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Invasion U.S.A.

Promo material for Invasion U.S.A.
Directed by Alfred Green
Produced by Albert Zugsmith
Robert Smith
Written by Robert Smith
Franz Schulz
Starring Gerald Mohr
Peggie Castle
Dan O'Herlihy
Music by Albert Glasser
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release date(s) 1952
Running time 74 min.
Language English
Budget $127,000

Invasion U.S.A. (in the actual title frame but not the publicity, Invasion USA) is a 1952 (stock) motion picture set during the Cold War and portraying the invasion of the United States by an unnamed Communist enemy meant to be taken as the Soviet Union.

Contents

Plot

The film begins in a New York City bar, where the brooding, mysterious forecaster Mr. Ohman (Dan O'Herlihy) is sitting and drinking from a very large brandy glass. He gets into discussions with a cross-section of affluent Americans at the bar, including local television newscaster Vince Potter (Gerald Mohr), beautiful young New York society woman Carla Sanford (Peggie Castle), a Californian industrialist, a rancher from Arizona, and a Congressman. International news is bad, but these Americans do not want to hear it. While they all dislike Communism and appreciate the material wealth they enjoy, they also want lower taxes and don't see the need for industrial support of government. Mr. Ohman does not seem to think that all adds up.

Suddenly the news becomes worse. The Enemy is staging air attacks over Seal Point, Alaska and then Nome. Paratroops have landed on Alaskan airfields and an American female communications operator is gunned down in mid-sentence. Soon The Enemy's plan of attack becomes clear: civilian airfields are captured as staging areas while military airfields are A-bombed. The United States fights back and attacks The Enemy's homeland with Convair B-36 missions, but The Enemy steadily moves into Washington and Oregon. Shipyards in Puget Sound are A-bombed with large casualties.

Meanwhile, the Americans at the bar scramble to return to their lives to do what they can against The Enemy, now that it is too late. Potter and Sanford fall for each other ("War or no war, people have to eat and drink ... and make love!"). He continues to broadcast, while she volunteers to help run a blood drive. The industrialist and the rancher both return home to find themselves on the front lines: the former caught in the battle for San Francisco, the latter in the destruction of Boulder Dam by a nuclear missile. The President makes ineffectual broadcasts with inflated claims of counter-attacks to rally the morale of the people. But things are only going to get worse, much worse. And each American talks about how if they could only do everything over again....

Production and history

"The Enemy" is never named but is clearly meant to be taken as the Communist Soviet Union, given their approach through Alaska, pseudo-Slavic accents, "People's Army" proclamations, and use of Soviet fighter aircraft (Yak-17s and MiG-15s).

Much of the film's running time is taken up with inappropriate and inconsistent combat stock footage. This is relatively aseptic, and sometimes unintentionally humorous: World War II (American) B-29 Superfortress heavy bombers are seen attacking San Francisco and C-82 Packet transports drop "Enemy" paratroopers on Washington D.C. Some of the individual encounters between The Enemy and Americans are typical of Red Scare material of the time.[1]

Future Lois Lanes Phyllis Coates and Noel Neill and B-movie stalwart William Schallert all have small parts in the film.

The film was commercially successful, bringing in net profits of almost a million dollars.

Invasion U.S.A., after its initial success, was shown some on television in the late 1960s, but then was not widely viewed for a long time. In July 1994, it was spoofed on the movie-mocking television show Mystery Science Theater 3000, and eventually, in 2002, it was released on DVD.

The film is unrelated to the 1985 Chuck Norris film of the same name, although bearing some slight similarities.

Cast

  • Gerald Mohr (Vince Potter)
  • Peggie Castle (Carla Sanford)
  • Dan O'Herlihy (Mr. Ohman)
  • Robert Bice (George Sylvester)
  • Tom Kennedy (Tim the Bartender)
  • Wade Crosby (Illinois Congressman Arthur V. Harroway)
  • Erik Blythe (Ed Mulfory)
  • Phyllis Coates (Mrs. Mulfory)
  • Aram Katcher (Factory Window Washer)
  • Knox Manning (Himself)
  • Edward G. Robinson Jr. (Radio Dispatcher)
  • Noel Neill (Second Airline Ticket Agent)
  • Clarence A. Shoop (Army Major)

Footnotes

  1. ^ The encounters also resemble accounts of Soviet behavior during the invasion of Germany, especially during the Battle of Berlin.

External links

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