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(aka 'Sleep No More' or 'They Came from Another World' or 'Walter Wanger's Invasion of the Body Snatchers')

Directed by Don Siegel
USA 19
56

 

There's something strange going on in Santa Mira. Children don't recognize their parents. Husbands have become estranged from their wives. Mass hysteria? Mass alienation more likely. Dr Kevin McCarthy discovers the secret: pod people are colonizing the earth, taking human form but dispensing with the soul. Shot in just 19 days, Siegel's economical adaptation of a Jack Finney story (script by Daniel Mainwaring of Out of the Past fame) is one of the most resonant sci-fi movies, and one of the simplest. It has been interpreted as an allegory against McCarthyism, though it could equally stand as anti-Communist. (In his book A Siegel Film, the director has nothing to say on the matter.) It's still a chilling picture, gaining over Phil Kaufman's smart remake by virtue of its intimate small town setting, and it has one of the greatest endings ever filmed. Too bad the studio insisted on adding a lame bookend framing device and voice-over narration to diffuse it.

Excerpt from TimeOut Film Guide located HERE

 

Any screenwriting consultant would include Invasion of the Body Snatchers as a great example of a classic 50's sci-fi film.

 

Posters

Theatrical Release: February 5th, 1956

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 Comparison:

Republic Pictures (Full Screen and Widescreen) - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Kinowelt - Region 2, 8 - PAL vs. Olive Films - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 
1) Republic Pictures (Full Screen) - Region 1 - NTSC LEFT
2) Kinowelt - Region 2, 8 - PAL- MIDDLE

3) Olive Film - Region FREE - Blu-ray RIGHT

 

Box Cover

   

 

Distribution Republic Pictures - Region 1 - NTSC Kinowelt - Region 2,8 - PAL Olive Films - Region FREE - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:20:03  1:16:48 (4% PAL Speedup)  1:20:40.836 
Video 1,33 + 1.9:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.44 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s  
2.15:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 8.76 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

2.00:1 - 1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 14,709,338,435 bytes

Feature: 14,545,465,344 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 22.00 Mbps

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:  Republic Full Screen

Bitrate: Republic Widescreen

Bitrate: Kinowelt Widescreen

Bitrate: Blu-ray

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), DUBs: Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), Italian (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)  English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), DUB: German (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono) DTS-HD Master Audio English 843 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 843 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit)
Subtitles English, Spanish, French, None German, None None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Republic Pictures

Aspect Ratio:
Aspect Ratios 1:1.33 + 1.9:1

Edition Details:

• Special interview with 'Kevin McCarthy'
• 'Pan and scan' 1.33:1 version on opposite side of the disc

4-page liner notes with photos and description

DVD Release Date: July 1st, 1998

Keep Case
Chapters: 25

Release Information:
Studio: Kinowelt

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 2.15:1

Edition Details:

• Don Siegel text bio in German only

DVD Release Date: October 2nd, 2006

Transparent Keep Case
Chapters: 12

Release Information:
Studio: Olive Films

Aspect Ratio:

2.00:1 - 1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 14,709,338,435 bytes

Feature: 14,545,465,344 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 22.00 Mbps

Edition Details:

• None

Blu-ray Release Date: July 17th, 2012
Standard Blu-ray Case inside cardboard slipcase
Chapters: 8
 

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Olive Films - Region FREE - Blu-ray - June 12':  Modest technical transfer from Olive but the 1080P improvement is very evident. Nice to see the SuperScope 2.0:1 AR used. Contrast and detail improve and it shows a shade more information - beside the widescreen Republic SD - as well as less artefacts/noise and the Olive print seems much cleaner (perhaps Terranex'd) than the Kinowelt. Predictably no extras - but the audio is lossless in original mono and still exports some deep bass in the Carmen Dragon score. This Blu-ray has put aside my fears of a 1.78:1 bastardized ratio and the image and audio absolutely show improvement. There was an outside chance at some supplements - but no dice. Easily this Olive Blu-ray is the definitive edition for Home Theater presentation of the essential sci-fi classic. Strongly recommended!

NOTE From Bruce: "Body Snatchers per your note - it was never composed for 1.33. It was, in fact, composed for 1.85 but it was released as Superscope in 2.0, which angered Don Siegel, the director. "

***

ADDITION - Kinowelt PAL - Oct 06': Well the new Kinowelt DVD of this classic film is not in the originally composed full screen ratio of 1.33, but certainly ever wider than the theatrical superscope 2:1 and shows much more information on the sides than the old Republic widescreen release. Unfortunately, it is still not anamorphic, but it is progressive, dual-layered and taken from the appropriate converted standard. It appears to show the same damage marks as the NTSC but they become more prevalent as this PAL edition has had contrast boosting (both black levels and brightness appear boosted). It is dirtier and some scenes are blown out. The Republic print is smoother and in my opinion looks superior.

NOTE: I don't think this film was framed in the same 1.33 ratio that is shown on the B side of the Republic DVD, which looks like a cross between pan and scan and Open Matte. We may never see the film framed in the ratio that Siegel intended, although I hope one day it is digitally available.

