Invasion of the Body Snatchers

At first glance, everything looked the same. It wasn’t. Something evil had taken possession of the town.

There’s something powerfully compelling about stories of creeping paranoia, where reason is not merely sidelined but is trampled underfoot by the unthinkable. Those 1950s tales, born out of global fear and uncertainty, urging vigilance both towards the enemy within, and, especially in the case of Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), the enemy wearing one’s own face once felt like a curious relic of the recent past. Nowadays, with opportunists everywhere never passing up an opportunity to encourage suspicion and division, you’d be forgiven for thinking it way well represent a timeless observation on human frailty.

I find the 1950s an endlessly fascinating decade from a filmmaking point of view. There is an irrepressible post-war optimism on view, a sense of hope and positivity for the future; the big shiny automobiles, those spotless, picture postcard small towns, the neat homes resplendent with the latest technology, and most of all the outwardly content people all seem to reflect this satisfaction. Yet satisfaction can all too easily spill over into smugness and conceit, trapping the unwary and leading them into peril. Perhaps it’s our collective sense of doubt, something indelibly stamped on our consciousness by centuries of nasty surprises, that makes us wonder if there’s not danger lurking in the shadows cast by the glow of our apparent success. It’s this juxtaposition of ideas – the comfortable gloss sharing space with the uncertainty – that makes the best 50s movies such a draw for me.

Dr Miles Bennell (Kevin McCarthy) is one of those archetypal post-war figures, young, successful (albeit with a broken marriage behind him) and well-regarded in his community. And Santa Mira is one of those idealized communities I referred to above, comfortable and orderly and the last place one would think of as a threat. Nevertheless, that’s precisely what it represents, for the story rapidly makes it clear that the residents of this small settlement are behaving strangely. There are growing numbers of reports that members of their own families may be imposters, perfect physical and psychological replicas, yet lacking those tell-tale traces of humanity that only those most intimate with us would spot. Surely this is impossible though; it defies all rational explanation and even if it were true, how could one do anything about it before succumbing oneself, and who could be trusted in the interim? Here we have the dilemma faced by the increasingly isolated doctor.

That’s about as much detail as I plan to go into regarding the plot. Those who are already familiar with the film will know everything necessary anyway, and those who are not are entitled to go into it without having the developments spoiled for them by me. In any case, it’s the theme and the thinking behind the movie that interests me most here. The story comes from Jack Finney’s book (called simply The Body Snatchers) which originally appeared in serial form. There are of course some differences but the overall shape of the narrative is retained in Daniel Mainwaring’s screen adaptation. Even the frequently criticized prologue and  epilogue which frame the movie, and were apparently demanded by the studio to counter the perceived bleakness, are close in spirit if not actual detail to the original ending of the novel.

It’s what comes in between though that makes this one of the great Sci-Fi classics. I don’t think there’s much doubt that the film was conceived and executed as an entry into what we now think of as the Red Scare sub-genre, those films which tapped into Atomic Era anxieties and played (or maybe preyed) on fears of infiltration by those bent on damaging society. What lends  this story its power is its use of the notion that the “enemy” is indistinguishable, so much so in fact that even those nearest to us may not be all they appear. And then a further twist of the psychological knife is achieved by having us doubt even ourselves – should our guard drop for the briefest of instants, our souls may be stolen. It’s not a huge step then to regard the danger as something already a part of us, a sort of variation on the old original sin concept and the ultimate in horror, that the face of evil is not just familiar, but one’s own mirror image.

I guess Kevin McCarthy will be forever remembered for his role as the doctor whose calm confidence is not so much eroded over the course of a couple of days as brutally shattered by a series of relentless and terrifyingly swift developments. It’s a credit to McCarthy that the transition from cool professional to gibbering maniac is both seamless and entirely convincing. Dana Wynter gets a great part too as the returning romantic interest. There are nice supporting roles for King Donovan and the underused Carolyn Jones and Jean Willes. And it would be remiss of me not to mention a brief appearance by future director Sam Peckinpah.

