Citizen Rules...Cinemaesque Chat-n-Review

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Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)

Director: Don Siegel
Cast: Kevin McCarthy, Dana Wynter, Larry Gates, Carolyn Jones
Genre: Sci Fi Horror

A doctor in a small town starts hearing of complaints from his patients. They claim their loved ones have been replaced by emotionless duplicates
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This is the original 1956 version. It was good, entertainment, but not on the same level of the 1978 version. The 1956 version originally had lots of dry humor in it, but the studio executives would not allow humor in a horror film, so they ordered all the humor scenes cut. That's probably why the film is so short at only 80 minutes.

According to some who worked on the film, the story line came out of the fear of McCarthyism. No doubt the film and those associated with it would've faced black listing, had they been too overt in their commentary. One can only wonder what the film would have been like with it's dry humor scenes left intact.

With some scenes deleted, the film seems a bit odd at times. One almost gets the sense that the film wants to be like a Dr. Strangelove, and perhaps it was at one time. What we do get is stuff like: a scene where they first discover a half formed duplicate. It's laying covered up on the pool table in a home. When the doctor gets there he looks at it and the women are scared....then, they all retire to the living room for martinis! We can actually see the body laying on the table as they calmly have drinks!

Leading actor, Kevin McCarthy said it best about how the characters in the movie reacted, "lacking the curves and nuances that you often hear in the conversation of ordinary, mature men and women."

I did find this enjoyable, but don't look for it to be anything other than a cool 1950s sci fi flick. Kevin McCarthy, who would latter reprise his role in the 1978 version...was good, very good. As was Dana Wynter, his leading lady. Surprisingly Carolyn Jones (Adams Family TV series) had almost no lines in this movie. I can only guess her dry humor went to the cutting floor.

The pod effects were nicely done and so was the score. A fun film.




I wish you would I like to hear your thoughts on it. Dana Wynter is a real looker too! I watched Alien 1979 last night, I just have to get around to reviewing it.



You probably already know this but there is the original theatrical release of Alien and a Directors Cut done in 2003. I watched the theatrical release. I might watch some of the Directors Cut for a comparison...Did I already say this on the Sci Fi thread?



Registered User
Ridley Scott has talked about the two versions and he's said the theatrical cut IS the TRUE director's cut. It's also the better version.



Swan, I like the theatrical cut but are you sure it wasn't the other way around? that Ridley Scott says the Directors Cut was the true version? (I can hear him saying something like that.)



Registered User
He talks about in the pamphlet for the anthology. Director's cut, he said, is director's cut in name only.... Fox asked him to made a "longer" version with some new scenes and he obliged, but he made sure to note that he considers the original theatrical version his true vision.



OK, thanks. I would have never guessed that but I'm glad you told me. On the DVD extras he talked about the faster pacing in the Directors Cut (2003). Have you seen both versions? Do you have a preference?

I'll check back tomorrow, my dinner is just about done. Catch ya latter



Registered User
I haven't, admittedly, but that's because I can't imagine an altered version. I think if I were to throw on the "Directors Cut" version I'd immediately have to eject and replace it with the true version.

I know about some of the changes, though, like the additional scenes. They're cool on their own but yeah... Alien is perfectly paced and I feel the additions and alterations would ruin that.



Haven't watched Invasion of the Body Snatchers remake since I was a kid and caught it on some Fright Night Theater-type show. Don't remember much aside from the creepy ending keeping me up that night. Excited to rewatch it and to also check out the original version. Looking forward to your review of Alien. Ellen Ripley is one of my favorite characters in cinema.




Alien (1979)
Director: Ridley Scott
Cast: Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt, John Hurt, Veronica Cartwright, Harry Dean Stanton, Ian Holm, Yaphett Kotto
Genre: Sci Fi, Horror


The crew of the commercial tow vessel Nostromo is waken from cryogenic sleep to investigate a mysterious distress call on an unexplored planet. There they find the wreck of an alien vessel that is infested with the eggs of a
Xenomorphic alien species. As the crew heads back to Earth, they realize they're not alone. CR

This review is for the original 1979 theatrical release, there's also a Director's Cut which was released in 2003.





The Sets: At the very start of the film, the first thing we see is a long tracking shot of the detailed interior of the ship...it is an amazing shot. All the sets are stunning in this film. We're treated to many different views of the Nostromo. Each section of the ship has it's own styling and that's a big part of the appeal of Alien.



