September 12, 2010

"Help! Stop! Listen to me! You're in danger! Please!"

This impossibly vivid ending of the original 1956 "Invasion of the Body Snatchers." We'll never forget the amazing performance of Kevin McCarthy, who is dead now, at age 96.

"You're next! You're next! You're next!"

46 comments:

SteveR said...

Reminds me of work

David said...

Mary McCarthy's brother! Now there's a fact.

rcocean said...

Reminds me to vote Republican in November.

rcocean said...

Obama = Pod Person.

Now it all makes sense.

Robert Cook said...

"Reminds me to vote Republican in November."

Actually, that's what McCarthy was warning us against.

"Obama = Pod Person."

Yep. They've got everyone...Repubs and Dems!

Bob Ellison said...

I'm next? I need two wit'.

rcocean said...

C'mon isn't Obama the ultimate Pod Person. The man from nowhere. A half- white half-black, Kenyan-American, from Indonesia and Hawaii who went to Harvard and Columbia and some college in LA, and who then moved to the South Side of Chicago in order to be Black.

His mother was a left-wing atheist, his step-father a Muslim, but he's some sort of "Goddamn America" Christian, when he's not playing golf.

He smokes, he drinks, he was was (?) a coke head, he married Michelle but doesn't wear his wedding ring, he's passionless and weirdly detached - like Mr. Spock.

Sorry, the man's a Pod person.

Fred4Pres said...

I remember when Althouse fell asleep and then woke up and voted for Obama.

Fred4Pres said...

Is that Meade running down the street?

BJM said...

We made pod costumes that Halloween and terrorized the little kids. Good fun.

However a few years earlier "Invaders from Mars" scared the bejeebers out of me. I had nightmares for months after surreptitiously watching it from the backseat at the drive-in.

I still get chills when I hear the sand music (at 7:48).

MrBuddwing said...

The YouTube clip isn't, of course, the actual ending of the movie; the studio slapped on a new beginning and end in which Kevin McCarthy is disbelieved, then finally believed, by a pair of doctors played by Whit Bissell and Richard Deacon.

Word has it a re-edited version minus the added-on beginning and ending was released in 1979, but I wouldn't know where to find it.

RIP, Kevin McCarthy.

Robert Cook said...

The version of BODY SNATCHERS wihout the tacked on beginning and ending is not so obscure...I've seen it aired on tv more than once. It is more effective than the version with the tacked on bits, but the film overall is strong enough that either version is effective and chilling.

I don't know if many ALTHOUSE commenters would approve...it's got, (horrors!) "liberal" undertones! (It was seen as a warning against the conformism and socially imposed tyranny of the commie-fearing McCarthyist 50s cold war atmosphere. The "podpeople" analogs for today would be the Fox News-watching, Tea Party attending, Islamophobes.)

caplight said...

As a teen I used to watch that on Saturday afternoon UHF sci-fi movie shows. For days afterward I looked at my family somewhat askance.

Scrutineer said...

Robert Cook - I don't know if many ALTHOUSE commenters would approve...it's got, (horrors!) "liberal" undertones! (It was seen as a warning against the conformism and socially imposed tyranny of the commie-fearing McCarthyist 50s cold war atmosphere.

Does that really fit the story? Assuming the filmmakers intended any allegory at all, this makes more sense to me:

"I've often heard people say it's an attack on McCarthyism, but I always thought the lesson of the movie is quite the opposite. After all, the supposedly paranoid fears of a conspiracy-from-within are in fact justified. If it's about witch-hunts, there are witches."

Cedarford said...

What I remember is that Kevin McCarthy was perfect for the part and made it one of the rare old Sci fi movies with really good acting by the lead. McCarthy made it believable, made it a sucess in the same way Sigourney Weaver made Alien "pop" as scary, urgent stuff.

It was also directed by Don Siegel and critically praised from the beginning, also rare in sci fi films. (Don Siegel went on to make a number of highly praised and high box office movies in the 60s and 70s, inc. "Dirty Harry", and is the man Clint Eastwood said he most emulated when Eastwood became a top director)

The Movie and original book writer drew on literature of spies and enemies within and made the "alien" into a true alien - It is a great theme and has been remade more than a half a dozen times in major productions. "Invasion" with Nicole Kidman, was the latest.

Interviewed later, the books' author, Don Siegel, and producer all denied it had anything to do with McCarthyism. Or fear of communist subvertors who looked and acted like the people next door, but were out to destroy us.