Mainwaring’s script, and Finney’s novel naturally, form the core of the movie, but the direction of Don Siegel and the cinematography of Ellsworth Fredericks are vital too. The latter bathes the movie in the kind of deep shadow which we normally associate with film noir and the effect (not to mention the parallel) is wholly appropriate given the subject matter. Siegel’s punchy, spare direction is a great asset, keeping the pace up and using a whole range of interesting angles and perspectives – squeezing the characters through tiny windows, moving them along cramped corridors, confining them in cupboards and even under boardwalks – to ratchet up the sense of claustrophobia, the limited room for maneuver and the ceaseless tension.

I see that Invasion of the Body Snatchers has recently had a deluxe Blu-ray release in the US, and it’s a film that’s certainly deserving of such treatment. I’ve not had an opportunity to sample that version but I do hope a European special edition turns up at some point in the future. In the meantime, I’d unreservedly recommend that anyone who hasn’t had a chance to see this movie should make an effort to do so as soon as possible. We’ve had some fine discussion here before on the difficulty in defining exactly what characterizes a great movie. I imagine it’s safe to say few will upbraid me if I assert that Invasion of the Body Snatchers is unquestionably one of the true greats.

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79 thoughts on “Invasion of the Body Snatchers

  1. Great stuff Colin, and I love the ever so slightly lurid poster you’ve chosen to head this piece. I had no idea that this film hasn’t yet had a Blu-Ray release in Europe, quite unlike the 1978 version that’s been available for some time now, and is for me an equally good piece of work albeit different in emphasis. I remember first seeing it as a child many years ago, no doubt during a classic Sci-Fi season of the sort they used to schedule, and enjoying it while of course having no idea about the subtext, which I’ve come to appreciate in later viewings. But that’s the real charm, isn’t it? The ‘Red Scare’ underbelly is there if you want to watch it on that level, yet it’s equally enjoyable as a great slice of paranoia-fuelled science fiction. The point you make about filming in the Noir style is one I enjoyed reading – the use of shadows, off-kilter camera angles, etc, is a real virtue.

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    • Mike, the fact the movie works equally successfully on different levels is, to my mind, one of the marks of great filmmaking. Any film has to entertain and engage, first and foremost.

      I also like the 1978 remake well enough, but this remains my favored version. That’s possibly down to my seeing it first, and I’m almost sure that was in the early 80s during one of those seasons you refer to. Back then it was just a straightforward Sci-Fi thriller that enthralled me. The fact I later came to understand the other layers only deepened my appreciation.

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  2. A great film, well worth all the praise chum. I know some people prefer the 1970s version, but they are dead wrong. None of the remakes are remotely as good in my view. The US special edition is very nice indeed (though it seems like pretty much all the significant extras were created for a DVD that was due in 2006 for its 50th anniversary that never made it to market) – but in terms of picture quality the German release is pretty much the same.

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  3. Colin, I like your observation regarding the film noir aspects of this classic science fiction film. I also have Ted Turner’s colorized version, and while I enjoy seeing this old favorite in color, I regard that as a kind of novelty, and always return to the black and white version if I want to experience the full effect.

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    • I’m not a fan of colorized movies, Patrick, and I’ve never seen this one in that form. I think the process, which alters the whole look and indeed mood of a film in my experience, would affect this movie considerably given the heavy reliance on noir cinematography techniques.

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  4. I know this will come across crazy……but, as of late, I’ve been wondering if something like this is actually happening right now in my own country of origin. Not necessarily with giant seed pods, but with aliens taking over people’s brains. Case in point, members of my own family seemed to have changed their ideology overnight from level headed patriots to passive progressive liberals.

    Colin…….if you think this post is too political in nature feel free to strike it. Ya know…..I’ve viewed this film the last 4 decades…….it’s just this time it seemed more plausible.

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    • I’ll not be striking anything, Scott. People are free to comment as they wish as long as it all remains civil and we don’t drift off into wholly uncinematic areas. The strange thing about the times we live in, and what feels like something of a throwback to earlier, divisive days is the way so many of us, regardless of whether our positions are to the left or the right, feel so polarized and disconnected with those holding other views.

