Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978 film): Wikis

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Invasion of the Body Snatchers

Movie poster by Bill Gold
Directed by Philip Kaufman
Produced by Robert H. Solo
Written by Novel:
Jack Finney
Screenplay:
W. D. Richter
Starring Donald Sutherland
Brooke Adams
Jeff Goldblum
Veronica Cartwright
Leonard Nimoy
Art Hindle
Music by Denny Zeitlin
Editing by Douglas Stewart
Distributed by United Artists
Release date(s) December 20, 1978
Running time 115 min
Country United States
Language English
Budget $3,500,000
Gross revenue $24,446,533 (USA)

Invasion of the Body Snatchers is a 1978 science fiction film based on the novel The Body Snatchers by Jack Finney. It is a remake of the 1956 film of the same name. The original music score was composed by Denny Zeitlin.

This remake starred Donald Sutherland, Brooke Adams, Jeff Goldblum, Veronica Cartwright, Leonard Nimoy and Art Hindle. It was adapted by W. D. Richter and directed by Philip Kaufman. Unlike many remakes, it met a generally favorable critical response and performed very well at the box office. Made for $3.5 million, the film earned nearly $25 million in the United States. The New Yorker's Pauline Kael, who said "it may be the best film of its kind ever made", was a particular fan.[1]

Contents

Plot

Matthew Bennell (Donald Sutherland) is a San Francisco health inspector who, with his friend and colleague Elizabeth Driscoll (Brooke Adams), discovers that people are being replaced by replicas grown from plantlike pods. The replicas are near-perfect duplicates with the same memories and appearance as the original person, but are emotionless. The pods are able to duplicate humans only when they are asleep, and the original human bodies disintegrate after the duplicate is fully formed. The pod people then work together to spread more pods so more people can be replaced with the aim of eliminating the entire human race. The film follows a small group of people who discover the plot and try to stop it, or at least escape. However, it proves increasingly difficult as they are unable to determine who can be trusted.

The film opens out in deep space, where a race of gelatinous creatures abandon their dying world. Pushed through the universe by the solar winds, they make their way to Earth and land in San Francisco. Some fall on plant leaves, assimilating them and forming small pods with pink flowers. Elizabeth is one of several people who brings a flower home. The next morning, Elizabeth's husband, Geoffrey Howell (Art Hindle), suddenly becomes distant and she knows something is wrong. Matthew suggests that she see his friend Dr. David Kibner (Leonard Nimoy), but they discover the problem is far more widespread.

Dr. Kibner suggests that Elizabeth wants to believe that Geoffrey has changed because she is looking for an excuse to get out of their relationship. Meanwhile, Matthew's friend Jack Bellicec (Jeff Goldblum), a struggling writer who owns a mud bath with his wife Nancy (Veronica Cartwright), discovers a deformed body on one of the beds and calls Matthew to investigate. Noticing that the body (which has adult features but lacks distinguishing characteristics) bears a slight resemblance to Jack, Matthew breaks into Elizabeth's home and finds a nearly complete double of her in the bedroom garden; he is able to get Elizabeth to safety but the duplicate body disappears when he returns with the police. Matthew realizes that what is happening is extraterrestrial, not realizing that Dr. Kibner has also been changed. He calls several state and federal agencies, but they all tell him not to worry. In addition, people who earlier claimed that their loved ones had changed seem to have been converted as well. That night, Matthew and his friends are nearly duplicated by the pods while they sleep. The pod people try to raid Matthew's house, but the humans are able to slip away. During this, they discover that the pod people clones emit a piercing shrill scream once they learn someone is still human among them.

Jack and Nancy sacrifice themselves to a crowd of pursuing pod people as a distraction, to give their friends enough time to escape. Matthew and Elizabeth are chased across San Francisco, until they are eventually found by the doubles of Jack and Dr. Kibner at the Health Department. They are both injected with a sedative to help them sleep. However, the couple is able to overpower them and escape the building. They run into Nancy in the stairwell, who has discovered a way to evade the pod people by hiding all emotion. Outside, Matthew and Elizabeth are exposed as human when Elizabeth screams after seeing a mutant dog with a man's face (caused by Matthew stepping on and damaging the dog's pod earlier). They flee, leading them to discover a giant warehouse at the docks where the pods are grown. After Matthew and Elizabeth profess their love for each other, they hear "Amazing Grace" being played nearby. Matthew goes out to investigate, only to discover a cargo ship being loaded with hundreds of pods.