A proposed project that would have been non-sci fi but have Muslims as the Pod People was proposed and promptly shot down after CAIR managed to get "The Religion of Peace" out of the screenplay for "Sum of All Fears". Sort of a collective Hollywood decision that they wouldn't add Muslims to their usual target list of evil neonazis, evil corporatists, and evil Christian evangelicals or Christian clergy.

Pogo said...

A useful allegory for the power of bad ideas.

AJ Lynch said...

A bit of nostalgia there seeing California before it was ruined by liberals!

shoutingthomas said...

I don't know if many ALTHOUSE commenters would approve...it's got, (horrors!) "liberal" undertones! (It was seen as a warning against the conformism and socially imposed tyranny of the commie-fearing McCarthyist 50s cold war atmosphere. The "podpeople" analogs for today would be the Fox News-watching, Tea Party attending, Islamophobes.)

The "commie-fearing" was absolute the right thing to do, Cookie. Hollywood was full of shit back then, too, wasn't it? Of course, you're on the side of the commies.

There's a term for old Stalinists who hate America, like you, Cooke... Oikophobe. Means hates everything familiar and conventional. Should be Oinkophobe to catch the true flavlor.

The 50s was a great era of American technology, manufacturing and music. It would be great to have that awful "conformity" back.

But, then, Cookie, the destructive, evil commies like you began to win.

shoutingthomas said...

And Cookie:

Haven't really paid much attention to the Tea Party, but if an insane Stalinist like you hates them, that's just about an endorsement.

I'll have to look into what they have to say.

You're really creepy. You can write a coherent sentence, but beneath the well phrased arguments, you're a monster.

jr565 said...

That should have been the ending. However, they ended a 5 minute wrap up that destroyed the movie. Basically, we defeat the bodysnatchers at the end.

The ending of the original remake (not the one with Nicole Kidman) had a far more chilling ending.

ricpic said...

"...the commie fearing McCarthyist 50s cold war atmosphere."

Ah yes, repeat the leftist line often enough and you can almost turn the world upside down in the minds of the miseducated. When I think of the all court press assault on everything normative that was the 60's, the 50's come off as a golden age.

jr565 said...

THat should have said:
However, they ADDED a 5 minute wrap up that destroyed the movie.

jr565 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jr565 said...

"...the commie fearing McCarthyist 50s cold war atmosphere."


There WERE communists in the state department, as Venona papers attest.
And Alger Hiss WAS a communist.
And Jules and Ethel Rosenberg were guilty.
And Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. (just thought I'd throw that one in there)

MrBuddwing said...

The ending of the original remake (not the one with Nicole Kidman) had a far more chilling ending.

The Donald Sutherland version? Supposedly, Veronica Cartwright didn't know what was coming, so her reaction (supposedly) was real.

As for the original, seeing the YouTube clip, I realized the point somebody had made was correct: The movie violated its own premise. It went from pod people replacing humans to pod people taking over humans.

As for whether the original's pod people were supposed to represent Communists or paranoid anti-Communists, all I can do is shrug. I am reminded of an SNL sketch back in 1980, a spoof of "Body Snatchers" in which the pod people were all Ronald Reagan supporters. Pretty funny, as I recall.

Word verification: uphic.

shoutingthomas said...

There WERE communists in the state department, as Venona papers attest.
And Alger Hiss WAS a communist.
And Jules and Ethel Rosenberg were guilty.


Yes, and the Soviet Union was the Evil Empire. Ronald Reagan was right.

Cookie is a Stalinist. He wanted the Soviet Union to win. The old Soviet Union was a Utopia of advanced human rights. You can read it right in the Soviet constitution.

Pogo said...

You're the pod people.
No, you're the pod people!!!

We have however been invaded by the iPod people, like the rest of us save for the continuous instructions they receive via wires from their brains to some sort of small handheld transmitter.

ricpic said...

Speaking of old lefties, did anyone catch the latest pictures of Jane Fonda? Her face is morphing - oh the horror - into Nancy Reagan's, but her body is nothing short of astounding at 72. Little nip and tucking going on there doesn't hurt.

AJ Lynch said...

Hmmm invading Nicole Kidman's body - the possibilities are endless.

Scott M said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
E.M. Davis said...

And then McCarthy went on to play several older, evil, white (presumably) Republican men -- with aplomb, I might add.


RIP, Mr. McCarthy.

TMink said...

Let us recall for a moment, that Joseph McCarthy was correct on most counts about the communist spies.

We cannot discuss the issue without taking the facts into account.

Trey

Comrade X said...

Hey Robert Cook! Bet you didn't know The Communist Manifesto is actually A COOKBOOK!!!

AJ Lynch said...

"Cook Book" Haha yes that was a classic and our own Robert Cook would have been one of the 1st suckers to board the spaceship to see our intergalactic betters up close and personal.

