Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)

casting card

 

Plot: A small-town doctor learns that the population of his community is being replaced by emotionless alien duplicates.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Pure Classic

 

Story: Invasion of the Body Snatchers starts when Dr Miles Bennell (McCarthy) being restrained claiming to have a big story behind it all. We flashback to hear his story of how he returned to his town to find his patients book and cancelling appointments as well as resident claiming their relatives are not relatives.

When Miles learns that there have been many other cases in the area he starts to suspect foul play. Things take a terrifying turn when Jack Belicec (Donovan) finds a strange body not quite complete with a similar size body as himself only to find out there is another one of his love Becky (Wynter). Turning to Dr Kauffman (Gates) he dismisses everything but Miles finds himself battle what he thinks is his friends changing into these body snatchers.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers is always going to be a classic story about paranoia and what it creates within a small community. This does what many horrors fail to achieve and that is create suspense and terror in nearly every scene and you much like the characters we just don’t know who to trust through the film. The flashback feel does create the terror but also does take away any peril from Miles character. That would be the only bad side to this story but for the time it comes off very effective.

 

Actor Review

 

Kevin McCarthy: Miles Bennell is the local doctor who is telling the story of what is going on sharing he experiences back in his small town. He starts getting a large number of cases leading to nothing before a strange body shows up. He has to get to the bottom of the reason why there are body snatchers in this small town. Kevin is great in this leading role showing the strength needed in a world completely against you with something you just don’t understand.

Dana Wynter: Becky Driscoll has recently moved back to the small town too she is the love interest of Miles who has always been one step away from becoming a couple. She is on the run with Miles as they are trying to get the bottom of this case. Dana is great in this role back when the woman would be the sidekick to the lead.

Larry Gates: Dan Kauffman is a fellow doctor who dismisses anything going on in the town as just mass hysteria, but we learn that he has alternative motives. Larry is good in this role being the voice of reason if this was real.

King Donovan: Jack Belicec is the first one to discover the body before it has taken over him he calls Miles to look into what is happening only to work with him to uncover the truth. King is good in this role but you know which direction his character will go.

Support Cast: Invasion of the Body Snatchers has your typical horror supporting cast with most of the cast being people who have been captured or has their body snatched.

Director Review: Don SiegelDon gives us a suspense driven horror that was one of the best for the time and still holds up today.

 

Horror: Invasion of the Body Snatchers uses the horror elements of not knowing what is happening to make this one really shine through the horror genre.

Sci-Fi: Invasion of the Body Snatchers has the elements of the sci-fi angle by having the snatchers coming from out of space making this a true sci-fi classic.

Thriller: Invasion of the Body Snatchers keeps us on edge from start to finish because the panic created from the opening scene lets us know what we are heading into.

Settings: Invasion of the Body Snatchers keeps the story set in a small town showing how taking over could make this a reality for the time.
Special Effects
: Invasion of the Body Snatchers uses great effects t the time period in question.

Suggestion: Invasion of the Body Snatchers is one I think all horror fans should watch just to see how far the genre has come with its great ideas. (Horror Fans Watch)

 

Best Part: Pod births.

Worst Part: Could have been longer.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $417,000

Runtime: 1 Hour 20 Minutes

Tagline: The original Black & White classic

 

Overall: Brilliant sci-fi classic that will make you think twice when talking to anyone you know.

Ratingcard

 

 

The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)

rob challengeThe latest challenge from Rob is the Hitchcock classic

logoDirector: Alfred Hitchcock

Writer: John Michael Hayes (Screenplay) Charles Bennett, D.B. Wyndham Lewis (Story)

Starring: James Stewart, Doris Day, Brenda de Banzie, Bernard Miles, Ralph Truman, Daniel Gelin, Mogens Wieth

Plot: A family vacationing in Morocco accidentally stumble on to an assassination plot and the conspirators are determined to prevent them from interfering.

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

Verdict: Classic Tale

Story: The Man Who knew Too Much starts with our vacationing family McKenna’s Benjamin (Stewart), Josephine (Day) and son Hank (Olsen) in Morocco. After a slight altercation on a bus the family meet French man Louis Bernard (Gelin) who starts to learn about personal information about the McKenna’s making an instant friend from Benjamin while Jo questions his motives.

When Louis Bernard gets stabbed he dies in the arms of Benjamin passing over a secret about an assassination attempt. Benjamin get questioned by police before getting threatened about his secret. When the McKenna’s find out the true identity of a nice couple the Drayton’s Lucy (Banzie) & Edward (Miles) who take Hank as leverage to keep their plan a secret, leaving Benjamin and Jo to find the one man too trust, save their child and save the assassination attempt.

