Thursday, November 4, 2010

Invasion of the Body Snatchers

The original Invasion of the Body Snatchers from 1956 remains a must see for all sci-fi/horror movie fans.  It is an early entry into the modern era of the genre, and still retains its suspense, even without CGI effects.

I last saw Body Snatchers a few years ago, so my memory may be a bit rusty on the details.  I seem to remember a fairly early reveal of the pods that grew into replicas of people in the town.  You would expect them to hold on to the suspense of what these things look like, but nothing is lost in showing what they showed so early in the film.

So, who was in it?  There are some big names in the leads.  Kevin McCarthy (1914 - 2010, with 205 titles on IMDb), Dana Wynter (b. 1931, showing 82 titles), King Donovan (1918 - 1987, has 115 roles, including Cowboy (1958) mentioned in an earlier post of mine), Carolyn Jones (1930 - 1983, with 94 titles including "The Addams Family"), and Larry Gates (1915 - 1996, with 95 roles) have the major roles.

Two other famous names were also in Body Snatchers.  Sam Peckinpah (1925 - 1984) and Richard Deacon (1921 - 1984).

Sam Peckinpah is best known as a director and writer for TV shows and screenplays such as "Gunsmoke," "The Rifleman," "The Westerner," Ride the High Country (1962), Major Dundee (1965), The Wild Bunch (1969) and Straw Dogs (1971).  He appears in 11 movies.

Richard Deacon has 169 titles listed, but is probably best known as the producer, Mel Cooley on "The Dick Van Dyke Show."  He is basically a sitcom guy, but he was in some good movies starting in 1953.  Keeping in the spirit of this post, look for Deacon in Them! (1954) and This Island Earth (1955).

A look through the other cast members brings up a large number of actors and actresses with more than 50 titles listed.  Many found good work on TV, but all retained a good movie presence as well.

One last cast member who should be mentioned is Pat O'Malley (1890 - 1966).  O'Malley has over 400 titles listed on IMDb, starting in 1908.  His first talkie was Alibi (1929) starring Chester Morris (1901 - 1970) and featuring Mae Busch (1891 - 1946) who worked with Laurel and Hardy, and Regis Toomey (1898 - 1991).  His last film was Apache Rifles (1964) starring Audie Murphy (1924 - 1971).

Perhaps what I remember most from Invasion of the Body Snatchers is the feeling of utter helplessness you have during of the film.  The ability to issue an emotional response is the hallmark of a great movie.  Even one made in 1956.


  1. ...and directed by Don Siegel (Dirty Harry, The Shootist), mentor to Clint Eastwood. This is a such classic. Great cast - I especially enjoy King Donovan.

  2. He also directed my favorite Burt Reynolds film, Rough Cut (1980), with David Niven. A real throwback to the screwball comedies of the 1930s. I think that film is under appreciated.


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