The War of the Worlds

The War of the Worlds

Gene Barry
Director: Byron Haskin Cast: Gene Barry
Gene Barry
, Ann Robinson
Ann Robinson
, Les Tremayne
Les Tremayne
Byron Haskin
The War of the Worlds

The War of the Worlds

Gene Barry
Director: Byron Haskin Cast: Gene Barry
Gene Barry
, Ann Robinson
Ann Robinson
, Les Tremayne
Les Tremayne
Byron Haskin

Blu-ray (Color)

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H.G. Wells's War of the Worlds had been on the Paramount Pictures docket since the silent era, when it was optioned as a potential Cecil B. DeMille production. When Paramount finally got around to a filming the Wells novel, the property was firmly in the hands of special-effects maestro George Pal. Like Orson Welles's infamous 1938 radio adaptation, the film eschews Wells's original Victorian England setting for a contemporary American locale, in this case Southern California. A meteorlike object crash-lands near the small town of Linda Rosa. Among the crowd of curious onlookers is Pacific Tech scientist Gene Barry, who strikes up a friendship with Ann Robinson, the niece of local minister Lewis Martin. Because the meteor is too hot to approach at present, Barry decides to wait a few days to investigate, leaving three townsmen to guard the strange, glowing object. Left alone, the three men decide to approach the meterorite, and are evaporated for their trouble. It turns out that this is no meteorite, but an invading spaceship from the planet Mars. The hideous-looking Martians utilize huge, mushroomlike flying ships, equipped with heat rays, to pursue the helpless earthlings. When the military is called in, the Martians demonstrate their ruthlessness by "zapping" Ann's minister uncle, who'd hoped to negotiate a peaceful resolution to the standoff. As Barry and Ann seek shelter, the Martians go on a destructive rampage. Nothing-not even an atom-bomb blast-can halt the Martian death machines. The film's climax occurs in a besieged Los Angeles, where Barry fights through a crowd of refugees and looters so that he may be reunited with Ann in Earth's last moments of existence. In the end, the Martians are defeated not by science or the military, but by bacteria germs-or, to quote H.G. Wells, "the humblest things that God in his wisdom has put upon the earth." Forty years' worth of progressively improving special effects have not dimmed the brilliance of George Pal's War of the Worlds. Even on television, Pal's Oscar-winning camera trickery is awesome to behold. So indelible an impression has this film made on modern-day sci-fi mavens that, when a 1988 TV version of War of the Worlds was put together, it was conceived as a direct sequel to the 1953 film, rather than a derivation of the Wells novel or the Welles radio production.

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Product Details

Release Date: 07/07/2020
UPC: 0715515248617
Original Release: 1953
Source: Criterion Collection
Region Code: A
Presentation: [Color]
Time: 1:25:00
Sales rank: 8,506

Special Features

New 4k digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack; New alternate 5.1 surround soundtrack, created by Sound Designer Ben Burtt and presented in DTS-HD Master Audio; Audio Commentary from 2005 featuring filmmaker Joe Dante, film historian Bob Burns, and author Bill Warren; Movie Archaeologists, a new program on the film's visual and sound effects featuring Burtt and Visual-Effects Supervisor Craig Barron; From the Archive, a new program about the film's restoration featuring Barron, Burtt, and Paramount Pictures archivist Andrea Kalas; Audio interview with Producer George Pal from 1970; The Sky Is Falling, a 2005 documentary about the making of the film; The Mercury Theatre on the Air radio play of The War of the Worlds from 1938, adapted by Howard Koch and Directed and Narrated by Orson Welles; Radio program from 1940 featuring a discussion between Welles and H.G. Wells, author of the 1897 novel The War of the Worlds; Trailer; English Subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing; Plus: An essay by film critic J. Hoberman

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Gene Barry Dr. Clayton Forrester
Ann Robinson Sylvia Van Buren
Les Tremayne Gen. Mann
Lewis Martin Pastor Matthew Collins
Henry Brandon Cop
Robert Cornthwaite Dr. Pryor
Sandro Giglio Dr. Bilderbeck
Jack Kruschen Salvatore
Paul H. Frees Radio Announcer
William Phipps Wash Perry
Vernon Rich Col. Ralph Heffner
Cedric Hardwicke Commentary
Eric Alden Man
Hugh Allen Brigadier General
Russ Bender Dr. Carmichael
Hazel Boyne Screaming Woman
Cliff Clark Australian Policeman
Edward Colmans Spanish Priest
Jimmie Dundee Civil Defense Official
Al Ferguson Police Chief
Frank Freeman Bum
Nancy Hale Young Wife
Virginia Hall Actor
Jerry James Reporter
Don Kohler Colonel
Rudy Lee Actor
Mike Mahoney Young Man
John Mansfield Actor
Joel Marston MP
John Maxwell Doctor
David McMahon Minister
Bill Meader P.E. Official
Ralph Montgomery Red Cross Leader
Jamesson Shade Deacon
Cora Shannon Old Woman
Dorothy Vernon Elderly Woman
Bud Wolfe Big Man
Fred Zendar Marine Lieutenant
Morton C. Thompson Actor
Gus Taillon Elderly Man
Stanley Orr Marine Major
Jim Davies Marine Commanding Officer
Dick Fortune Marine Captain
Ned Glass Well-dressed Man During Looting
Ann Codee Dr. DuPrey
Frank Kreig Fiddler Hawkins
Paul Birch Alonzo Hogue
Edgar Barrier Prof. McPherson
Ralph Dumke Buck Monahan
Carolyn Jones Bird-Brained Blonde
Walter Sande Sheriff Bogany
Teru Shimada Japanese Diplomat
Charles Gemora Martian
Freeman Lusk Secretary of Defense
Alex Frazer Dr. James
Ted Hecht KGEB Reporter
George Pal Bum #1 listening to radio
Robert Rockwell Ranger
Peter Adams Lookout
Sydney Mason Fire Chief
Anthony Warde M.P. Officer
Alvy Moore Zippy
David Sharpe Looter
Dale Van Sickel Looter
Fred Graham Looter
Douglas Henderson Staff Sergeant
Herbert Lytton Chief of Staff
Pierre Cressoy Man
Houseley Stevenson General's Aide
Russ Conway Rev. Bethany
Ivan Lebedeff Dr. Gratzman
Gertrude W. Hoffman News Vendor

Technical Credits
Byron Haskin Director
George Barnes Cinematographer
Chesley Bonestell Special Effects
Ivyl Burks Special Effects
Mushy Callahan Stunts
Sam Comer Set Decoration/Design
Everett Douglas Editor
Frank Freeman Associate Producer
Fred Graham Stunts
Edith Head Costumes/Costume Designer
Walter Hoffman Special Effects
Gordon Jennings Special Effects
Emile Kuri Set Decoration/Design
Paul K. Lerpae Special Effects
Barré Lyndon Screenwriter
Michael D. Moore Asst. Director
Albert Nozaki Art Director
George Pal Producer
Hal Pereira Art Director
Irmin Roberts Special Effects
David Sharpe Stunts
Leith Stevens Score Composer
Dale Van Sickel Stunts
Wally Westmore Makeup

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