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  5. I think the original Siegel ending would have become an absolute classic – that closeup of McCarthy’s terrified face as he screams, “They’re here already!. You’re next!”
    I just got the US Blu-ray and it has some great extras. Walter Mirisch said that no-one – Finney, Siegel, Wanger, Mainwairing – saw it as anything other than a thriller pure and simple. But your point about how the viewer sees the plot is well made.
    In a Kevin McCarthy interview, he tells how he was in South Africa six months after completing the film when he was called back to Hollywood to film the prologue and epilogue! Kevin also suggested a title for the film – Sleep No More, a Shakespeare quote.
    And to think, if you were to visit Sierra Madre, outside L.A., you’d be able to stand on the very spot in the town square where the lorries arrived filled with pods!
    I’m not that keen on Dana Wynter, find her rather bland, but I did like Carolyn Jones and Jean Willes.
    It’s up there for me, just behind The Day The Earth stood Still and The Thing From another World.

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    • Yes, the original ending packs a much more powerful punch but, as I said, the epilogue does come closer to the spirit of Finney’s book.
      The same could be said of Dana Wynter, although I felt she was fine to be honest, as I think her character as written in the book was pretty close to what she portrayed on screen.

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  6. Colin, this is a fantastic review. First let me say I love the poster. Of course promising more than we’ll actually get, but it is what it is.

    I’ve really been getting into 50s sci-fi lately and went into it a little bit in my Split Second review. I agree that the 50s were a great time from a filmmaking point of view, juxtaposing the duality of fear and fascination of the atomic age. Of course the sci fi genre lent itself perfectly to cautionary stories of paranoia and fear.

    To my shame I have to admit I actually haven’t seen this movie though it’s such a classic. I’ll go and track it down right away.

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    • Thanks, Margot, all I can say is you’re in for an absolute treat when you get round to this movie – it’s just superb.

      I haven’t seen Split Second for a good few years but I remember quite enjoying it – that review of yours is very fine and for those interested it can be found here.

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  7. It has been a couple of years since my last viewing of Invasion of the Body Snatchers and I approached it with some trepidation. I thought perhaps the years and familiarity would have smoothed out the edgy emotions. Thankfully, I needn’t have been worried. The chills still came and the uneasiness would creep up on me for days afterward.

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    • Yes, it’s got real staying power, doesn’t it? The creepy scenes never become anything less, and the mounting panic and shrinking options are presented at such an ideal pace that it always feels fresh. Not too many films can continue to give you the shivers after the passage of so many years and/or multiple viewings – the best of Val Lewton would be strong contenders for membership of that select group too, I suppose.

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  8. What a first-rate review, Colin! You have touched on so many relevant points of interest – the paranoia despite the apparent perfection of 50s America surroundings, the polarisation of people and, of course, the terrific ‘noir’ cinematography.

    It must be 30 or 40 years ago but BBC2 put on an extensive season of 50s sci-fi films that pulled together all the favourites from that era and I believe I watched every one of ’em. But “Invasion……” was perhaps the finest of them all.

    BTW, great that you throw in a mention of Val Lewton. Any thoughts of writing up any of those? (I aplogise if you have already done so previously!!).

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    • Jerry, I think that BBC2 season you mention might have been the one which first introduced this film, and a lot of other great stuff too, to me. I seem to remember Tuesday evenings, but a bit of searching round BBC Genome should clear that up. Actually, I feel sure this was the season in question.

      As for Lewton, I’ve written about a few of his films here, but really ought to get round to more.

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  9. I’ve not seen this version – just the Sutherland remake – which has some scenes so powerful that they stick in my mind to this day. Indeed there is something that is psychologically powerful – some fear – that embeds in you. Frankly I don’t watch a lot of Sci Fi because it not just borders on Horror, but IS Horror outright. Not my thing. Just me.

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    • I’d recommend giving it a go all the same. To be honest, I’m not much of a fan of horror myself – and certainly very little of what the genre produced from the mid-80s onward – but I do enjoy the classic variety (Universal, Val Lewton, Hammer) and this film is not in any way gory or similarly off-putting.

