WAR OF THE WORLDS
War of the Worlds (1953)
Starring: Gene Barry, Ann Robinson
Director: Byron Haskin
Edition Details: Region 2 encoding (Europe, Japan, South Africa and
the Middle East including Egypt),
Aspect Ratio: 1.33 Full Screen
Available Audio Tracks: Dolby Digital Stereo, Dolby Digital Mono
Main Language: English
Dubbed Language(s): French, German, Italian, Spanish
Subtitles: Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German,
Italian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish
Hearing Impaired: English
Disc Format: DVD 5
the ?Fifties . . .
Back then you can have an impressive-sounding degree in physics or
whatever, but you'd be still be relegated to making coffee for the men!
It was time when
alien invaders still came from Mars and were probably godless
communists to boot.
even a sci-fi alien invasion movie based on an H.G. Wells novel felt like a Biblical Epic (War of
the Worlds ends with a voice-over praising God for having put bacteria
on the Earth, er, hallelujah! The 1951
When Worlds Collide opens with a
voice-over right out of The Ten Commandments)!
When state-of-the-art special effects in expensive Hollywood productions
meant keeping models of flying alien crafts aloft with lots (and I mean
lots!) of clearly visible wires. When everything in movies looked fake
because, well, they were fake - fake studio trees, fake studio rocks, fake
studio whatever. When everybody in movies smoked because, well, everybody
it wasn't like it was bad for you, now was it?
Ahhh, back when . . . OK, so this
hugely influential 1953
George Pal production of War of the Worlds is quite dated half a
century later. The effects look cheesy, and transporting the setting from
Wells? turn-of-the-century England to modern-day (okay, 1950s) California
doesn't help when it comes to those cowboy outfits worn during a barn
dance (I kid you not!).
But hey! I still liked it better than
Independence Day, the movie which would plunder it whole scale right
down to the bit about nuclear weapons being ineffective against the
invaders (obviously a bit inserted into the movie which wasn't in the book
the atom bomb weren't invented at the time Wells wrote it.)
to note that Orson Welles'
famous War of the Worlds radio cast
which caused such a panic was set in New York.
Also that that the evil
scientist torturing poor Mike Nelson (and Joel
in the cult Mystery Science Theater 3000 TV
show is named after our scientist protagonist in this movie. But you
already knew that, now didn't you?
THE DISC: This Region 2 disc has . . . a
trailer. Quite a shabby treatment of an important movie such as this one
(voted number 48 of the Top 50 SF movies of all time by the Online Film
Critics? Society). Image quality is stunning though for a movie that is
now more than half-a-century old. Original mono sound is good too.
Occasional (but very little) scratches and other artefacts on the print
being used. Hey, we've seen movies only few years old that look worse on
DVD than this baby.
WORTH IT? Cheesy mid-20th century movie immaculately preserved on
late 20th century technology -
what's not to like?
RECOMMENDATION: Pick it up when it hits the bargain bins.