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The War of the Worlds

The War of the Worlds
Director: Byron Haskin
Writers: H.G. Wells(novel), Barré Lyndon(screenplay)
Cast: Gene Barry, Ann Robinson, Les Tremayne
Genre: Sci-Fi

Producer George Pal
set the bar for big budget, sci-fi special effects over 60 years ago with his 1953 film version of the classic novel by H.G. Wells, The War or the Worlds. When the movie hit the theaters, the reputation of the classic sci-fi story was already well known.

In 1897, H.G. Wells, a young English writer took the literary world by storm with his imaginative and moralistic sci-fi stories. Many of his novels have been made into movies: Island of the Lost Souls (1932), The Invisible Man (1933), Things to Come (1936) The Time Machine (1960) to name a few.

On Halloween eve, October 30, 1938 the classic story was reintroduced to frightened audiences in a dramatized radio broadcast by none other than Orson Welles.

When the 1950's rolled around, another respected giant in the world of sci-fi, George Pal, once again brought the classic story to the big screen. George Pal had already made such amazing special effects films as: When Worlds Collide (1950) and Destination Moon (1950), but he topped them all with his cutting edge, technicolor version of The War of the Worlds.

The producer George Pal wisely chose to cast complete unknowns in his film. As he wanted the focus to be on the Martians and not on Hollywood stars. The two leads are excellent at giving us a human connection to the film.

What makes this movie special, is the special effects. For the first time audiences seen Martians who looked like they could be real beings from another world. The alien ships were not only menacing but very realistic looking, in by today's standards.

At only 90 minutes there's not a lot of story deposition or character arcs. This is about people fleeing for their lives...and hoping to destroy an advanced alien invasion, that seems unstoppable.

And it works! The film still holds up well today.