Matthew returns to find that Elizabeth has fallen asleep. While trying to wake her in his arms, her body crumbles to dust and Elizabeth's naked double arises behind him, asking him to fall asleep as well. With no one left, Matthew attempts to destroy the pod-growing facility by cutting the overhead lights. Within moments, the entire warehouse is on fire and the unhatched pods begin to die. He is pointed out by Elizabeth's double and hides under a pier while the pod people frantically search for him.

The next day, Matthew passively watches dozens of children being led into a dark theater to be replaced. At the Health Department, Elizabeth and all their co-workers now stand silently, listening for their instructions to spread the invasion across the West Coast. While walking towards city hall, he is spotted by Nancy, who survived the previous night. Thinking he is human, she calls his name, to which Matthew responds by pointing to her and emitting the piercing pod scream. Nancy screams with horror realizing that Matthew is now a pod person as the screen goes to black. Apparently there are no more humans left in San Francisco. The pods have won... and the rest of the world is apparently doomed.

Cast

Similarities/Differences to the 1956 version

  • Both films are set in California.
  • The 1956 film depicts Becky as the ex-girlfriend of Miles. The 1978 film portrays the relationship of Matthew and Elizabeth as nothing more than friends (and colleagues, since they both work at the health department) until love occurs in the latter part of the plot.
  • Both films depict Jack Bellicec being duplicated early on with the partially-formed duplicate being discovered by the Bellicecs. The line, "It has no details, no character ... it's unformed" delivered by Jack in the remake is similar to the line spoken by Dr. Miles Bennell in the original. In both movies it is pointed out that the developing pod replacement has no fingerprints.
  • Both films have the police department playing a prominent role in spreading the invasion and preventing humans from escaping.
  • In the 1978 version, Elizabeth Driscoll is startled by the mantel clock chiming in her apartment as she watches the pod duplicate of her boyfriend Geoffrey taking a trash can filled with the decayed remains of his original body out to the trash truck. In the 1956 original, Becky Driscoll is startled by the cuckoo clock in the Bellicec's house as she watches her boyfriend Miles examining the developing pod duplicate of Jack Bellicec on Jack's pool table.
  • In the first and second films a duplicated Jack and the duplicated psychiatrist corner the couple in the office. The 1956 version has Dan Kaufman speaking the line, "It would have been so much easier if you'd gone to sleep last night." In the remake the line is given to Jack who says, "It would have been so much easier if we'd just gone to sleep last night." In the original Miles uses syringes filled with poison to kill the treacherous duo (Jack Bellicec and David Kibner). In the 1978 film hypodermics were also used in the office setting, only this time the syringes are filled with a mild sedative and administered to Matthew and Elizabeth by the psychiatrist. In this version, Jack's double is killed when Matthew jabs a dart into the base of his skull and Kibner is locked in the lab's freezer. In each film Jack and the psychiatrist are dispatched and the couple flees.
  • In the first film the leading man, Miles Bennell, is a small town doctor. In the second, Matthew Bennell is a big city health inspector.
  • In the original film, Jack Bellicec is a moderately successful writer who lives with his wife, Teddy, in a fashionable bungalow. The 1978 film depicts Bellicec as a frustrated, hapless writer who owns a mud bath spa with his wife, Nancy.
  • In the original, all four of the remaining human characters watch in horror as their four duplicates are developing from "hatching" pods in Miles' greenhouse. In the remake, Matthew sees Elizabeth's double taking shape in Geoffrey's greenhouse garden. The setting of the four duplicates developing simultaneously from hatching pods (more graphic in the 1978 version) is changed to Matthew's rooftop garden. In the first movie Miles destroys his duplicate with a pitchfork to the chest. In the second, Matthew destroys his with a garden hoe to the head.
  • In the original, the underscoring features a very sharp and prominent brass section. In the remake, the opening theme music and some of the underscoring also features a prominent brass section.
  • In the original, Miles leaves Becky behind in an abandoned mine to investigate the source of music coming from over the hills. Both hope the music emanates from genuine humans. Miles discovers a huge greenhouse complex growing thousands of pods instead. The music had come from a radio, which is switched off. He returns and discovers that Becky has fallen asleep and been transformed into a pod duplicate. In the 1978 film, Matthew and Elizabeth discover a huge pod-growing facility together. After fleeing the factory, Matthew leaves Elizabeth behind in a field to investigate a seaship piping out a bagpipe version of Amazing Grace over its loudspeaker, which is also turned off shortly thereafter. To his dismay, large pallets of pods are being loaded into the ship's hold. Matthew returns, alarmed to see that Elizabeth has fallen asleep. He embraces her but she disintegrates in his embrace. Elizabeth's soulless double rises (naked, which is actually logical) and betrays Matthew as does the duplicated Becky to Miles in the original film.
  • In the original movie, the psychiatrist's name is Danny Kaufman; in the remake it's David Kibner.
  • The 1956 movie has Miles and Becky taking refuge in Miles' doctor's office. The 1978 version has Matthew and Elizabeth taking refuge in the Health Department office where both work. In both films a night watchman enters the office shining a flashlight and leaves without discovering the couple. Both films also have the couple taking pills to keep them awake. Miles and Becky in the original, as well as Matthew and Elizabeth in the remake, share a kiss as they're hiding out. In both movies, the couples look out the office window to discover a large crowd of duplicates carrying unhatched pods bound for surrounding towns and cities in order to spread the invasion.
  • The first film has Becky alerting the pods to hers and Miles' humanity when she screams in reaction to a dog almost being hit by a truck. In the second, Elizabeth similarly alerts the pod people when she screams in reaction to seeing a pod duplicate with a dog's body and a human's face. This "creature" was formed from a combination of the banjo playing hobo and his dog, when Matthew kicks the pod growing next to them and obviously damages the duplication process to accidentally duplicate both the dog and the man into one creature.
  • The scene in which Matthew, Elizabeth, Jack, and Nancy are fleeing a mob of pod people down several flights of stairs is reminiscent of the scene in the first movie in which Miles and Becky are fleeing a similar mob up a long outdoor stairway.
  • In the original, Miles remains himself long enough to warn humanity of the pod people and is still himself at the film's end. In the remake, Matthew is subsidized by the end of the film and has not yet warned humanity.