I am not particularly sensitive to PAL speedup (supposedly about 10% of people are) but I was fully aware of the higher pitch of Kevin McCarthy's voice through viewing the Kinowelt. It is possible I was cognoscent of it as I have watched the film so many times - I'm not sure.

Overall, it was interesting to see the film in even a wider ratio than theatrically intended, but not being anamorphic and having no real supplements (In English) I can't say I recommend it. Let's keep our fingers crossed and maybe one day we will be rewarded.

***

If ever a film deserves updating on DVD it's the original Invasion of the Body Snatchers. This Republic Pictures edition, the only one available in its theatrical superscope ratio of 2.0:1 (improperly labeled as 2.35 on the box), came out way back in 1998 and appears to be out of print in many online locations. (Note: There is a French Montparnasse region 2 PAL DVD edition which is listed as 4:3). This DVD was actually quite advanced for it's time with the 1.33:1 cropped ratio on one side and the widescreen version on the opposite. Unfortunately the widescreen is non-anamorphic and exhibits quite a few artifacts. It utilizes only 3.55 Gig of a 4.75 Gig single-layered disc. The transfer is progressive, and certainly watchable, but far from how much better it could look if done with today's updated digital rendering technology.

NOTE: Invasion of the Body Snatchers was originally composed for 1.33:1, but was cropped to 2:1 for SuperScope upon release.

There are some DUB and subtitle options, but they are not professionally done by current standards.

Included is a kind of hokey 10 minute interview with star Kevin McCarthy but it is at least a viable extra. A noble attempt by Republic.

This 'B' film is a masterpiece, whether you believe it is subtly dealing with mass paranoia toward an invasive harmful (perceived) ideology (really they mean Communism) or even more so the sweeping paranoiac hysteria of McCarthyism... or not. Our review is an encouragement for the powers that be to SE this worthy entry. Come on!        

Gary W. Tooze

 


DVD Menus

 

(Republic Pictures (Full Screen + Widescreen) - Region 1 - NTSC LEFT vs. Kinowelt - Region 2, 8 - PAL- RIGHT)


 
 
 

 

Olive Film - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 


CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Subtitle Sample - NOTE: Not exact capture

 

1) Republic Pictures (Full Screen) - Region 1 - NTSC TOP
2) Republic Pictures (Widescreen) - Region 1 - NTSC SECOND
3) Kinowelt - Region 2, 8 - PAL- THIRD

4) Olive Film - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


 

Screen Captures

 

1) Republic Pictures (Full Screen) - Region 1 - NTSC TOP
2) Republic Pictures (Widescreen) - Region 1 - NTSC SECOND
3) Kinowelt - Region 2, 8 - PAL- THIRD

4) Olive Film - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Republic Pictures (Full Screen) - Region 1 - NTSC TOP
2) Republic Pictures (Widescreen) - Region 1 - NTSC SECOND
3) Kinowelt - Region 2, 8 - PAL- THIRD

4) Olive Film - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Republic Pictures (Full Screen) - Region 1 - NTSC TOP
2) Republic Pictures (Widescreen) - Region 1 - NTSC SECOND
3) Kinowelt - Region 2, 8 - PAL- THIRD

4) Olive Film - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Republic Pictures (Full Screen) - Region 1 - NTSC TOP
2) Republic Pictures (Widescreen) - Region 1 - NTSC SECOND
3) Kinowelt - Region 2, 8 - PAL- THIRD

4) Olive Film - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Republic Pictures (Full Screen) - Region 1 - NTSC TOP
2) Republic Pictures (Widescreen) - Region 1 - NTSC SECOND
3) Kinowelt - Region 2, 8 - PAL- THIRD

4) Olive Film - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) Republic Pictures (Full Screen) - Region 1 - NTSC TOP
2) Republic Pictures (Widescreen) - Region 1 - NTSC SECOND
3) Kinowelt - Region 2, 8 - PAL- THIRD

4) Olive Film - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Republic Pictures (Full Screen) - Region 1 - NTSC TOP
2) Republic Pictures (Widescreen) - Region 1 - NTSC SECOND
3) Kinowelt - Region 2, 8 - PAL- THIRD

4) Olive Film - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) Republic Pictures (Full Screen) - Region 1 - NTSC TOP
2) Republic Pictures (Widescreen) - Region 1 - NTSC SECOND
3) Kinowelt - Region 2, 8 - PAL- THIRD

4) Olive Film - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) Republic Pictures (Full Screen) - Region 1 - NTSC TOP
2) Republic Pictures (Widescreen) - Region 1 - NTSC SECOND
3) Kinowelt - Region 2, 8 - PAL- THIRD

4) Olive Film - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

More Blu-ray Captures

 

 

Box Cover

   

 

Distribution Republic Pictures - Region 1 - NTSC Kinowelt - Region 2,8 - PAL Olive Films - Region FREE - Blu-ray




 

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