United Artists at 90 Short Film Competition

Invasion of the Body Snatchers

Directed by Don Siegel

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) is based on the novel The Body Snatchers by Jack Finney (originally serialized in Colliers Magazine in 1954). The film has been remade three times and has been selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry.



Set in the fictional town of Santa Mira, California, the plot centers on Dr. Miles Bennell, a local doctor, who finds a rash of patients accusing their loved ones of being impostors. Another patient is a former sweetheart of his; recent divorcee Becky Driscoll, who tells him that her cousin has this same strange fear. Assured at first by the town psychiatrist Dr. Dan Kaufman that the cases are nothing but "epidemic mass hysteria," Bennell soon discovers, with the help of his friend Jack Belicec, that the townspeople are in fact being replaced by simulations grown from plantlike pods; perfect physical duplicates who kill and dispose of their human victims. The Pod People are indistinguishable from normal people, except for their utter lack of emotion. The pod people work together to secretly spread more pods—which grew from "seeds drifting through space for years"—in order to replace the entire human race. Bennell and Driscoll attempt to escape the pod people and warn the rest of humanity.



Director

Don Siegel



Writers

Novel: Jack Finney

Screenplay: Daniel Mainwaring

Unaccredited: Richard Collins



Cast

Kevin McCarthy … Dr. Miles J. Bennell

Dana Wynter … Becky Driscoll

King Donovan … Jack Belicec

Carolyn Jones … Theodora 'Teddy' Belicec

Larry Gates … Dr. Dan 'Danny' Kauffman

Jean Willes … Nurse Sally Withers

Ralph Dumke … Police Chief Nick Grivett

Virginia Christine … Wilma Lentz

Tom Fadden … Uncle Ira Lentz

Kenneth Patterson … Stanley Driscoll

Guy Way … Officer Sam Janzek

Eileen Stevens … Anne Grimaldi

Beatrice Maude … Grandma Driscoll

Jean Andren … Eleda Lentz

Bobby Clark … Jimmy Grimaldi

Everett Glass … Dr. Ed Pursey

Dabbs Greer … Mac Lomax

Pat O'Malley … Baggage man

Guy Rennie … Restaurant owner

Marie Selland … Martha Lomax

Sam Peckinpah … Charlie (meter reader)

Harry J. Vejar … Pod carrier in Miles' office

Trivia

  • The tunnel scene where the hero hides briefly from the townspeople was filmed at Bronson Cave in Griffith Park, famous with locals as the Bat Cave
  • Only $15,000 of the budget was spent on special effects
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