The Man Who knew Too Much is a film that I actually saw The Simpsons’ take on it first, so I knew the basic idea of twists along the way. I d think this is a classic that has stood the test of time with it reaching the age of 60 next year. I think the idea of using everyday people in the thrilling stage rather than authority character which people end up seeing normally. I think this is a very good at showing a strong female character which is something we still struggle at time. This is a real thrill ride that does keep you guessing from start to finish. (8/10)

Actor Review

James Stewart: Dr Benjamin McKenna is the loving husband and father who ends up caught in the middle of assassination attempt, where he knows the secret but can’t give it up until he get his son back. He will try everything to get his son back however risky it will end up being for himself. James gives a great performance that shows just how big of a star he was. (8/10)

Doris Day: Josephine Conway McKenna is the loving mother and famous singer who attracts attention from the public as she tries to discover the location of her son, she is happy to search alone showing how strong and independent her character is compared to others in the time period. Doris does a good job in this strong role where she does get to show off her singing talents. (7/10)

Brenda de Banzie: Lucy Drayton starts off as part of a friendly couple but it soon becomes apparent that along with her husband they have another plan up their sleeve. Brenda does a solid job but I don’t feel she gets enough screen time for her character. (6/10)

Bernard Miles: Edward Drayton looks like a friend to the McKenna’s but once he is involved in the kidnapping of the their son he proves to be the ring leader in an assassination attempt. Bernard does a good job in the villainous role. (7/10)

Support Cast: The Man Who knew Too Much has a supporting cast that is filled with generic authority characters that seem to not be much help with the family’s problem.

Director Review: Alfred Hitchcock – Alfred is one of the best directors the world ever saw and this film shows just how good of a story teller he really was. (9/10)

Thriller: The Man Who knew Too Much keeps you guessing to what will happen next through the whole film. (10/10)

Settings: The Man Who knew Too Much uses the Morocco and London setting nicely showing the difference in location and how out of place the characters are in each one. (9/10)

Suggestion: The Man Who knew Too Much is one film that everyone should have seen at least one time their life time. (Watch)

Best Part: Tension is brilliant.

Worst Part: I do feel we needed more from the supporting characters.

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $2.5 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours

Tagline: A little knowledge can be a deadly thing!

Overall: A Thriller that just keeps giving that shows just how the master made films.

Rating 85

The Killing (1956)

rob challengeThis week on the challenge Rob has chosen the Stanley Kubrick The Killing, which is a film that I haven’t seen but it is from an icon of cinema so I will be watching hoping for the best.

logoDirector: Stanley Kubrick

Writer: Stanley Kubrick (Screenplay) Lionel White (Novel)

Starring: Sterling Hayden, Coleen Gray, Vince Edwards, Jay C Flippen, Ted de Corsia, Marie Windsor, Elisha Cook Jr

Plot: Crooks plan and execute a daring race-track robbery.

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

Verdict: Dated, But Still Has Style

Story: The Killing starts at the horse tracks where Marvin Unger (Flippen) is not interested in watching the races but uses the knowledge of the outcomes to his advantage. We also meet Policeman Randy Kennan (Corsia) as he deals with personal issues from before the horse racing. We continue to meet the characters involved this time it is Johnny Clay (Hayden) who is trying to make sure his partner Fay (Gray) understands everything planned. George Peatty (Cook Jr) is trying to keep his high life going to impress his wife Sherry (Windsor).

We continue to see how everyone has an agenda with Sherry having an affair with Val (Edwards). Johnny is the ring leader for the job with Marvin, Randy, George and Mike, they will split the take five ways and the take will be $2 Million. We get to watch how the plan truly unfolds and learn whether the master plan goes down without a hitch.

The Killing leaves me wondering how to review this, do I look at how I feel about the film now or how I think it would look at the time of release. I have decided to go with how I felt about the film now. I have seen plenty of heist films now and they are all very flash and stylish so comparing this to any of them becomes almost impossible, but I can see how they got their ideas from. The style the film is shot in works to keep each chapter of the plan as a mystery even if it is easy to work out. I can see why people consider this a classic but I can’t help but feel that certain parts of his have dated. (7/10)

Actor Review

Sterling Hayden: Johnny Clay is the man pulling the strings in the heist, he brings the team together in the plan to take $2 Million as well as arranging to have others involved in the distractions for a small fee. Sterling does make for a great leading man with his plan. (7/10)

Jay C Flippen: Marvin Unger is the right hand man for Johnny, he gets involved in the more important parts of the plan because he knows how to stay calm through every potential exchange. Jay does give a solid performance but like most of the supporting characters end up feeling flat. (6/10)

Support Cast: The Killing has a supporting cast that is mostly part of the plan, each member plays their part to the final heist but not a single character ends up standing out.

Director Review: Stanley KubrickStanley puts his own style to the heist film which has easily be used to build the heist films we get today. (8/10)

Crime: The Killing plays out the whole heist through the film which help keep the crime style of the film shine through. (8/10)

Thriller: The Killing does keep us guessing to how the plan is going to work out. (8/10)

Settings: The Killing keeps the settings very heist based with a large part of the film in and around the horse race tracks. (8/10)

Suggestion: The Killing is one to watch because you will see how many ideas this film has given to the future directors ideas. (Watch)

Best Part: Airport scene.

Worst Part: Has dated

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

Awards: Nominated for 1 BAFTA

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $320,000

Runtime: 1 Hour 25 Minutes

Tagline: …Like No Other Picture Since “Scarface” and “Little Caesar”!

Overall: The inspiration for all of the heist films we all know and love.

Rating 80