1978 Changes

The film is seen as a satire on the "Me Decade", with the psychiatrist, Dr. David Kibner (Leonard Nimoy), a character who is a popular self-help guru who dismisses the other characters' fears until he is uncovered as a duplicate himself.

In the original, the aliens are never seen in their pre-duplicate form. We only see the emotionless human doubles. In the opening scene of the remake we see the aliens in their pre-invasion form struggling to survive on their dying home planet. They appear to be intelligent, if gelatinous creatures who can escape the gravity of their doomed homeworld at will to drift along to a more habitable environment.

The first film never shows us what happens to the original human bodies after duplication. In the second, there are several scenes in which we see greyish debris dangling from the back ends of trash trucks which kicks up grey dust when compacted.

The 1978 remake not only reflects the zeitgeist of the 70's with its moody paranoia, but also contrasts itself with its 50's counterpart by its more graphic portrayal of Jack Bellicec's partly developed double, as well as its portrayal of the hatching pods in Matthew's rooftop garden. Feminist sensibilities are also in evidence in the second film. In the original, Becky Driscoll did not appear to have a job or career. In the remake, Elizabeth Driscoll is a nine-to-five lab worker at the San Francisco Department of Health. In a similar vein, Jack's wife Teddy was a housewife in the first film. In the second, Jack's wife Nancy is a co-owner of their mud bath emporium and works with the clients.

In the original, any pod duplicate who sensed the presence of a non-duplicated human would alert its fellow pods by simply pointing toward the humans and then running after them with seemingly emotionless facial expression. However, in the remake, they are portrayed with more of an other-worldly sense in this regard; whenever a pod sensed a human being's presence, it would alert other pods by opening its mouth and emitting a piercing, alien-like, shrill scream, which resonates for great distances and can warn pods from hundreds of yards away that there is a human presence.

As Siegel originally intended with the first film[citation needed], Kaufman's version seems to preclude any optimistic or hopeful ending by the twist ending in the film's final seconds.

