Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Review: The Day Mars Invaded Eath

The Day Mars Invaded Earth (1963)

Dr David Fielding is head of the project to land the first probe on the planet Mars.  The mission is regarded as a complete success even though the probe was knocked out of action within minutes.  Deciding to reconnect with his family, he flies back California where his wife and children are living as caretakers on the empty estate owned by Mrs Fielding's family.  Soon the Fieldings are seeing doppelgangers of each other in a growing nightmare of confused identities.

The Day is essentially a haunted house film mixed with The War of the Worlds and a rehash of Invasion of the Body Snatchers.  It's very slow to get going with a domestic  subplot that goes nowhere and the ending is so heavily telegraphed that it surprises no one when it shows up.

The low budget actually enhances the film with the location shooting at  Greystone Park & Mansion with the grainy black and white cinematography provide a suitably sad and gloomy air to the proceedings where colour would have made  things much too cheerful.  But the saddest thing about this film is that there is no resolution; no payoff.  Even an unhappy ending needs some sort of dramatic logic to it.  Here, everything is as much up in the air at the end as at the start.  What we have here is a five minute set up sequence in the first episode of an old Doctor Who serial stretched out to 70 minutes.

It's a pity we don't see the rest of the story.

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