All this time I had somehow failed to realize that Jack Arnold’s It Came From Outer Space (‘53), which is based on a Ray Bradbury film treatment called “The Meteor”, was a clear forerunner of Don Siegel’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers (‘56).
Both were black-and-white chillers about bucolic, small-town communities besieged by aliens with the power to surreptitiously replace residents with creepy, emotion–less substitutes, the difference being that Arnold and Bradbury’s visitors aren’t aggressively evil or looking to harm anyone and certainly don’t serve as metaphorical seed agents for ‘50s-era conformity, as they did in Body Snatchers.
And both focused on a cerebral alpha male hero figure (Richard Carlson, Kevin McCarthy) and nearly identical brunette wifey-girlfriend love partners (Arnold’s Barbara Rush, Siegel’s Dana Wynter) who are taken over by aliens in the third act.
There are too many scenes in which Carlson tries and fails to persuade fellow townies that some kind of alien invasion is actually happening. Over and over and over. Charles Drake’s Sheriff Warren finally comes around toward the end, but by then the skepticism horse has been beaten to death.
I was expecting to engage with Kathleen Hughes, the blonde on the 4K Bluray jacket cover, but she’s only in one brief scene.
I was delighted by the relatively recent digital restoration of It Came From Outer Space. Clifford Stine’s cinematography looks about as proficient and ace-level as this kind of boilerplate big-studio monochrome effort gets. At times the image quality seems as clean and rich as, say, the VistaVision lensing of William Wyler’s The Desperate Hours (‘55), especially during the outdoor-simulating sound stage scenes.