Book Vs. Movie: Invasion of the Body
The 1955 Novel by Jack Finney Vs the 1956 Classic Film
Our “Spooky Movies in October” continues with Invasion of the Body Snatchers, a novel by Jack Finney, and the movie starring Kevin McCarthy (who also made a cameo in the 1978 remake!) The story of aliens invading earth and creating “pod people” to take over the human race was (probably) an allegory for the House Unamerican Activities that was looking for Communists in the U.S. during the 1930s-1950s. The author would go on to even greater success with his novel Time and Again in 1970 which dealt with time travel.
The 1956 movie was directed by Don Siegel (Escape from Alcatraz, Dirty Harry) and produced by Walter Wanger who was starting his career over after a 1951 scandal when he shot his wife’s (Joan Bennett) agent and lover. (Check out Karina Longworth’s podcast Love is a Crime to learn more!)
The film made a few changes to the source material and was made with mostly a group of unknown and character actors to become a huge hit. The story here takes place in fictional Santa Mira in the mid-1950s (unlike 1970s Mill Valley, CA in the novel.) Our lead, played by McCarthy, is a psychiatrist and not a physician and in the end–well, you need to listen to our show to find out!
In 1994, the film was selected for preservation by the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress. There have been several remakes and similar stories told over the years but the 1956 version remains a classic.
So, between the novel and the movie–which did we prefer?
In this ep the Margos discuss:
- The biography of Jack Finney
- The political atmosphere in the 1950s about space & science
- The main differences between the novel & film.
- Starring: Kevin McCarthy (Dr. Miles Bennell,) Dana Wynter (Becky Driscoll,) King Donovan (Jack Belicec,) Carolyn Jones (Teddy Belicec,) and Richard Deacon (Mel from The Dick Van Dyke Show!) as Dr. Bassett.
- Kevin McCarthy in the first scene of the film
- Invasions of the Body Snatchers trailer
- The last scene with Dana Wynter
- The group finds the first pod
- Music by Carmen Dragon
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