Critical Reception

Reviews for Invasion of the Body Snatchers have been nearly unanimously positive. It maintains a 97% approval rating on the review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes,[2] and is widely regarded as one of the greatest remakes of all time.[3][4][5][6]

The film received a nomination from the Writers Guild of America for Best Drama Adapted from Another Medium. The film was also nominated for the Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation. It was also recognized by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films. Philip Kaufman won Best Director and the film was nominated Best Science Fiction Film. Donald Sutherland, Brooke Adams and Leonard Nimoy received additional nominations for the performances.[7]

Cameos

There are a number of cameo appearances in the film; the star of the original film, Kevin McCarthy, appears briefly as a man on the street frantically screaming about aliens ("They're here!"), in a shot reminiscent of one of the final shots of the original. The original's director, Don Siegel, appears as a devious-looking taxicab driver who drives Matthew and Elizabeth from the city. Robert Duvall is also seen briefly as a silent priest on a swing set in the opening scene, and Grateful Dead guitarist Jerry Garcia plays banjo on the soundtrack. Director Philip Kaufman appears in dual roles both as a man wearing a hat who bothers Sutherland's character in a phone booth, and the voice of one of the officials Sutherland's character speaks to on the phone. His wife, Rose Kaufman, is credited as the woman who argues with Jeff Goldblum's character at the book party; several of the people at the party were writer friends of Kaufman. Cinematographer Michael Chapman appears twice as a janitor in the health department; he appears when Elizabeth breaks down in Matthew's arms, ominously waxing the floor, and later leaning against the wall when the couple sneaks back into the building.

Veronica Cartwright made a cameo appearance as a doomed patient in the 2007 film The Invasion.

Soundtrack

The film score by Denny Zeitlin was released on Perseverance Records. Despite its popularity and critical praise, it is the only film score Zeitlin has composed.

See also

References

External links

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Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Invasion of the Body Snatchers is a 1978 film about a group of people in San Francisco who discover the human race is being replaced one by one, with clones devoid of emotion.

Directed by Philip Kaufman. Written by W.D. Richter, based on the novel The Body Snatchers by Jack Finney
Get some sleep taglines

Contents

Dialogue

Elizabeth: I have seen these flowers all over. They are growing like parasites on other plants. All of a sudden. Where are they coming from?
Nancy: Outer space?
Jack: What are you talking about? A space flower?
Nancy: Well why not a space flower? Why do we always expect metal ships?
Jack: I've NEVER expected metal ships.

Elizabeth: Yep, Boccardo's pills. He eats it like candy... or used to. Take some.
Matthew: What are they?

Dr. Kibner: Elizabeth, could you please tell me, in your opinion, what is going on?
Elizabeth: People are being duplicated. And once it happens to you, you're part of this... thing. It almost happened to me!

Elizabeth: I keep seeing these people, all recognizing each other. Something is passing between them all, some secret. It's a conspiracy, I know it.
Matthew: There can't be a conspiracy!
Elizabeth: Matthew, I'm telling you something is going on here.

Matthew: [dials his phone] I'll get the police.
Telephone Operator: Police.
Matthew: Officer, I'd like to report four bodies.
Telephone Operator: Wait right there Mr. Bennel.
Matthew: How do you know my name?
Jack: Hang up, Matthew.
Matthew: [into the phone] I didn't tell you my name.
Jack: Hang up!
Matthew: [hangs up the phone] I didn't tell them my name!
Nancy: That's because there're all part of it. They're all pods, all of them!

Elizabeth: I hate you.
Dr. Kibner: We don't hate you - there's no need for hate now. Or love.
Elizabeth: There are people who will fight you. Stop you.
Dr. Kibner: In an hour you won't want them to. Don't be trapped by old concepts, Matthew, you're evolving into a new lifeform.

(last lines)
Nancy: Matthew?
Matthew: (loud, spine chilling scream as he points to her)
Nancy: No! Stop!

Taglines

  • Get some sleep
  • Watch out! They get you while you're sleeping!
  • Sleep ... Sleep ... and be born again into a world without fear and hate!
  • You'll never close your eyes again.
  • From deep space...
  • The seed is planted...terror grows.

Cast

External links


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