BOONE, NC – The recently-announced Cinema Classic Sci-Fi Film Series at the Appalachian Theatre of the High Country continues at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, October 11 with a science fiction horror movie shot in period black-and-white in the classic “film noir” style.
“Invasion of the Body Snatchers” (1956) concerns an extraterrestrial invasion that begins in the fictional California town of Santa Mira. Alien plant spores have fallen from space and grown into large seed pods, each one capable of producing a visually identical copy of a human.
As each pod reaches full development, it assimilates the physical traits, memories, and personalities of each sleeping person placed near it until only the replacement is left; these duplicates, however, are devoid of all human emotion. Little by little, a local doctor uncovers this “quiet” invasion and attempts to stop it.
The slang expression “pod people” that arose in late 20th-century U.S. culture refers to the emotionless duplicates seen in the film. “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” was selected in 1994 for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”
The movie was produced by Walter Wanger, directed by Don Siegel, and stars Kevin McCarthy and Dana Wynter. Daniel Mainwaring adapted the screenplay from Jack Finney’s 1954 science fiction novel “The Body Snatchers.” The novel ends with the extraterrestrials, who have a life span of no more than five years, leaving Earth after they realize that humans are offering strong resistance, despite having little reasonable chance against the alien invasion. The film was released by Allied Artists Pictures as a double feature with the British science fiction film “The Atomic Man.”
Critics ranked “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” as “one of the best films of 1956” and “One of the best political allegories of the 1950s… an efficient, chilling blend of sci-fi and horror.” In recent years critics, such as Dan Druker of the Chicago Reader have called the film a “genuine Sci-Fi classic.” Leonard Maltin described it as “influential, and still very scary.” Time Out agreed, hailing the film one of the “most resonant” and “one of the simplest” of the genre.
“Film noir” is a cinematic term used primarily to describe stylish Hollywood crime and science fiction dramas, particularly those that emphasize cynical attitudes and motivations. The 1940s and 1950s are generally regarded as the “classic period” of American film noir. This era is associated with a low-key, black-and-white visual style that has roots in German Expressionist cinematography. Many of the prototypical stories and much of the attitude of classic noir derive from the hardboiled school of crime and science fiction that emerged in the United States during the Great Depression.
The film has a family-friendly start time of 7 p.m. with a budget-conscious general admission ticket price of just $5 per person. The running time for “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” is one hour and 20 minutes.
The Cinema Classic Sci-Fi Film Series is generously sponsored by Nancy and Neil Schaffel and consists of four movies suggested by audience members and the general public. The remaining films on the series are Stanley Kubrick’s epic “2001: A Space Odyssey” on October 18, and “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” on October 25.
While the App Theatre’s online ticketing system is accessible 24/7, customers can avoid the online service fees by visiting the lobby box office between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. from Tuesday through Friday, or one hour prior to showtime for each film. For a complete performance schedule of all upcoming events, or to sign up for the theatre’s e-blast distribution list, visit the organization’s website at www.apptheatre.org
Courtesy of the Appalachian Theatre of the High Country.