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Invasion of the Body Snatchers has been remade twice.  Chances are you’ll have seen at least one of the three and so you’ll know the story.  Basically, it goes like this: Kevin McCarthy plays Dr. Miles Bennell, a small-town doctor who returns home to find a number of his patients claiming that their loved ones are not who they are supposed to be – they look the same, they act the same but they’re not the same!  At first he just writes it off as a kind of mass hysteria but soon he discovers the truth – that giant pods are creating duplicates of the townsfolk and are slowly taking over the community, one by one.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers
Invasion of the body snatchers is the granddaddy of all paranoid thrillers. The script is tense and exciting with some fantastic lines of dialogue.  The acting is spot-on and the Don Siegel’s direction turned the film from what was intended to be a standard B Picture into a superbly crafted low-budget sci-fi movie.

Much can be (and has been) read into this film with some claiming it to be an attack on McCarthyism and others saying it is anti-Communist.  Personally, I think it’s just a great movie about vegetables taking over the world.  Actually, I think that the movie still carries some relevance today.  I certainly know plenty of people who seem more vegetable that human.  People who never used to be quite so idle and emotionless… hmm, the more I think about it, the more I worry about going to sleep.

As a point of interest, the film originally ended with Kevin McCarthy insanely waving his hands around in the middle of the highway but preview audiences found it too depressing.  The studio then added on the opening and closing sequences to make the film seem more positive.  It would have been nice if we had been given both versions on this DVD – but as it is we’ve just got the standard, theatrically released happy version.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers
Video
What we’ve been given is both a 2.35:1 non-anamorphic transfer plus a pan and scan version.  We’ll forget the pan and scan and concentrate on the widescreen version.  As far as I know this is the only version available that presents the film in its original aspect ratio (at time of writing the only other DVD available is a French pan and scan version).  The box states that it a digitally remastered version from the original negative - but I’m not so sure.  I don’t doubt that it came from the original negative but digitally remastered? It’s certainly not what I would consider to be digitally remastered (but that is such a meaning less term anyway – the very fact that it has been put on a DVD means that we are watching a digital image and so any film on DVD could be considered ‘digitally remastered’).  Don’t get me wrong, it’s certainly miles better than my VHS copy and superior than any print you’re likely to see on TV but some parts do nevertheless look a bit faded and not quite as sharp as I would have liked.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers
Audio
The audio is of the same standard as the video. We have a choice of English, Spanish or Italian - all of which are mono.  The dialogue is nice and clear and everything is easy to understand.  There’s nothing particularly wrong with the audio; it just doesn’t have any particularly commendably qualities to it either.  It’s probably as good as a 45 year old original mono track is going to get and I’m quite glad that they didn’t try to make a fancy new remix ‘cos 50s sci-fi sounds more authentic when it’s crap.

Extras
Extras wise we have a pretty basic package: A trailer and an interview with Kevin McCarthy.  I’m not sure where the interview came from.  It seems to have been made by a TV station to be shown before a screening of the movie.  It’s not particularly interesting but it’s better than nothing.

Overall we have a classic movie that has been given a lacklustre DVD release.  A film of this standard deserves so much more.


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