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  10. Among all the version of this story, the original by Don Siegel remains my favorite. Yeah, Phillip Kaufman’s 1978 remake was a timely and wonderful update, but this one, especially with noirish lighting and themes, is to die for. 😉 The black & white photography only adds to its greatness, along with a fine cast and setting (with many of its locations I’ve visited over the years in I live in the general area). Top notch review, Colin. 😀

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  11. Colin – Thanks for the review. The journalist, David Halberstam, wrote an 800-page book called The Fifties. It shattered my mental image of the era, of calm, grandfatherly President Eisenhower, orderly suburbs, teenagers at drive-ins, and cars with fins.

    The book depicted the ’50s as a time of change, of the arms race, the Iron Curtain, Korea, the French at Dien Bien Phu and our early involvement in Vietnam, unrest in the Middle East and South America, McCarthyism and black-listing in the U.S., beatniks, rock-n-roll, Elvis on TV, Brando and other anti-heroes on the big screen, the civil rights movement, civil defense drills, children ducking and covering under their school desks…

    Whoa, I’d better stop. You’re post touched a nerve and got me all riled up.

    But as film noir tapped into the dark side of the post WWII era, some of those great ’50s sci-fi and horror films were in touch with all the new fears.

    I wonder how audiences driving from their newly built, three-bedroom two-bath houses to the newly built streamline moderne movie theater felt when hit with “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”?

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    • It’s probably fair to say every decade has its own characteristics, but there is something about the 1950s, all the contradictions and changes, the stark contrast between hopes and fears, that holds the attention and, I think, led to some remarkable filmmaking.

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  12. I haven’t seen this in some time, I’d certainly love to see it in HD, as b&w films can look pretty terrific on blu-ray. How come classics like this don’t get releases here in the UK? I’ll have to look up the German edition. I do have Phillip Kaufman’s 1978 remake on blu and I do like that version; I’m probably biased by having bought the Fotonovel back when the film came out and having reread it so many times (this was in the days before VHS etc).

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    • The version of a movie we see first is very important in deciding our preferences, don’t you think?
      On B&W movies on Blu-ray, I fully agree that they look terrific and I’d add that B&W widescreen movies look even better again.

      The last post I had up on the site eventually led to a lot of conversation about comic book versions of classic western movies, and now we come to fotonovel adaptations – another stage in the evolution of spin-off merchandising.

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      • Well Colin, you’ve cost me some money in a roundabout way- looking at the German Invasion of the Body Snatchers blu-ray on Amazon Germany, I noticed Billy Wilder’s Avanti is on blu-ray over there. A big fan of Wilder and Jack Lemmon, I think Avanti is quite charming and could not resist this opportunity to retire my old DVD. There’s a few others out over there- The Fortune Cookie is one, The Front Page another- and I cannot fathom why Germany gets these and the UK doesn’t (I had to buy a blu-ray of How to Murder Your Wife, another Jack Lemmon film I love from Italy a few years ago). I can understand why the studios don’t release many catalogue titles here on blu-ray, but why doesn’t Arrow or Eureka go after some of these, considering how niche some of the titles that they do release can be?

        Anyway- Fotonovels. I used to love them. The tv Star Treks, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Battlestar Galactica, the larger-format Alien (think that was called a Movienovel or something). Curiously, it would be interesting to see/read how they designed and created those back then, with the tech those days, I always imagined they were quite hard to put together regards deciding which images to use, working out page counts, how to/where to put dialogue balloons. Very nerdish I guess but I was always curious.

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        • I’m a fan of Avanti too, a wonderful film that I fell in love with long ago and it just encapsulates so much of what is great about living in the Mediterranean. I don’t have that Blu-ray either so will need to do something about it as soon as I can. I also like >How to Murder Your Wife quite a bit too – a superb cast and a terrific Neal Hefti score – is the Italian BD of good quality?

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          • Sorry Colin I’ve been trying to find my copy to rewatch it but you know how it is – when you’re looking for a particular disc it’s nowhere to be found, and yet I’m certain I saw it on the shelf the other week and I thought it would be great to watch it again. As I recall the Italian BD was indeed great, and much better than my old DVD. Just wish I knew where it was. Too. Many. Discs.

