devoid of any human emotion. Little by little, a local doctor discovered this “quiet” invasion and tried to stop it.[^]

It was added to a truly scary movie in 1956 and remains today. It was selected in 1994 for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically or aesthetically important”.[^]


THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD

/Amazon.com /Main video /Diffusion /Public domain /Trailer / 1951

1982 film The thing (Diffusion here) is not so much a remake of our star film as a more faithful treatment of its source material, the short story by John W. Campbell “Who’s there?”, which depicts a group of people trapped in an Antarctic research outpost with shapeshifting alien monsters capable of absorbing and mimicking any living being.

Years 1951 The thing from another world, originally published as “The Thing”, circumvented the need for extravagant special effects that would have been necessary (and really did not exist in 1951) by hiding the creature, which was not a shapeshifter. , until the shocking climax. A U.S. Air Force crew and scientists find a crashed flying saucer and a humanoid body frozen in nearby arctic ice there. Returning to their remote research outpost with the body still in a block of ice, they are forced to defend themselves against the still-alive and malevolent plant alien when accidentally defrosted.

A playful journalist is present as an agent of the public, asking questions and receiving exposure when the unsupervised alien (an unrecognizable James arness (Gun smoke) thaws under an electric blanket (!) and escapes, losing an arm to a sled dog. It is examined by the resident scientist and is found to be made from plant material. The plant in question, however, is believed to be carnivorous, as the alien surreptitiously finds and kills another dog and two soldiers, storing the carcasses in the outpost greenhouse before disappearing again. As Invasion of the Body Thieves, The thing from another world is black and white claustrophobic and gorgeous. A colorized version was released in 1989 on VHS by Turner Home Entertainment. It was billed as an “RKO Color Classic” and was a big bowl of evil. Some movies, like The Maltese Falcon, this one, and Invasion of the Body Thieves, just need to be black and white, In 2001, the US Library of Congress deemed the film “culturally significant” and selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry. Released in April 1951, it grossed $ 1,950,000 at the box office at the end of the year, making it the 46th highest grossing of the year, beating all other sci-fi films released that year. there, including The day the earth stood still and When the worlds collide.


(Pete Hummers participate in the Amazon Services LLC Associate Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliate sites. It doesn’t add anything to Amazon’s prices.)

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