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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(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

 

Posters

Theatrical Release: February 5th, 1956

 

Reviews                                                                                       More Reviews                                                                       DVD Reviews

 

 Comparison:

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

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

3) Olive Film - Region 'A' - Blu-ray THIRD

4) Alive (DE) - Region FREE - Blu-ray FOURTH

5) Olive (Signature) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray RIGHT

 

Box Cover

   

 

 

    

Distribution Republic Pictures - Region 1 - NTSC Kinowelt - Region 2,8 - PAL Olive Films - Region 'A' - Blu-ray Alive (DE) - Region FREE - Blu-ray Olive (Signature) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:20:03  1:16:48 (4% PAL Speedup)  1:20:40.836  1:20:17.020  1:20:19.022 
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

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

Disc Size: 18,842,299,767 bytes

Feature: 15,712,733,184 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 22.09 Mbps

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

Disc Size: 49,066,202,884 bytes

Feature: 21,508,909,056 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 31.50 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 Olive Blu-ray

Bitrate: Alive Blu-ray

Bitrate: Olive (Signature) 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) 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)

DUB: DTS-HD Master Audio German 1591 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1591 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1854 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1854 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Commentary:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB

Subtitles English, Spanish, French, None German, None None German, None English, 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
 

Release Information:
Studio: Alive (DE)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Disc Size: 18,842,299,767 bytes

Feature: 15,712,733,184 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 22.09 Mbps

Edition Details:

• Trailers of other films

DVD

Blu-ray Release Date: February 23rd, 2018
Mediabook Blu-ray Case
Chapters: 12
 

Release Information:
Studio: Olive Films

Aspect Ratio:

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

Disc Size: 49,066,202,884 bytes

Feature: 21,508,909,056 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 31.50 Mbps

Edition Details:

• Audio Commentary by film historian Richard Harland Smith
Audio Commentary by actors Kevin McCarthy and Dana Wynter, and filmmaker Joe Dante
• “The Stranger in Your Lover’s Eyes” – A two-part visual essay with actor and son of director Don Siegel, Kristoffer Tabori, reading from his father’s book A Siegel Film (11:54)
• “The Fear is Real” – Filmmakers Larry Cohen and Joe Dante on the film’s cultural significance (12:26)
• “I No Longer Belong: The Rise and Fall of Walter Wanger” – Film scholar and author Matthew Bernstein discusses the life and career of the film’s producer (21:08)
• “Sleep No More: Invasion of the Body Snatchers Revisited” – An appreciation of the film featuring actors Kevin McCarthy and Dana Wynter, along with comments from film directors and fans, John Landis, Mick Garris, and Stuart Gordon (26:35)
• “The Fear and the Fiction: The Body Snatchers Phenomenon” – Kevin McCarthy and Dana Wynter, along with film directors John Landis, Mick Garris and Stuart Gordon, discuss the making of the film, its place in history, and its meaning (8:19)
1985 archival interview with Kevin McCarthy hosted by Tom Hatten (7:25)
• “Return to Santa Mira” – An exploration of the film’s locations
• “What’s In a Name?” – On the film’s title (2:16)
• Gallery of rare documents detailing aspects of the film’s production including the never-produced opening narration to have been read by Orson Welles
Essay by author and film programmer Kier-La Janisse
• Original theatrical trailer (2:15)

Blu-ray Release Date: October 16th, 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 (Signature) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - October 18': The new Olive is a step up from the previous 2 Blu-rays. It maintains the SuperScope 2.0:1 AR. Contrast improves in the richer, more inky, black levels. It brings up detail and the image is the best of transfer - dual-layered with a high bitrate. The improvement is evident in the matched screen captures below. Sweet in-motion.

The audio transfer is also superior at 24-bit - to the other two having 16-bit. Also a more robust DTS-HD Master enhancing the bass in Carmen Dragon's (Cover Girl) frequently aggressive score. It sounds far more intense in this Signature edition - a big part of the presentation. For their Signature Blu-ray Olive have added optional English subtitles. There Blu-ray disc is still Region 'A'-locked.

Extras indeed! Olive stack their Signature Blu-ray edition starting with an excellent, highly detailed audio commentary by film historian Richard Harland Smith who delves deep and always keeps you attentive (but is it really pronounced "Donna"?). There I also the vintage audio commentary by actors Kevin McCarthy and Dana Wynter, and filmmaker Joe Dante. I really enjoyed this as well. Lots of interesting anecdotes. “The Stranger in Your Lover’s Eyes” is a two-part visual essay with actor and son of director Don Siegel, Kristoffer Tabori, reading from his father’s book A Siegel Film. It has something to offer fans of the film. "The Fear is Real” –has filmmakers Larry Cohen and Joe Dante on the film’s cultural significance - running over a dozen minutes. “I No Longer Belong: The Rise and Fall of Walter Wanger” has film scholar and author Matthew Bernstein discusses the life and career of the film’s producer. It runs over 21-minutes. “Sleep No More: Invasion of the Body Snatchers Revisited” is a 26-minute appreciation of the film featuring actors Kevin McCarthy and Dana Wynter, along with comments from film directors and fans, John Landis, Mick Garris, and Stuart Gordon. “The Fear and the Fiction: The Body Snatchers Phenomenon” runs 8-minutes and has Kevin McCarthy and Dana Wynter, along with film directors John Landis, Mick Garris and Stuart Gordon, discuss the making of the film, its place in history, and its meaning. There is a 1985 archival interview with Kevin McCarthy hosted by Tom Hatten running about 7.5 minutes. “Return to Santa Mira” is an interesting exploration of the film’s locations divided into a handful of segments. “What’s In a Name?” discusses the film alternate titles. There is a gallery of rare documents detailing aspects of the film’s production including the never-produced opening narration to have been read by Orson Welles and a text essay by author and film programmer Kier-La Janisse that can be read in a click-thru fashion. Lastly is an original theatrical trailer. The package comes with an 8-page liner notes leaflet.

