-- Dr. Miles Bennell (as played by Kevin McCarthy)
Like it or not, there was a very pronounced fear in the 1950's (in the United States) -- thanks to our elected political class -- of our mortal enemy -- the card-carrying Communist -- having had infiltrated Western Civilization. The hearings sponsored by Senator Joseph McCarthy were designed to pull the veil off of such infiltration, much of it focused on how Hollywood was secretly or not-to-secretly being coopted by those pushing the culture in a decidedly anti-American direction. While I'll dispense with casting any particular judgment on the whole affair -- a measured analysis can be produced on both sides of it, quite frankly -- it's long been insisted that Invasion didn't quite so much take sides on it but rather encouraged those who saw the film to use their own mind, their own judgment, and to be equally suspicious of those in charge.
Think what you will ... but I find that damn good advice.
The feature was an adaptation crafted by Daniel Mainwaring of a magazine serial -- "The Body Snatchers" -- penned by Jack Finney; and the project was under the direction of Don Siegel. He cast such names as Kevin McCarthy, Dana Wynter, Larry Gates, King Donovan, and Carolyn Jones to star. Here's the plot summary as provided by our friends at IMDB.com:
"A small-town doctor learns that the population of his community is being replaced by emotionless alien duplicates."
Though I rarely get into issues of budgets and the like in this space, I think it's interesting to note that Invasion was put together on a rather slim check of under $500,000 ... and then went on to gross an incredible $2.5 million in just the United States. Naturally, the profits only added up when it was released overseas, so it's a pretty sound conclusion that it was a genre success story for its day.
Also, I'd be remiss if I failed to mention that I, personally, believe that Invasion Of The Body Snatchers remains relevent even today. I've long argued that the film is easily one of the best Science Fiction properties to emerge from the 1950's -- SciFi's true Golden Era -- and deserves further study for anyone venturing into those waters now or in the future.
As always, thanks for reading ... and live long and prosper!