Sat, 15 October 2011
Appearances can be deceiving. On the surface, INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS is pure science fiction, the tale of seed pods from outer space that produce emotionless body doubles of each citizen in the small town of Santa Mira. Often read as an allegory of either Communism or McCarthyism, where every person who becomes "one of them" loses autonomy by willingly buying into the unthinking collective, the film in fact plumbs questions of humanity in the modern era with subtlety and nuance more common to films noir than to science fiction movies. As Dr. Miles Bennell (Kevin McCarthy) and Becky Driscoll (Dana Wynter) fight to remain human, they question the mass hysteria of the era, recognize that all appearances are misleading in a mass media culture, and discuss how we lose our humanity in times of social dislocation. Director Don Siegal, screenwriter Daniel Mainwaring and producer Walter Wanger draw on their extensive experience in creating iconic films noir to craft a movie that self-consciously adopts a noir style and noir thematics whenever the stakes are high, demonstrating in the process that noir is ideally suited to addressing human questions in the years following WWII, when retaining our humanity in spite of technological progress is precisely what is in question.