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Science Fiction - The War of the Worlds

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Gene Barry, Ann Robinson
Produced by George Pal
Paramount 1952
85 minutes

War Of The Worlds is one of the great science fiction movies of the fifties opens thus: “In the first world war and for the first time in the history of man, nations combined to fight against nations using the crude weapons of those days. The Second World War involved every continent on the globe, and men turned to science for new devices of warfare which reached an unparalleled peak in their capacity for destruction. And now, fought with the terrible weapons of super-science, menacing all mankind and every creature on the Earth comes the War of the Worlds.” This is the kind of movie even born again Christians will enjoy as it shows how science is useless and only prayer will vanquish these aliens. Gene Barry plays Doctor Clayton Forrester a scientist whose job is to run around and give scientific explanations as the Martians destroy California and the world. Ann Robinson is the lead’s female interest and her job is to look scared and scream even though she is supposed to be a college graduate. All fifties B movie stuff aside, this is a pretty good adaptation of the H.G. Wells novel and the special effects are pretty decent for the time.What makes The War of the Worlds interesting is the very art deco spaceships and alien cameras. There is also a glimpse of one of the Martians when Doctor Forrester is trapped in Robinson’s house. You get only a glimpse but there is definitely something E.T. like about the creature aside from the 3 different colored eyes. Yes, this science fiction classic does, to a modern viewer, suffer from gender stereotypes and some hackney dialogue, although Ann Robinson’s comment on the Doctor’s fishing lure at the beginning can be taken both ways – this is great fun to watch.

Richard Lanoie

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