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PostPosted: Tue Dec 26, 2006 9:29 am 
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What a perfect fucking sci-fi film, this film-- operates perfectly on all levels of allegory and scare-the-snot-out-the-little-kids (and adults.. I love that cuckoo clock). A+ in all departments.. script, performance, camera moves (and noirish cinematog in gen) and tense mise en scene.

Coincidentally it'd been way too long since I'd seen the film, and-- giving up on the wait for an anamorphic update and a genuine open matte 1:33-1 fullscreen (the orig OAR that the film was photographed for) option, I went for the Republic JUST THIS SUNDAY AFTERNOON while picking up a FORBIDDEN PLANET tin-box Ultimate ed. for an electrician here... suddenly the thing was staring me in the face, and I rarely see it on shelves, so I chomped.

For a non-anamorphic transfer, and considering the age-- it's not all that bad. Masterpiece. Actually what pisses me off most about the disc even more than the lack of anamorphic lensing is that 1:33/1 option on the bottom of the flipper. All they did is chop the sides off of the chopped-top widescreen to hem it to academy shape. It is by no means open matte full neg. Which sucks-- missing tons of screen info on this option, rather than reacquiring the top & bottom lost in the widescreen cropping.

God save Don Seigel.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 26, 2006 12:35 pm 
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I just hope that the upcoming Universal DVD is not the same as the recent Kinowelt release in Germany: DVD Beaver comparison The Kinowelt is cropped even deeper to 2.15:1 which is even more detrimental. I used to think that the film was shot in and composed for 1.37:1, but I now think that it was probably composed for 1.75 or 1.85, but certainly not 2:1. It looks like most shot have headroom, but that it has been overmatted at 2:1, so if there was an open-matte negative or fine-grain master positive, it would look better at 1.78:1 on DVD. The Kinowelt is non-anamorphic, just like the R1 Republic. It must be a question of whether the original camera negative still exists, who owns it and which ratio it is in. With a little imagination, one can see that this was a beautifully photographed film with great sets by Ted Howarth.

Dave Kajganich's new adaptation, directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel (Downfall) due out next summer might pave the way for a R1 SE edition tie-in, but I'll be interested in seeing the Universal transfer.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 26, 2006 12:51 pm 
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BTW, as much as I love Siegel's film, I do love W.D. Richter and Phil Kaufman's 1978 film a wee bit more. Whatever happened to W.D. Richter? Those three adaptation of classic horror/sci-fi: Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Dracula, The Thing are superb, though Dracula would have been more powerful with different casting and a director more tuned into the themes of the story. But Richter seemed to drift away from filmmaking in the late 80s, which is a shame, as he is undoubtedly a brilliant writer.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 26, 2006 4:41 pm 
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Gordon wrote:
Whatever happened to W.D. Richter?

Don't tell me you missed this masterpiece!


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 26, 2006 4:56 pm 
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Jeff wrote:
Gordon wrote:
Whatever happened to W.D. Richter?

Don't tell me you missed this masterpiece!

:D ... I missed that one, however (and I never thought I would be discussing it around here), I did manage to see The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across The Eigth Dimension during its brief three day run at a local theatre back when I was a kid. The promotional campaign on TV was quite enthusiastic, and I sure was not disappointed -- I mean this flick had a punk-rock musician/super-surgeon/daredevil racecar driver as its main character, tons of creepy-crawly aliens with dreadlocks and suction-cup fingers, as well as John Lithgow going completely ape as the mad-scientist-earthling engineering an invasion of earth from inside the 8th-dimension universe of a tabletop. I am sure this one had a little to do with Mr. Richter's subsequent hiatus from filmmaking.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 26, 2006 5:35 pm 
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Buckaroo Banzai is a lot of fun - Lithgow is out the window!


