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The War of the Worlds (1953)  IMDB   
Genre Sci-Fi/Action MPAA PG (Parental Guidance)
Director Byron Haskin Rating
Writer Barré Lyndon Runtime 85 minutes
Producer George Pal Type Movie
Cinematographer George Barnes Format DVD
Studio Paramount Pictures Disk No. 1/1
Language English Edition
Country USA UPC
Color Black and White    
Plot Summary

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H.G. Well's classic novel is brought to life is this tale of alien invasion. The resisdents of a small town are excited when a flaming meteor lands in the hills. Thier joy is tempered some what when they discover it has passengers who are not very friendly. The movie itself is understood better when you consider it was made at the height of the Cold War - just replace Martian with Russian...

Summary written by: KC Hunt {khunt@eng.morgan.edu}
Actor / Character

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Gene Barry ..... Dr. Clayton Forrester
Ann Robinson (I) ..... Sylvia Van Buren, Library Science Teacher USC
Les Tremayne ..... Major General Mann USA
Lewis Martin (I) ..... Pastor Dr. Matthew Collins
Robert Cornthwaite ..... Dr. Pryor (Pacific Tech)
Sandro Giglio ..... Dr. Bilderbeck (Pacific Tech)
William Phipps ..... Wash Perry
Jack Kruschen ..... Salvatore
Vernon Rich ..... Colonel Ralph Heffner USMC
Houseley Stevenson Jr. ..... Aide to General Mann
Paul Frees ..... Radio Reporter
Henry Brandon ..... Cop at Crash Site with Spot Light
Cedric Hardwicke ..... Commentary
Awards

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(1953) Academy - Best Editing (nom) ..... Everett Douglas
(1953) Academy - Best Sound (nom) ..... Loren L. Ryder
(1953) Academy - Best Visual Effects (nom) .....
Review

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This 1953 film ranks as a sci-fi classic for its brilliant pacing and stunning special effects. The story line is simple: Martians have arrived and they mean to annihilate the world's population with fire-breathing spaceships protected by invisible shields which no missile can penetrate. Earth is helpless. Doomsday is nearing. Although the dialogue is pedestrian at times, it is lean and short-winded. Consequently, the plot moves like a frightened gazelle: leaping, dodging, sprinting. Producer George Pal's special effects are outstanding, even by modern standards, as spaceships roam for quarry in Asia, Europe, and America. The lead actors --- Gene Barry as mild-mannered scientist Dr. Clayton Forrester, and Ann Robinson as a mild-mannered teacher of library science, Sylvia Van Buren --- wisely cede the starring role to the suspenseful action. They recite their lines, neither overacting nor underacting, then let the plot takes its course. In a memorable scene, Forrester and Van Buren huddle in the dusty ruins of a building while a Martian optical probe pokes through windows to find signs of life. They escape, of course --- just barely --- then try to discover the Martians' Achilles' heel, to no avail. The visual effects --- featuring stampeding crowds and spaceships zapping landmarks and whole city blocks --- provide plenty of thrills all along the way. Herbert Marshall's resonant British voice opens the film to set the scene and delivers the final lines during the wonderful surprise ending. Because the film debuted at a time when Americans feared communist infiltration of the U.S. government and its society, some moviegoers of the 1950s viewed the Martians as communists --- and went home wondering what Stalin was up to. --- Mike Cummings

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