The residents of a small town are excited when a flaming meteor lands in the hills, until they discover it is the first of many transport devices from Mars bringing an army of invaders invincible to any man-made weapon, even the atomic bomb.
Smashing sci-fi film that is a landmark for special effects. Martians invade Earth with total destructive powers, seemingly unstoppable, mankind must find a way to beat them before all is Lost. In spite of the uproar and considerable success of Orson Welles' 1938 radio adaptation of the H.G Wells novel, War Of The Worlds was a topic that directors were staying well away from. Such high esteemed men like as Cecil B. DeMille & Alfred Hitchcock were mooted to be interested but it always came down to a worry that the special effects needed for the story were too much of a headache. Enter producer George Pal, noted for puppetoon shorts, he managed to sway the big wigs at Paramount that it could indeed be done, and thus the chain of big colour spaceships blasting, sci-fi creatures lurking and blockbuster bums on seats movies began. Directed by Byron Haskin, this version of the source moves the location from Edwardian England to 20th Century America, and this works a treat because the watching American public were genuinely unnerved at the sight of contemporary America being reduced to rubble by an invading force. The makers further our sense of dread by only letting us glimpse the aliens once in a wonderful scene (respectfully homaged in Stephen Spielberg's 2005 version of the source), other than that scene we are subjected to attack after attack from shiny flying saucers, slick and ground breaking effects working their magic on an impressionable audience. Outside of those known to hardcore sci-fi fans, the cast doesn't contain any stars of note, probably due to all the money being used on the effects? And for sure many of them come across as wooden beyond compare (though the lovely Ann Robinson lights up every scene she is in), while if I'm to be over critical: then the romantic thread in the film is tiresome and the religious overtone is tardily done. But War Of The Worlds 1953 still stands proud as a brave and hugely enjoyable picture thats importance has never been (nor should it be) understated, and even allowing for nostalgic fervour from this particular viewer, I heartily recommend this film to anyone interested in template movies for the sci-fi genre. 7/10
_**Clark Kent & Lois Lane face an invasion of Martians!**_ A flaming meteor lands near a small town in rural California, yet it turns out it’s not really a meteor, but rather the beginning of an extraterrestrial invasion! “The War of the Worlds” (1953) loosely interprets H.G. Wells' classic 1898 novel and moves the events up to the mid-20th century wherein Earthlings have modern weapons at their disposal, including the atomic bomb. Gene Barry and Ann Robinson play the protagonists, who are seriously reminicent of Clark Kent & Lois Lane. The movie wisely focuses on the alien invasion as seen through their eyes, which naturally gives the story human interest. The Martian vessels are superbly depicted and very threatening. Even better, the flick doesn’t skimp on showing the aliens up-close-and-personal and they’re even better than those in the 2005 reimagining (the one with Tom Cruise). While the first two acts are compelling sci-fi cinema of the highest order (in its quaint early 50’s way), the story somewhat loses it’s captivating power in the last act when the story switches to Earth vs. the Martians and Clark, I mean Dr. Forrester, stumbling around post-apocalyptic Los Angeles desperately searching for Lois, I mean Sylvia. The film runs 1 hour, 28 minutes, and was shot in Southern Cal & Arizona. GRADE: A-/B+
Not great in terms of the script, acting or the abrupt ending, the practical effects were impressive and a lot of fun with the Martian ships flying and causing mayhem and destruction. I can imagine this wowed audiences back in '53. **3.0/5**
“The War of the Worlds” now restored in 4K HD with its lovely looking technicolour and amazing surround sound really has elevated this movie to a higher level than any previous release. Made during the height of optimism in 1953 “The War of the Worlds” was and still is quite horrific and unnerving. The joys of the Atomic age are highlighted by the beauty of the alien spacecraft and the atom bomb being the answer to stopping any invading force. What is genuinely good about ”The War of the Worlds” is the way it goes for the horror element rather than any melodrama. The vague romance only acts as connecting dialogue between the hysterical panic and extreme action that takes centre stage throughout. The dark themes that were common place during the 1950’s are clearly on show, fear of invasion from a military force out to decimate and lack of confidence in governments to protect is quite apparent. Equally relevant today with recent pandemics, lock downs and threat of nuclear war in Europe, “The War of the Worlds” reminds us we all live under fear of invasion while governed by indecisive smugness.