“After all, the work at the plant is secret.”

Invaders From Mars

US flag Invaders From Mars 1953

Effective, early science fiction. This one gets in your head. We follow Jimmy Hunt, all-American kid, as he sees a UFO landing near his home late one night, then sees his father apparently vanish when he goes to look for it… worse, his father returns, clearly not himself, who then sends Jimmy off to a friend’s house while he walks Jimmy’s mother out to the area where the UFO landed…

It’s scary! The growing sense of panic is heightened by the unusual set design and the film’s direction. It has a pronounced dreamlike quality. The scenes in the police station are especially effective — and here comes a kindly (and gorgeous) female doctor and Jimmy’s adult friend from the planetarium, both of whom believe him and protect him from his parents when they come to collect him. The police station is largely white and antiseptic (shades of Woody Allen’s “Interiors”) with black elements and the kindly (and gorgeous) female doctor’s bright red lipstick. It’s something to see. And all this in a science fiction movie…

The story continues. More people are absorbed by the aliens. An “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” vibe. Eventually Jimmy and the kindly (and gorgeous) female doctor are taken aboard the UFO. The whole thing could be a romp but there’s a real sense of horror, especially when Jimmy is beating on the glass sphere the weird alien intelligence resides in.

A great film. Very entertaining and very unique. The music is outstanding, very ethereal and dreamlike. At the climax of the film, Jimmy and the kindly (and gorgeous) female doctor are running from the UFO as it takes off… and the film ends revealing that all that has gone before was in a dream. BUT THEN Jimmy sees a UFO land, exactly as in his dream! So away we go again, I suppose.

Highly recommended. Significantly superior to most 1950s science fiction movies.

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