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  13. Love this one, enjoy all the other versions but no contest, the ’56 is my favourite, and a top 5 scifi for me too. The idea of losing individuality and becoming a soulless thing is such a meaty concept and existential terror, it applies to any political, historical trend or event (or none at all if you prefer), no wonder it’s been an evergreen plot. Few movies are this lean and paranoid!

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    • The idea of losing individuality and becoming a soulless thing is such a meaty concept and existential terror, it applies to any political, historical trend or event (or none at all if you prefer)

      I agree. While we are all aware of the context of the film, the theme is such a timeless one that resonates every bit as strongly in very different eras and circumstances. Of course, the real test is whether or not it stands up as a drama which addresses the human condition, and it certainly does that.

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  14. Always felt the novel’s ending was similarly compromised. Especially since it was originally serialized in a mainstream mag.

    Also prefer the ’78 since it takes place in a society where everyone’s already already into personal transformation. The pods would’ve been overjoyed – if they were able.

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    • Bill, I’m OK with the ending, both of the novel and the film, although I also acknowledge the cinematic punch the epilogue-free would have had though and and can easily understand those who regret it.

      I hadn’t thought about that context for the 1978 version – interesting.

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      • The novel’s ending frankly contradicts the premise. The pods can’t be deflected by string emotions – they’ve landed on a planet full of emotions. But anything to deflect from a Podified Earth – the only possible outcome to the premise….

        Nor would calling out the Marines in the movie do any good. Pods are invincible. Like cockroaches.

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        • True, I guess it was just a miscalculation on the part of the aliens – it wouldn’t be the first of that kind, after all.
          And to tell the truth, I don’t mind a bit of positive feeling or hope at the end – God knows, it’s as necessary now as it must have been back in the mid-50s.

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            • I don’t think there’s much doubt about the ending of the film being imposed, but I hadn’t thought of the novel in those terms. I get your previous point about the apparent lack of logic, and the fact the story was originally published in serial form, but I don’t think I’ve heard it said before that Finney was was encouraged to amend it, not that this constitutes any kind of proof that he didn’t.

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  15. Colin, I really enjoyed reading your fine write-up of what I think, hands down, is one of the best Sci-Fi/Horror thrillers ever made. I first viewed INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS in 1971 on ABC Affiliate Channel 8 KAIT-TV Jonesboro, Arkansas. I really liked it at first viewing and I always will.

    I’ve enjoyed reading the comments and am pretty much in agreement. I think the genius of Jack Finney’s story, which first appeared as the serial THE BODY SNATCHERS in COLLIER’S MAGAZINE(26 Nov–24 Dec 1954), is that like George Orwell’s NINETEEN EIGHTY FOUR(1949), it can be used, and has been, by anyone of whatever political persuasion they espouse. Why? Because it is that inner feeling that we all have of losing our individuality and just becoming a “pod.” We are all different individuals and most of us function in groups, but we must always keep in mind that we aren’t an individual group, but a group of individuals. To me personally, losing my individuality, would be a nightmare come true. The makers of INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS, whether they intended to, or not, gave us this disturbing nightmare in black and white. Through the eyes of Dr. Miles Bennell(Kevin McCarthy) we should hope that every generation understands and heeds the warnings.

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    • Glad you chipped in, Walter, and that you’ve enjoyed the piece and the ensuing comments. Classic Sci-Fi in the 50s touched on some themes that resonate almost universally and that, along with the cinematic artistry, is a large part of why they continue to draw admiration.

      Your mention of where you first saw the movie made me smile as there’s a Jonesboro (or sometimes Jonesborough), County Armagh just a few miles from where I was born and raised.

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      • Colin, as we all know, since we are fans of Classic Movies, that all great movies stand the test of time and INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS(1956) stands to that fact.

        i remember the fotonovels of the 1970’s. I think I still have one from the TV STAR TREK show. Yes, this was before the days of affordable VCR’s.

