Saturday, July 24, 2010

Invaders from Mars - Trailer (1953)

Invaders from Mars (1953) is a science fiction film, directed by William Cameron Menzies from a scenario by Richard Blake, based on a story treatment by John Tucker Battle, who was inspired by a dream recounted by his wife. It was produced independently by Edward L. Alperson Jr. and starred Jimmy Hunt, Helena Carter and Arthur Franz. After it was completed, it was distributed by Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp. It is notable for being told from the point of view of an older child in an adult's world in crisis, vivid color cinematography (color by Color Corporation of America), subtly surreal set designs and unique use of outre sound effects, including a choral background consisting of an ethereal, rhythmically wavering syllable sung in unison. Although some sources state that the film was designed for the 3-D process (unlikely, since the project was in production before the breakthrough 3-D film, Bwana Devil, was released), it was neither filmed nor released in 3-D.

One night, a small boy, David MacLean (Jimmy Hunt), sees a flying saucer land near his home. His scientist father (Leif Erickson) goes to investigate. When he returns, there is an unusual mark on the back of his neck and he behaves in a different, cold and hostile manner. Gradually, David realizes that there is a conspiracy in which the people of the town are one by one becoming cold and inhuman. With the help of a local astronomer Dr. Stuart Kelston (Arthur Franz) and health-department physician Dr. Pat Blake (Helena Carter), he learns that the flying saucer, that has buried itself in a sandpit just behind his home, is the vanguard of an invasion from Mars. The Army is contacted and convinced to investigate, leading to a military penetration of the underground hideout established by the Martians. The troops enter the saucer. Inside they find a Martian, mostly a large head with strange tentacles, encased in a glassy sphere. The Martian mastermind is served by tall, green, silent humanoid "mutants", who use cerebral implants to control the townsfolk in order to sabotage nuclear rocket experiments at a facility just outside of town.

In the film's climax, the Army, scientists, and David flee from the sandpit as explosives hidden aboard the flying saucer count down their last remaining seconds. After the explosion, the scene shifts and David is back in his bed, awakened by thunder. His parents reassure him by telling him the whole thing was just a nightmare and send him back to bed. As thunder awakens him again, he sees the same UFO slowly land at the sandpit near his house.

The film was shot from the PoV of a child. Camera angles are lower than usual. The set design of the police station consists of stark, elongated structures stretching high above the boy's head, much as it would appear to a boy, shorter than an adult. The effect of the melting walls of the tunnels was created by filming a large tub of boiling oatmeal, colored with red food coloring and red lights, and shooting from above the tub. The bubble effect on the walls was originally created by using balloons pinned to the walls of the tunnels. However, on film it looked like balloons stuck to the wall. The effects team came up with the idea of using inflated condoms. They purchased 30,000 latex condoms, inflated them, tied them closed and pinned them to the walls. They looked much better on film than did the balloons. Scenes showing the holes in the sand closing up were created by running the collapse sequences in reverse (watch for rocks climbing back up out of the "holes" as they close). -  From Wikipedia



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