Movies 22 Oct 2007 04:36 am
#10 — War of the Worlds (1953) Alien invasion stories are another favorite of mine, and H.G. Wells’ “War of the Worlds,” published first in 1898, is the granddaddy of them all.
The book has been well-served by adaptations into other media. Probably the best known is the Mercury Theatre on the Air radio version from 1938, directed by Orson Welles, where true-to-life news bulletins led some listeners to believe that Martians had really landed!
The 1953 film by George Pal is spectacular all the way around. Like the radio play, it changes the setting to the United States in contemporary times. To me, this film and “Creature from the Black Lagoon” define cinema scariness in the 1950s, from Gene Barry and Ann Robinson’s square dancing to the Martian war machines razing cities with their heat rays (pictured above). The ending stays true to Wells’ original.
I really liked the 2005 remake by Steven Spielberg, too, but not as much as the George Pal version, probably because Spielberg wasn’t gutsy enough to include a scene with square dancing. A newer DVD release of the 1953 WOTW has the original radio play and some nifty documentary extras.
See my complete list of 31 Days of Halloween movies by clicking here.