Cinematography: Ridley Scott knows how to give his films ambiance! His secret is dark subdued lighting and smoke. Ridley is famous for using lots of smoke and mist. This partially obscures the background, making the sets look like they go on forever. Low key lighting is also used and gives a shadowy dark look for a greater depth of field and adds realism to the sets. Ridley knows how to take his time with a scene, the camera is never rushed it lingers allowing us time to soak in the stunning sets.

Music Score: The score is perfection. It's eerie and spellbinding. We feel the music score but never think about it, and that's the way it should be. The score sets the mood without getting in the way of the movie.


Characters: The crew of the Nostromo are a motley crew. Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) is the lead. She's a take charge, no nonsense woman. And she's also very human and at times afraid... which makes us afraid for her. Her concern for her cat Jones adds a nice human touch.


H. R. Giger: He was the designer of the Alien creature and his work influenced the interior of the alien ship. Many movies have been influenced either directly or indirectly by this amazing artist. Sadly he died in 2014 from a fall at the age of 74.



Alien
set the bar for other sci fi horror films...After 40 years it's still amazing.

Rating




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Hey Rules, I still haven't seen Prometheus which I understand is an Alien prequel. Since you saw the prequel before the original Alien, how do you compare them? Does Prometheus even rate next to the mastery of Alien?

And if you watch them back to back, does Prometheus seem like episode 1, Alien: episode 2, Aliens: episode 3?

I just realized Alien was pre-CGI, and yet the special effects in it are nearly perfect. I'd say Alien was ahead of its time, but what came ahead of its time was CGI.

More and more I'm getting to dislike CGI as being overused and often difficult to look at. Sometimes CGI just looks like a kaleidoscope of movement and color, or like a video game. Then I look at Alien. When things seemed dark or obscure in the film, it was done on purpose for mood or effect, but when they wanted you to know what was going on, you did.



Hey Rules, I still haven't seen Prometheus which I understand is an Alien prequel. Since you saw the prequel before the original Alien, how do you compare them? Does Prometheus even rate next to the mastery of Alien?
Captain, I had watched the three Alien films prior to watching Prometheus...but it had been like a decade since seeing them. When I watched Prometheus all I knew was that it was a newer sci fi film by Ridley Scott and had some tie in to Alien. To me it didn't seem like part of the Alien franchise and certainly not like episode 1. Both the style of the film and the subject/story matter is very different than the original Alien. But it's good fun and worthy of watching.

I just realized Alien was pre-CGI, and yet the special effects in it are nearly perfect. I'd say Alien was ahead of its time, but what came ahead of its time was CGI.
I of course whole heartily agree that Alien special effects are near perfect! (I did have one qualm about a SE in Alien).

More and more I'm getting to dislike CGI as being overused and often difficult to look at. Sometimes CGI just looks like a kaleidoscope of movement and color, or like a video game. Then I look at Alien. When things seemed dark or obscure in the film, it was done on purpose for mood or effect, but when they wanted you to know what was going on, you did.
You're preaching to the choir! I so agree with all of that, which is why I don't care for modern big budget, action entertainment movies, like Mad Max: Fury Road, after 15 minutes I shut it off as it was giving me a headache.



Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?
I remember just how much the first Alien terrified me as a pre-teen. From waiting for the prior show to let out (we got there about 45 min early to get a seat) and hearing everyone screaming. Then, when it should have been all over-- more screaming.
A really great film in all aspects. The tension, the mood, the dialogue and the crew's characters and yes, Giger's influence. Became a quick fan of his Cthulhu-esque artwork. I remember hearing how his work were nightmares he'd have and the only way to stop having any specific nightmare was to paint/create them.

Great review, citizen



I remember hearing how his [Geiger] work were nightmares he'd have and the only way to stop having any specific nightmare was to paint/create them.
I hadn't heard that, but looking at his art it makes sense, it's nightmarish and yet beautiful. Glad you enjoyed my review. I'm now in the mood for Aliens and the rest of the films in the series.



Giger was an amazing artist and one of the reasons I still love revisiting Alien from time to time. If you were interested, there is a recent documentary about him. Here's the trailer:

Looks like someone posted the full documentary a few weeks ago: Dark Star: H. R. Giger's World



Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?
Excellent. I had seen one about Geiger back in the early nineties. VERY curious to see this one as well

and you are very welcome, citizen. Looking forward to reading your reviews for the rest of the Alien series