Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Film influence - Invasion of the Body Snatchers 1956

Directed by: Don Siegel

Miles is introduced in the beginning as dellusional, talking about the strange events that have taken over the town and proclaims this threat would take over the world. At this point the audience don't know what to make of Miles and if he is telling the truth so he narrates his story. The audience first becomes suspicious when a boy and women in the town are certain that some of their relatives are not as they appear because they appear emotionless but there is not much proff as they are identical to person they represent. This was an interesting technique of how Siegal subtly approached the theme of the uncanny because the signs of difference within them were so subtle that the audience try to locate the part which separates the humans and aliens but it is hard at the beginning because they are an almost perfect copy. "A superbly crafted film by innovative director Siegel, this low-budget science fiction tale became one of the great cult classics of the genre." (Drunker, 2007), the evidence explains how the director focussed on the story how successful it is visually due to change of action of emotion when the characters become the pod people.

There is also traces of the tableu - vivant style in the film, one typical example is the discovery of the body in Jack's cellar as there is no clue as to where it came from, why they have taken on the appearance of certain characters or if they are dead or alive. The only clue the audience is given is that some sort of process is slowly taking place as at closer expection the body is not yet complete missing the details of fingerprints, scars, etc. The idea of the person sleeping and waking as the alien clone was also a mystery at first because they still seemed like their normal selves and there wasn't a clear signal to demonstrate any changes. "This tense, offbeat piece of science-fiction is occasionally difficult to follow due to the strangeness of its scientific premise. Action nevertheless is increasingly exciting " (Staff, 2008), the evidence clarifies that the film and themes are wrapped in mystery and therefore takes a while the audience to fully understand what is happening but appreciate this as a typical science fiction movie full of action.

Figure 1, (2008), still of discovery of the body in the basements

As the film progresses it later reveals seed pods from space that form the growing bodies as they are able to take on any life form. Discovering this truth shifted the perception of Uncanniness to horrific fear as a suspense tension of who can Miles trust, can anybody be trusted. Eventually the entire town is converted leaving Miles and Becky as the only two humans left. Towards the end of the film the characters are chased down by the converted humans replacing the idea of humans chasing down the freak into the actual humans have become outcasts because they refused to be replaced/ copied by the pod people, therefore they have become the freaks that are hunted down. There is an excellent breathtaking scene where Miles returns to Becky after discovering the source of the music and she deceives him and the audience into believing that she is still human and didn't fall asleep, however when Miles kisses Becky, he immediately tells the difference and her mannerisms and tone of voice changes to cold and sharp like the rest of the pod people, representing the person Miles loved and the person that was most familiar to him stripped away to leave Miles on his own forever.

 Figure 2, (2010), still of the forming of the pod people

 Figure 3, (2009), still of pod from space

 Figure 4, (2010), still of Miles trying to convince the next town

Miles manages to escape but appears crazy as he frantically tries to find anyone who would believe him and take his warnings of the pod people seriously. The audience is then returned to the opening scene of Miles explaining his story to the doctor that still cant believe the impossible truths of the creatures that have managed to invade a town undetected. Then another character delievers news of an accident with a truck carrying thousands of strange pods heading into town, it becomes evident that Miles was telling the truth and the film leaves off in a mass panic and beginning the resistance of invasion but becomes unclear of what side will truimph."It's still a chilling picture, gaining over Phil Kaufman's smart remake by virtue of it's intimate small town setting, and it has one of the greatest endings ever filmed" (Andrew, 2006), the evidence indicates the slow transformation into the town and atmosphere becoming slowly pocessesed by an evil being taking away emotion and what makes the characters human. Miles has a strong line in the film in response to transformation taking place 'We have to fight to keep hold of humanity because that is what makes us human'.

 Figure 5, (2010), still of clone Becky awakening

  Figure 6, (2010), still of chase


Figure 1, (2008), still of discovery of the body in the basment, @ http://filmsdefrance.com/FDF_Invasion_of_the_Body_Snatchers_1956_rev.html, Accessed on: 2008

Figure 2, (2010), still of the forming of the pod people, @ http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/DVDReviews24/invasion_of_the_body_snatchers.htm, Accessed on: 2010

Figure 3, (2009), still of pod from space, @ http://www.gadflyonline.com/11-26-01/film-snatchers.html, Accessed on: 1998

Figure 4, (2010), still of miles trying to convince next town, @ http://wearemoviegeeks.com/2010/09/kevin-mccarthy-actor-of-1956-sci-fi-classic-body-snatchers-dead-at-96/, Accessed on: 12th September 2010

Figure 5, (2010), still of clone becky awakening, @ http://www.flickr.com/photos/29235625@N04/2778747162/, Accessed on: 2010

Figure 6, (2010), still of chase, @ http://nighthawknews.wordpress.com/2010/03/18/the-year-in-film-1956/, Accessed on: 18th March 2010


Andrew Geoff, (2006), timeout London, @ http://www.timeout.com/film/reviews/76141/invasion_of_the_body_snatchers.html, Accessed on: 24th June 2006

Drunker Don, (2007), Tv guide - Invasion of the Body Snatchers, @ http://movies.tvguide.com/invasion-body-snatchers/review/102182, Accessed on: 24th June 2006

Staff Variety, (2008), @ http://www.variety.com/review/VE1117792012?refcatid=31, Accessed on: 31st December 1955

1 comment:

  1. Hey - it's great you've watched this - and posted a review too! It's an absolute classic - and the idea of being doubled (and your double meaning your death) is an uncanny trope. Of course, what it does really well is turn small town america into a nightmare place where everyone is the same; if you consider the view of the american suburbs in Edward Scissorhands, you'll see a similar theme explored - likewise in Blue Velvet, which we'll be watching after Christmas...