This is it - an absolute must-own Blu-ray release - best a/v, 2 commentaries and plenty of extras. The film finally gets its deserved digital justice. Our highest recommendation!

***

ADDITION: Alive (DE) - Region FREE' - Blu-ray - March 18':  Short story this appears to be the exact same transfer as the Olive - see the bitrate graphs. It is as competent an image quality - also using the SuperScope 2.0:1 aspect ratio. It looks just as good as the Olive in every respect although we still await a dual-layered - max'ed out bitrate - rendering for this classic.

The Alive Blu-ray, out of Germany, offers the original English audio in the exact same DTS-HD Master mono track (16-bit) as the Olive plus has an optional German DUB and removable German subtitles (see sample below.) So the HD presentation is a virtual duplicate but the package does include some trailers, a second disc DVD and it comes in a very nice Mediabook case with beautiful photos and German text.

This is only a very slight upgrade from the Olive Blu-ray because of the extras - but the Region FREE status will be appealing for many Region 'B'ers (locked-out of Region 'A') - as it may be the first for this pure 50's science-fiction classic in 1080P for Europeans - who should be pleased. We all await an Olive Signature Blu-ray, or a like SE, for the original Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

Phil tells us in email: "While the 1956 "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" was released with the studio-forced Superscope Aspect Ratio, that was not the way it was filmed.

The movie was directed and framed for 1.85-to-1, but the studio forced that "fake" wider Superscope prints -- A sales gimmick. And that is all it was (and, unfortunately, still is), a gimmick.

Chins are cropped rather badly in many shots with the post-production release in Superscope.

While in your older Olive Films review, you mentioned that Blu-ray "put aside my fears of a 1.78 bastardized ratio." Well, in this case, 1.78 would be far more accurate than the way the film was released and the way it is still presented. A real shame for such a perfect film.

The real reason to review another release of the original "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" will be if the day comes that the original camera negative or a protection element can be accessed and this film restored to the way the Director and the Cinematographer actually framed this wonderful film
." (thanks Phil!)

***

ADDITION: Olive Films - Region 'A' - 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 cognoscente 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 'A' - Blu-ray

 

 

Alive - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 

 

Olive (Signature) - Region 'A' - 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 'A' - Blu-ray FOURTH

5) Alive (DE) - Region FREE - Blu-ray FIFTH

6) Olive (Signature) - Region 'A' - 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 'A' - Blu-ray FOURTH

5) Alive (DE) - Region FREE - Blu-ray FIFTH

6) Olive (Signature) - Region 'A' - 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 'A' - Blu-ray FOURTH

5) Alive (DE) - Region FREE - Blu-ray FIFTH

6) Olive (Signature) - Region 'A' - 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 'A' - Blu-ray FOURTH

5) Alive (DE) - Region FREE - Blu-ray FIFTH

6) Olive (Signature) - Region 'A' - 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 'A' - Blu-ray FOURTH

5) Alive (DE) - Region FREE - Blu-ray FIFTH

6) Olive (Signature) - Region 'A' - 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 'A' - Blu-ray FOURTH

5) Alive (DE) - Region FREE - Blu-ray FIFTH

6) Olive (Signature) - Region 'A' - 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 'A' - Blu-ray FOURTH

5) Alive (DE) - Region FREE - Blu-ray FIFTH

6) Olive (Signature) - Region 'A' - 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 'A' - Blu-ray FOURTH

5) Alive (DE) - Region FREE - Blu-ray FIFTH

6) Olive (Signature) - Region 'A' - 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 'A' - Blu-ray FOURTH

5) Alive (DE) - Region FREE - Blu-ray FIFTH

6) Olive (Signature) - Region 'A' - 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 'A' - Blu-ray FOURTH

5) Alive (DE) - Region FREE - Blu-ray FIFTH

6) Olive (Signature) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


More Blu-ray Captures

 

Olive's first 'Signature' Blu-ray releases:

 Macbeth

(1948)

 High Noon (1952)

 Johnny Guitar (1954)

The Night of the Grizzly

(1966)

 The Quiet Man (1952)

 Hannie Caulder

(1971)

 Father Goose (1964)

Operation Petticoat

(1959)

 

Box Cover

   

 

 

    

Distribution Republic Pictures - Region 1 - NTSC Kinowelt - Region 2,8 - PAL Olive Films - Region 'A' - Blu-ray Alive (DE) - Region FREE - Blu-ray Olive (Signature) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
 

 



 

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