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 26, 2006 7:44 pm 
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Gordon wrote:
Dave Kajganich's new adaptation, directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel (Downfall) due out next summer might pave the way for a R1 SE edition tie-in, but I'll be interested in seeing the Universal transfer.

they're making another one? so how many re-makes is this now? the worst one, however, has to be Abel Ferrara's piece of shit "The Body Snatchers." It'll be interesting to see how Hirschenbiegel will do it (Downfall was pretty amazing)... but do we really need another one? (especially when the first two are classics)


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 26, 2006 9:15 pm 
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I, too was shocked to see that a new version was being ground out in Hollywood, but it does interest me to a degree, mostly in what its style will be and what kind of interesting changes and additions will be made. Richter's reworking is ingenious and Phil Kaufman and cinematographer Michael Chapman (Taxi Driver) crafted a beautifully dark visual design for the film and the performances are all wonderful and Danny Zeitlin's unusual score is amazing. But the idea of Nicole Kidman in any film these days isn't very appealing. It just seems like every household-name sci-fi classic is being remade by Hollywood with a megastar and it is all getting very
tiresome.

Robert Redford owns the rights to Finney's amazing and unique illustrated time-travel novel, Time and Again (1970), but there has never been any word of him developing it.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 27, 2006 1:01 am 
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I find every remake of INVASION a rank klunker-- they're all unwatchable to me. Gordo's cheering of the '78 might trigger a passing rental glance if found, but I have that vague nausea of Bad Classic Remake Viewing-Memory attached to the last time I saw the film.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 27, 2006 9:43 am 
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Nah, the '78 adaptation of Finney's novel is a wonderfully crafted piece of 70s sci-fi and the ending still packs a helluva wallop. Phil Kaufman's commentary on the DVD is also very interesting.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 27, 2006 9:51 am 
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Something very interesting and more pertinent to Siegel's film, is that the orifginal preview cut had quite a lot of humour and went over a storm, but then cuts were made and the prologue and epilogue added.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 27, 2006 11:14 pm 
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Gordon wrote:
Nah, the '78 adaptation of Finney's novel is a wonderfully crafted piece of 70s sci-fi and the ending still packs a helluva wallop. Phil Kaufman's commentary on the DVD is also very interesting.

I too must add my appreciation for the 78 movie. When I was a kid, I saw it not long after seeing the Siegel version (which was a very fun movie), and, even though this was in the middle of the afternoon, its paranoia was so palpable that the tension had me gripping the couch until my fingers were white. I consequently recommended it to every kid at school.

Subsequent viewings have held up. It is by far the most paranoia-soaked movie I have ever seen. I think its only draw back is a rather unnecessarily graphic special effects sequence involving pod-mutation. Otherwise, it's solid and, most remarkably, patient filmmaking.

Gordon wrote:
the ending still packs a helluva wallop.

What makes it so effective is not just the fact that you don't see it coming, but that the image it morphs into is so deeply disturbing; and the silence that follows as the credits role forces you to deal with all of those unpleasant feelings by yourself in silence.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 28, 2006 4:57 am 
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I'm going to stick up for the 1993 version - not that I think anyone should prefer it to the '56 or '78 versions, but in its own right it's a very effective piece of work.

That said, I must be one of the tiny handful of people who had a chance to see it on the big screen in its full Panavision glory - I don't believe it ever got much of a theatrical release.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 28, 2006 2:10 pm 
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MichaelB wrote:
I'm going to stick up for the 1993 version - not that I think anyone should prefer it to the '56 or '78 versions, but in its own right it's a very effective piece of work.

Same here, and I still haven't seen a widescreen version of it. I particularly liked the scene with the boy walking into his mother's room after a nightmare only to see her crumble into dust before his eyes and the new, completely naked, version walk out of the closet!

The other big addition Ferrara's film made was the girl falling asleep in the bath and having the tendrils from the pod approach her, with her only being saved when the flimsy ceiling caves in under the weight of her clone dumping it into the bath on top of her! Brilliantly nightmarish and great additions to the other body snatchers films - the bath holding horrible things is a staple of horror from Shivers to Nightmare on Elm Street, and I think the poster and scene from the recent film Slither makes a reference back to these kind of 'falling asleep in bathtub while something creeps up on you' films!

I'd agree that it is the least of the three versions so far, but is still interesting. Perhaps it is the military personnel as clones theme which seems too obvious compared to the communist paranoia and alienation themes of the other two films, and perhaps the slight hope offered by the 'kill-em-all' ending which seems at odds both with an anti-military message and the incredibly bleak 70s film.

