Monster Mondays #107 – The War of the Worlds (1953) January 18, 2021 filmseizure Monster Mondays 5 comments The invasion from Mars isn’t over yet! This week’s Monster Mondays goes into battle in The War of the Worlds! Share this:TwitterFacebookTumblrMastodonLike this:Like Loading... Related
This was my very first ever Favorite Movie, and it remains high on the list, still tied for #2. I’d been given a set of books for Christmas, one of which was the Wells book, which had this amazing cover:
I mean, look at that. The little silhouettes down in front, the sharp, straight heat rays coming out of their palms. The imagination reeled. I didn’t read it, because I was in the third grade, and that wonderful language, with some of which we hear sir Cedric Hardwicke open the film, completely eluded me. But it got released in theaters, paired with When Worlds Collide (https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0598/2925/products/566A4G5.jpg) in 1977 (guess why), so we went. Unbelievable. Every single week I checked the Sunday paper TV Guide for its yearly run on channel 4, starting the very week after it ran. The weeks it did were weeks of unbridled anticipation. In 5th grade, I decorated the hallways with self made posters for one of its broadcasts. First movie I audiotaped off the TV speakers. It was one of the first videotapes I ever saw in existence, back when VCRs were just being introduced in malls via large screen TVs playing Battlestar Galactica, and the thought of years’ worth of allowance just to buy the tape ($75) made sense to me. I have a laserdisc player exclusively so I could rip the music & effects track, since the score has been (and remains) mostly lost.
I am extremely pleased that, though perhaps not your trigger, the Criterion blu-ray release last July has led a number of hosts on film podcasts I listen to to watch it (usually again), and they’ve all been surprised at how good it is. Also, for the DVD commentary, Gene Barry watched it for the first time since its release (if not ever), having basically dismissed it as a mere contract obligation step in the early stages of his career. He was polite, and honest about how little he recalled of it, but by the end was also surprised at how good it actually was. Ann Robinson was being groomed by Paramount to be their next ‘It’ Girl, and man, was she some kind of beautiful, but she ran off and married a matador, and they all but crap-canned her career for the betrayal.
Also, I love that the effects team, and former effects man, director Byron Haskin, were so sharp that they counted on the slight misalignment of the three strips in the Technicolor camera to help hide the many, many wires and cables holding up those ships, which worked pretty magnificently. There are rough stills from single strip prints which used to run on TV, 18 thick, black support lines emanating up from the war machines. My friends couldn’t get over it when I told them to try and catch it.
Anyway, glad you liked it.
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Oh yeah, I always loved this movie too. It was one that kinda scared me when I was little. This, and The Man Who Saw Tomorrow. I was always scared when I thought of the future or something that would come along that we couldn’t stop or be more powerful than. The idea of these things coming down and just annihilating us or, as with The Man Who Saw Tomorrow, the future with the vast territory of mutants post the nuclear fallout. Hell, add The Day After to that list. I still think the ships are super cool and some of the best design work in movie history.
When I have some time, I need to rewatch the TV series that I got the discs for super cheap a year or so ago.
The TV series lost me when, I think the first time I turned it on, a guy sitting at a computer grimaced, then an adult human sized Martian arm busted out of his chest (in which there was no room, let alone for enough of the body to make it do what it did so dramatically, if there wasn’t a full Martian in there, and the guy’s reaction to having his torso exploded wasn’t to drop like a marionette, as it should be, but to yell long in surprise and defeat. Plus it was one of those No Progress Made Each Week shows, like ‘V’. So I lack the nostalgia I might need for the series, where I have it for the movie, which doesn’t need it at all.
It’s funny, the movie itself never scared me, but because of the concept of the war machines, you can’t get behind them or fight them, just keep running and don’t get seen, eventually in dreams which were about that had these machines as the avatars of destruction.
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Here are my missing ) and I.
I shouldn’t comment when the sleep aids are kicking in.