Robert Cook said...

"Let us recall for a moment, that Joseph McCarthy was correct on most counts about the communist spies.

We cannot discuss the issue without taking the facts into account."


Curiously, the facts are that we never did see the names he purported to have on that list with the ever changing number of spies whom he claimed to have uncovered.

Face it, he was a drunken, lying blowhard.

shoutingthomas said...

Curiously, the facts are that we never did see the names he purported to have on that list with the ever changing number of spies whom he claimed to have uncovered.

Face it, he was a drunken, lying blowhard.

For once, Cookie, you're right.

McCarthy was a drunken, lying blowhard.

And, yet, the State Department was full of commies. We know this because the release of the old Soviet archives proved it.

The situation was, in fact, far worse than McCarthy claimed. The Soviets acquired the schematics to build their first atomic bombs from a spy secreted within the Manhattan project.

We know this because the Soviet archives were released and the spies were revealed.

So, technically, you're right. On the broader issue, of course, you're full of shit. The federal government was riddled with communist spies and saboteurs. They should have been arrested and prosecuted. Like you, these spies and saboteurs were high minded idealists consumed with the belief that communism was the road to Utopia.

We really had plenty of witches to hunt. Unfortunately, McCarthy ruined the reputation of the witch hunters.

jgm said...

Actually, the original story,
The Body Snatchers, was written by Jack Finney, who also wrote the best time-travel novel to date, Time and Again.

jgm said...

Should add that I just happened to watch the '78 version of the movie last night. I'd forgotten that McCarthy had a small part near the beginning, once again running the streets warning people. The pods kill him.

blake said...

I always chuckle when people talk about the studio tacking on the happy ending, and people liking the darker ending of the "original" or the '70s remake.

The book? It has a positively uplifting ending. Life-affirming. Up with people. Like to have seen someone do that in one of the movies.

Although the premise has been used many times (and SF purists will say that Heinlein's Puppet Masters is the original), I believe Finney's story has only officially been filmed four times:

Seigel's '50s classic with McCarthy.

Kaufman's '70s version with Sutherland (and an emotionless Nimoy), which I think is increasingly well respected.

The modern version with Kidman.

And!! (Anyone? Anyone?)

A low budget '90s version with Meg Tilly directed by exploitation vet Abel Ferrara and co-written by the inestimable Larry Cohen.

Yeah, it's not the best of the four.

David said...

I don't know if many ALTHOUSE commenters would approve...it's got, (horrors!) "liberal" undertones! (It was seen as a warning against the conformism and socially imposed tyranny of the commie-fearing McCarthyist 50s cold war atmosphere.

It was? By whom? A while ago the liberals were saying that all the 50's scare movies were McCarthy inspired. Whooooo! The commies are coming--gonna get you!

In the old version this was part of a right wing plot.

The tacked on endings never stop, do they?

peter hoh said...

This kid is picking up the mantle of the great "listen to me" monologue.

Trooper York said...

"And Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone"

No he didn't.

Carlos and Santo set him up as a patsy. He shot but they had a hit team in place.

That's why Jack Ruby whacked him a couple of days later. Jack had terminal cancer so he took one for the team.

Trooper York said...

The hit only happened because Jack crossed the boys when he let his stupid brother loose. I mean he owed them for taking the dough for the payoff's for the West Virgina primary that got him the nomination.

Trooper York said...

Now it only happened because the old man had a stroke.

Once Ambassador Joe started doing an hdhouse imitation, then Bobby had free reign and that led directly to Jack getting whacked.

I mean Bobby had Carlos picked up by immigration and dropped off in a Guatemalan jungle for crying out loud. They had to know the shit storm that was coming.

Trooper York said...

If you want to learn about the beginings of this part of our history, you should check out "Boardwalk Empire" on HBO starting this Sunday.

It was made by Martin Scorcese and written by Terry Winter who wrote most of the best Soprano episodes.

You will meet a young Arnold Rothstein, Lucy Luciano, Meyer Lansky and Al Capone.

I just wonder if he has the balls to put in Joe Kennedy who was good buddies with Knucky Johnson the real historical figure. He shipped a lot of booze through Atlantic City. That paid for the Havard educations for his demon spawn.

rcocean said...

"It was? By whom? A while ago the liberals were saying that all the 50's scare movies were McCarthy inspired. Whooooo! The commies are coming--gonna get you!"

Read more liberal film critics. You'll find that every movie made between 1948-1961 was either an attack on (1) "rabid" anti-communism, (2) Joe McCarthy, (3) HUAC. or (4) Racism.