Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)

Article #368 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing date: 3-18-2002
Posting date: 8-4-2002

A doctor returning to the town of Santa Mira after a vacation notices a strangeness in the people. He eventually discovers that the town is being taken over by pods from outer space.

That this is an important and significant science fiction movie from the fifties I cannot deny; it is, in fact, archetypal in its portrayal of the themes of paranoia and loss of identity. But watching it again, I’m reminded of a comment I once read by Clifton Fadiman where he points out that some classic novels can be read again and again to gain new insights (Moby Dick was his example), while others can be read once and never need be picked up again (Tom Jones), though these novels may be no less great. I think this comment applies to movies, too, and I have to admit that the only time I really enjoyed this movie was the first time I saw it. For me, a lot of the tension had to do with not knowing what was going on; on rewatching it, I know all too well what’s going on, and I get bored. Granted, there are still some scenes that hit home, especially the scene on the highway that almost closes the picture (and from the point of view of many, should have closed the picture), but chances are if I watch it again in the future, it will be more out of duty than eagerness.

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