Sunday, 26 April 2009
WAR OF THE WORLDS 1953 VERSION
WAR OF THE WORLDS
DIRECTED BY BYRON HASKIN
Available on DVD/Blue-ray
The fact that this version doesn't star Tom Cruise must be a point in its favour. And of course it was made during the 50's when science fiction was obsessed with the possibilities of invaders from other planets.
Some of the acting is a little wooden on times but the films brief running time means that it doesn't outstay its welcome and the special effects still stand up well today. Changing the Martian ships to a sinister Stingray type design rather than H. G. Wells' original tripod design also works cinematically and the reveal of the humanoid/octopoid creature is convincing. The model work particularly the villages the Martians destroy also looks good on the screen.
The film was updated from Wells' 1890 London to modern day California which was perhaps the wisest way to go. And even if on times the wires are visible working the Martian ships the effects were regarded good enough to take the Academy Award for Special Effects. The films was also nominated for the best musical score and best film editing.
The film is still fun to watch in the effects laden world of 2009 and stands up well because it refuses to take itself too seriously and concentrates on telling a damn good story.
Maybe it's my age but I much prefer this version to the Speilberg/Cruise version and I would rate this as the definitive movie adaption of Wells' book- at least until someone comes along and makes it in its original Victoian London setting, that is. It's also one of only a few 1950's SCI-FI movies not to be full of cold war paranoia which has helped to keep it fresh and watchable all these years later.