Invasion of the Body Snatchers
Strongly recommended. Never mind what the experts say about Communism/McCarthyism, this film/story has continuing literary relevance, eg to rightwing Evangelical and management system domination.
First watched on black-and-white, valve TV in 1960s, I think, though my memory isn't so good these days.
Apart from the word classic, there does not appear to be a word referring to film as the word literature refers to books. For the 1956 Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and many other films, there needs to be, if only to point out the quality of depth in these films and intellectual reward from viewing.
The major thrill in Invasion of the Body Snatchers comes from the deep horror, that seems to be part of human psychology, of any thing with the power to rob us of our soul. For, those who have been converted and reborn from the pods, may be uniform, good citizens, but they are minus the emotional essence, or self-direction that makes them human. Since the film was made in the USA in the 1950s, official reviews seem exclusively to put it down as expressing a fear of communist takeover. However, the same fear of loss of autonomy might equally be expressed of a 1950s McCarthy-ite anti-communist domination, or a right-wing Evangelical Christian domination, or the domination of a production line or other management system over workers.
As defines literature, the film is able to prompt thought beyond the era of its production. In the case of workers losing the soul of craft work and other authentic relations to the enforced uniformity and exploitation of many office systems today, we might say it has current relevance. What it chimes with, in the individual, is the personal experience of use, such as use in military service or work, which so far places the establishment need over the thoughts and desires of the individual, that the individual becomes a mere slave to others rather than person in their own right. But, as managers today, and the converted of the film say, it's not so bad: your life is different, not lost, and there are benefits to the new way. So, who is right, the pre- or post-converted? Maybe the question should be: who is right in particular circumstances, when and why?
Besides the interesting, and important philosophical question, the 1956 Invasion of the Body Snatchers is also rich in other features. The 1950s setting, for example, is maybe responsible for the Doctor's attitude to his patients, that their feelings cannot be right when his book-learnt, and data-not-gathered logic says otherwise. The ignorant reviewer of today might ask if doctors (and scientists) were really so lacking in scepticism regarding their knowledge as this and other 1950s films suggest, or was this just a characteristic of B-scripting? And, this review would be regarded as incomplete if the terrifying Bing Monster was not mentioned. How awful it is! For not only does it have the appearance of Bing Crosby, but it wears the same cardigans and smokes the same pipes, too! Eouw... too awful!
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