On DVD from director William Cameron Menzies and Ignite Films is the 1953 classic INVADERS FROM MARS.
Young David (Jimmy Hunt) is soundly sleeping until a very loud crack of what he believes to be thunder wakes him up. Running to his window to see, he quickly realizes that it is not thunder but a large flying saucer that disappears behind his house.
Excitedly waking up his parents, David’s father is scientist George (Leif Erickson) and mother Mary (Hillary Brooke). George goes to check it out and in the morning David notices something different about his father, including a mark on his neck. Things are about to get worse when he sees schoolfriend Kathy completely disappear in front of his eyes.
Going to the police himself, David meets Dr. Pat Blake (Helena Carter) who begins to believe what the boy is saying. He also meets Dr. Stuart Kelston (Arthur Franz) who is an astronomer who also believes David and now needs to convince the government and Col. Fielding (Morris Ankrum) that there is an invasion from Mars. As the military moves in, David and Dr. Blake find themselves sucked underground and captured by aliens.
Now, the race is on to stop the aliens before they turn everyone into their mind-controlled slaves!
Hunt plays the young David who must convince the adults that he is not seeing things. Of course, he deals with ‘oh you must have been dreaming’ etc., which adults are known to do when they can not bring themselves to just listen. If anything, Hunt gives us a look early into a kid and aliens genre that continues in 2023.
Franz as Dr. Kelston is on it to realize that David is absolutely telling the truth. As an astronomer, he is use to people not believing what he has to say about what is beyond. Once it is established that there is something in what David says, he is the first to jump in when the boy and Dr. Blake disappear.
Carter as Dr. Blake does not skip a beat in believing David. She asks all the usual questions in the beginning but sees the young boy is strong and straight forward. When things start going a little sideways, she immediately stays with David until they are taken, then it is David who makes it clear that he will do everything possible save the good Dr. Blake.
Ankrum as Col. Fielding realizes that the aliens are responsible for the madness and are on the case to find David and Dr. Blake and stop the intruders. He is a strong presence knowing that he will do whatever is necessary to stop what the aliens are doing.
Other cast include Walter Sande as Police Mack Finlay, Max Wagner as Sgt. Rinaldi, Milburn Stone as Capt. Roth, Charles Cane as Officer Blain, Bert Freed as Police Chief Barrows, Fay Baker as Mrs. Wilson, Janine Perreau as Kathy Wilson, John Eldredge as Mr. Turner, Charles Gibb as Lt. Blair, Gil Herman as Maj. Clary and Luce Potter as the Globe Martian.
Ignite Films Began acquiring classic film properties in the 1990s and this has built a collection of more than 80 features. Using original film elements, Ignite continues to restore and upgrade its collection for posterity and appreciation by generations of cinephiles and movie lovers, old and new. Films such as LETTERS FROM AN UNKNOWN WOMAN, FORCE OF EVIL with John Garfield and THE BIG COMBO, we well as Otto Premingers’ SAINT JOAN. For more information, please visit www.ignite-films.com.
Bonus Features include Brand New 4K Restoration of the Film, Restored from the Original Camera Negative and Master Positives, Restored 4K Original 1953 Trailer and a Newly Commissioned Trailer 2022, Interviews with Star Jimmy Hunt, William Cameron Menzies Biographer James Curtis and Recollections of Menzies’ Eldest Granddaughter Pamela Lauesen, Featurette with Acclaimed Film Directors John Landis, Joe Dante, Editor Mark Goldblatt, Special Visual Enthusiast and Film Preservationist Scott MacQueen.
Also, John Sayles; Introduction at Turner Classic Movie Festival in Hollywood, Before/After clips of Restoration, Original Negative and Archival Film Elements with Film Restoration Supervisor Scott MacQueen, Restored Segments in 2K of the Alternate International Version Alternative Ending and Extended Planetarium Scene, Gallery with Original Press Book Pages Behind the Scenes Photo from the Restoration Process, 20-Page Collector’s Booklet Featuring an Extensive Essay on the Restoration Process and Mars: A Nightmare of Restoration by Scott MacQueen.
It must be said, there is something totally amazing by the release of one of the first films I ever saw with aliens in it. Of course, it was a Saturday matinee on television but that was everything as a kid. I loved every bit of it, the story based on a kid, adults scrambling and the kid being front and center dealing with aliens.
It is films such as INVADERS FROM MARS that brought ideas for the aliens films we see today. Of course, the aliens of the past 30 years on film are seriously amazing but all of it had to begin with films such as this.
Bringing back memories for me, I showed the film to my granddaughter who is seven, she absolutely loved every minute of it. She cheered on David and yelled at the aliens (something she learned from me) and hated when it was over. What that tells me is that even seventy years later, even the youngest film lover can appreciate how awesome INVADERS FROM MARS truly is.
In the end – it could happen tomorrow!