INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS (1956 U.S.) D: DON SIEGEL W: DANIEL MAINWARING/SAM PECKINPAH/RICHARD COLLINS P: WALTER WAGNER
Kevin McCarthy stars as a small-town doctor who notices people changing in more ways than one in this b/w paranoia sci-fi classic. Jack Finney's novel is given an excellent screen treatment by Mainwaring, Peckinpah and Collins, and Siegel's direction is as assured as always. The first time a pod person is seen in a greenhouse it's genuinely creepy. With Dana Wynter, King Donovan, Carolyn Jones, Larry Gates, Jean Willes, Tom Fadden, Frank Hagney, Dabbs Greer, Pat O'Malley and a cameo from Peckinpah. The original happy ending was wisely dropped for a more downbeat one, so Whit Bissell and Richard Deacon have been cut out. This can be viewed as an anti-communist allegory or the complete opposite, lampooning America's cold-war paranoia. Or you can just enjoy it for what it is, an exciting sci-fi/horror thriller. Endlessly copied, as well as three official remakes in 1978, 1993 and 2007. Incidentally, a Philip K.Dick short story entitled The Father-Thing that was published in 1954 (Finney`s novel was published in `55) bares some uncanny resemblances.

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