Mars Attacks 50's Style
The days of wishing I was older are long gone but occasionally I will watch an old movie and wish I had been born before it came out. One of those movies is 1950's sci-fi drama "Invaders from Mars" because watching it now for the first time it is corny but I am sure if I had seen it as a child back in 1953 I would have loved it. We are talking typical 50s sci-fi here from flying saucer shaped UFOs to green aliens with ray guns and an ability to control people's minds yet there is still something entertaining about it. But at the same time it is dated and cheesy not just in the visual effects department but also in the way so much information gets spoon-fed us.
Having set his alarm to wake him up in the middle of night to do some star gazing young David MacLean (Jimmy Hunt) gets a shock when he sees a glowing UFO land in the sand pit not far from his home. When his father George (Leif Erickson - Abbott and Costello Meet Captain Kidd) goes to investigate he comes back a changed man and David realises he's not the only one as he notices other people from the Police Chief to his mum turning strange. Fortunately David finds allies in the pretty Dr. Pat Blake (Helena Carter - Bugles in the Afternoon) and space fanatic Dr. Stuart Kelston (Arthur Franz) who believing what he tells them calls in the military to help as more people start getting taken over.
So "Invaded from Mars" is typical 1950s sci-fi from look to story with Alien visitors arriving with evil plans and to be honest there is nothing wrong with that. As I said if I had been a child watching this back in 1953 I would have loved it with its mix of sci-fi story and action. And all the talk of space as we have David and Dr. Kelston talking about various distances between planets and earth, UFO sightings and much more would have definitely been fascinating. In fact when it comes to the green men from out of space I wouldn't have even noticed the flaps on the back of the costumes to cover the zippers.
But that is the thing, I never saw "Invaded from Mars" as a child and watching it for the first time as an adult it has understandably dated quite poorly with things like the zippers really standing out. Even when you take its age into consideration and the ingenuity such as using condoms to create a bubbly wall surface it doesn't stop it from often feeling cheesy. Now I am not on about the occasional "gee whiz" or "holy mackerel" which litter the inoffensive dialogue but the general spoon feeding of information. There is that lengthy scene between David, Kelston and Blake where they basically throw in a lot of facts into the dialogue which have no place being there and it makes it very false and kind of patronising. But then we have all the scenes of the military from the ill fitting stock footage of tanks being loaded onto trains to Col. Fielding declaring war on the aliens.
What this all boils down to is that "Invaders from Mars" is a typical 1950s sci-fi flick which for some will be a trip back to their childhood whilst for others an entertaining but cheesy sci-fi flick. I am in the second group and found it more entertaining for now being cheesy but I am sure if I was a child who saw this in 1953 I would still love it.