Thinking of the last film set in a closed off environment of a military base makes me wonder if there is room for a new body snatchers film dealing with these 'gated communities' I hear a lot about. There might be a good opportunity there for another social commentary about how most people in these communities would never communicate with their neighbours enough to know anything was wrong, or they are too busy travelling outside of the neighbourhood to work. You could maybe have the pod people targeting these areas to clone the more influential people, leaving the inner city or urban areas alone at first. Maybe you could twist the idea of privileged people supporting the poor or homeless through soup kitchens, shelters or donations by having this be used as a way of getting people cloned in one big bunch! Maybe end it with a poor-but-human vs privileged-but-alien riot!

Gordon wrote:
Nah, the '78 adaptation of Finney's novel is a wonderfully crafted piece of 70s sci-fi and the ending still packs a helluva wallop. Phil Kaufman's commentary on the DVD is also very interesting.

I remember watching this the day after Moviedrome showed it on BBC2 in the early 90s, and my dad coming into the room just at the 'point and scream' ending. I don't think he ever forgave me for having it on just at the point he came in, and it was probably the first time my parents started having considerable doubts about my mental state that let me watch such things!

Only compounded by them accidentally seeing the opening sequence of head/floor interface in Wild At Heart (I think that confirmed their suspicions!)


Last edited by colinr0380 on Sun Feb 27, 2011 9:43 am, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 28, 2006 2:59 pm 
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I haven't seen the 1993 film, but does intrigue me somewhat. What are its unique points, plot-wise or stylistically that sets it apart from the previous films? Is it very violent? The 1978 film does indeed have a very violent sequence when Donald Sutherland destroys his doppelganger, but otherwise, it is a very tasteful and indeed patient film - Chapman's photography in particular is very impressive. Almost everyone who worked on the film had never worked on a sci-fi film before - Chapman and the production designers, Charles Rosen and Doug von Koss had worked on gritty films like Blast of Silence, Taxi Driver, The Conversation. Fresh from Star Wars, sound designer Ben Burtt made an immense contribution to the film, which is one of the early landmarks in soundscaping and the film is filled with weird sounds - all in Dolby stereo, too, which was still a novelty at the time (Lisztomania was the first).


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 28, 2006 3:10 pm 
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Gordon wrote:
I haven't seen the 1993 film, but does intrigue me somewhat. What are its unique points, plot-wise or stylistically that sets it apart from the previous films? Is it very violent?

It has been a while since I've seen it (so there's probably something really gruesome I've forgotten!) but I don't really remember it being too violent, I don't remember anything like Sutherland sticking the rake into his doppleganger's chest. The scenes which stuck out for me are tension filled, such as the girl in the bath, or psychologically violent, such as the boy screaming out 'Mommy!' over and over as he watches her disintegrate.

Plot-wise I remember it being very confined, especially compared to the other two - you don't get much information beyond what is happening on the base, although there is the usual shot of trucks being loaded up with pods for transport to the outside world. I think there is also a bookending voiceover from the girl introducing and closing out the film. It starts with her family - father, brother, (soon to be wicked!) step-mother - driving to the base when her dad gets a new job there, so there is a bit of an 'outsider' theme, and the film does concern itself with how the family unit breaks down as people get transformed and you don't know who to trust. There is also if I remember correctly a sub-plot about the father having an affair. The voiceover then returns to provide a bit of hope at the end. I guess this could be seen as the 'teen' version of the earlier, adult-centred, films with the girl finding herself having to sever ties from her family to move on with her own life with her boyfriend.

I think MichaelB was right to point out the widescreen aspect of the film, since it is one of those films that uses the whole screen, and I always got the impression, even watching the cut down to 1.85:1 ratio TV showings, that I was missing a lot of details. Again, I'm not sure, but I seem to remember a lot of split diopter lens shots, where both the foreground and background are in focus at the same time.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 28, 2006 3:36 pm 
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The 1993 version may well be Abel Ferrara's least violent film. I haven't seen it since it came out (if I remember rightly, I caught a festival screening), but I honestly don't recall anything particularly graphic - what struck me was how well he managed to sustain a mood of flesh-crawling creepiness.

