The War of the Worlds
Kampf der Welten
George Pal for Paramount
directed by Byron Haskin
starring Gene Barry, Ann Robinson, Les Tremayne, Robert Cornthwaite, Sandro Giglio, Lewis Martin, Housely Stevenson jr, Paul Frees, William Phipps, Vernon Rich, Henry Brandon, Jack Kruschen, Cedric Hardwicke (voice)
screenplay by Barré Lyndon, based on the novel by H.G. Wells, music by Leith Stevens
War of the Worlds
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The Martians attack the world, and science and the military seem
defenseless, Martian UFOs, it turns out, can even survive atom bombs
unscathed, and they fly such wicked formations that the Air Force is
powerless. So soon enough, the Martians have laid ruins to all major
cities, and it seems the humans are fighting a losing battle ...
So far so good, the special effects of this film are really impressive
(not only for its time), so what would there be to complain about ?
Unfortunately a lot: the whole Martian invasion story is only the
backdrop for a love story between the scientist (Gene Barry) and the
reverend's daughter (Ann Robinson), who meet for the first time at the
beginning of the film, immediately feel an attraction for each other, lose
each other during a mass evacuation, and eventually find each other again
in a church. There, they pray, and all of a sudden, all the Martians, not
used to earth bacteria, die from common cold.
Somehow, the stupid lovestory ruins the entire film, especially since
the whole invasion storyline is so clumsily told, giving away H.G.Wells'
subtlety and hindsight for an advertisment for the Air Force (certainly
not one of Wells' intentions) and let it all climax in a non-event ending.
And somehow the plot, which is essentially H.G.Wells reduced to 1950's
sci-fi stereotypes, is - concerning tension and suspense - a far cry away
from much cheaper and much more ridiculed similar output by small studios
like AIP. That
shis film has (undeservedly) become a classic at all can only be explained
by its Oscar for best special effects and the fact that a big
was behind it all.