Colinr0380 has already mentioned some of the better set-pieces, but I'll always remember the children's art class, where all but one of the kids produces an identical piece which looks like something Jackson Pollock might create after a particularly troubled night.

Again, I'm relying on 13-year-old memories here, but I seem to recall that the high points were almost entirely in the film's first half and it lost its way quite significantly after that - largely because it fell back on what was essentially a retread of the last half-hour of the 1956 film. But there were certainly enough genuinely memorable moments to make it worth defending.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 28, 2006 3:41 pm 
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MichaelB wrote:
I'll always remember the children's art class, where all but one of the kids produces an identical piece which looks like something Jackson Pollock might create after a particularly troubled night.

Oh yes, and the kid looking around at the others and then back at his stick figure picture with a 'what the hell?' expression as the teacher looks disapprovingly at him!


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2007 7:38 pm 
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Hirschbiegel's The Invasion is in the can... but this seems like a complete reworking of the original.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2007 11:48 pm 
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kinjitsu wrote:
Hirschbiegel's The Invasion is in the can... but this seems like a complete reworking of the original.

There are a disturbing amount of little kids in movies that hold the key to everything. Just once I would like to see every adult assume the kid is the only answer only to find out they were actually making a really stupid assumption, and then fail.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2007 5:28 am 
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Mr_sausage wrote:
There are a disturbing amount of little kids in movies that hold the key to everything. Just once I would like to see every adult assume the kid is the only answer only to find out they were actually making a really stupid assumption, and then fail.

interesting idea... I may have to steal this from you


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2007 10:24 am 
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Mr_sausage wrote:
There are a disturbing amount of little kids in movies that hold the key to everything. Just once I would like to see every adult assume the kid is the only answer only to find out they were actually making a really stupid assumption, and then fail.

Yeah, that's one of the most annoying devices in modern Cinema. When did this start? A child saves the day! Never happens in real life - well, children sometimes save lives in fires and whatnot, but in High Concept movie situations, only an adult scriptwriter might solve those more taxing dilemmas.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2007 8:05 pm 
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Mr_sausage wrote:
There are a disturbing amount of little kids in movies that hold the key to everything. Just once I would like to see every adult assume the kid is the only answer only to find out they were actually making a really stupid assumption, and then fail.

How about in Joseph Losey's film The Damned? There the well meaning adults trying to save the kids are making a big mistake!


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2007 9:49 pm 
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HerrSchreck wrote:
what a perfect fucking sci-fi film, this film-- operates perfectly on all levels of allegory and scare-the-snot-out-the-little-kids (and adults.. I love that cuckoo clock). A+ in all departments.. script, performance, camera moves (and noirish cinematog in gen) and tense mise en scene.

Coincidentally it'd been way too long since I'd seen the film, and-- giving up on the wait for an anamorphic update and a genuine open matte 1:33-1 fullscreen (the orig OAR that the film was photographed for) option

I might be wrong about this but I'm pretty sure the movie was shot 1.37 for potential 1.75 masking theatrically. (ideally a new DVD would give us both ARs.) BUT the dreaded Superscope process was used by Republic (the poverty row VistaVision) - this used an ana 1.5 squeeze on the original 35mm image, then a blowup and crop to yield a 2.00:1 masked image. The first movie given this treatment was Vera Cruz at the end of 1954, although it, like a number of other "superscoped titles including Sternberg's Jet Pilot (shot in 1950 released in 57) was actually remasked to 1.85, not 2.00.

But I certainly recall discussion about a new theatrical print in either 1.75 or 1.85 of the Siegel on a_film_by last year.

I also like the Kaufman 78 version, but the Siegel's in a class of its own.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2007 2:39 am 
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colinr0380 wrote:
Mr_sausage wrote:
There are a disturbing amount of little kids in movies that hold the key to everything. Just once I would like to see every adult assume the kid is the only answer only to find out they were actually making a really stupid assumption, and then fail.

How about in Joseph Losey's film The Damned? There the well meaning adults trying to save the kids are making a big mistake!

Or how about adding two more words to the above film--

VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED. Now those were some fucked up little kids, with some innaresting assumptions in the process. (Not least of which from the husbands of the mysteriously knocked-up women who ultimately gave birth to them... Our Lady of the Assumption..)


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