        Yes, there are many Jonesboro’s and Jonesborough’s in the USA. Actress Julie Adams lived in Jonesboro, Arkansas for a couple of years, circa 1940. Also, there are many Irish descendants, of which I am. My paternal grandmother was a Patterson.

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        • It’s always interests me the way place names turn up in so many varied locations – not all that surprising, I suppose, when you think how far and wide people have migrated.

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  16. Walter and Colin,
    My paternal grandmother was also Irish (from Cork) and her family name was Furlong. Although she came to England as a young woman, met and married my grandfather, she never for one moment lost her ‘Irishness’. She was a lovely lady.

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      • Jerry and Colin, all this is very interesting and it does help us all connect in another way, besides being fans of Classic Movies. John K. and I have been having quite a discussion about being possible distant cousins. My great-grandmother had the same surname as John K. Also, Toby R’s great-grandparents had the same surname as John K. On another note, come to find out, my maternal grandfather did some cowboying near where Toby’s great-grandparents were living in Texas. My ancestors were from Germany, England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.

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  17. Hi Walter-
    Did you ever get booked to do Jury Service?
    I’ve missed you recently on these blogs.
    That was a fun discussion over at Toby’s Hannibal 8-
    ‘though Knight is such a common name I doubt if there
    really is a family connection.
    As mentioned at Toby’s I loved the tale of the John Knight
    who fought on both sides of the Civil War-now that cat sounds
    like he really could be part of my family tree. 🙂
    As I mentioned on that thread my father was brought up
    in Enniskillen,Notthern Ireland and my paternal grandmother’s
    name was Rooney.
    Like Colin I’m left handed but unlike Colin I’m a cat person,
    ‘though I do love dogs as well but prefer cats.
    I’ve missed you on the DOUBLE INDEMNITY thread over at
    Margot’s-I generally avoid commenting on all time classic movies
    but Barry drew me into the frame.
    This time Barry’s two Colt 45’s were fully loaded and his aim was
    deadly,to say the least.

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    • I’ve not looked too far into my own family history, no more than a generation or two back. The McGuigan name seems to have its origins in Tyrone, and though my family are almost all based around Armagh and Down, with my mother’s McDonnell and O’Neill roots there’s a pretty strong connection to that county.

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    • John K, regarding my Jury Duty obligations. The prosecuting attorney says to the judge, “Your Honor, Walter Severs is good for the state.” Then the defense attorney proceeds to strike me out. I think the defense believes that I probably won’t help their case. I believe that an individual is innocent until proven guilty, but I guess they are afraid of someone like me. I still have to show up for the next case, but if I’m not selected, I go home. This will continue through the month of March. Many times the cases are settled before they reach court, so possible jurors don’t have go to court that particular day.

      I realize that we are probably not blood related, but then you never know. That’s why Chill Wills called everyone cousin. Some people think I have somewhat colorful ancestors, but so do a lot of other people that I know.

      I can’t post any comments over on Margot’s blog anymore. My comments go out into cyberspace, somewhere. Also, I can’t post on Jeff’s, or Caftan Woman’s. I haven’t been able to since I used Malwarebytes to clear up some malware and such, and since then I haven’t been able to post on sites that take Google Accounts for some reason, or other. I even tried using Anonymous to post and that didn’t work either. On sites where all you need is an e-mail address I can comment, but on sites where it has comment as: Google Account, Name/URL, and Anonymous my comments fly out into cyberspace. Also, it might be that blog sites that have comments embedded, I can’t post, because on blogs that have open page for comments, I’m able to comment. That would be Colin’s, Toby’s, Laura’s, Vienna’s, and Kristina’s. I don’t know if any of this makes sense, but that is the way it is.

      If Margot reads this, I would like to say that I really liked her write-up on DOUBLE INDEMNITY. I agree with the way she saw Walter Neff(Fred MacMurray). Also, John K, I enjoyed your comments and I went over and read your write-up on Lesley Selander’s BLACKMAIL(1947). Good job, I really enjoyed it and now I want to view the Republic Noir Movie.

      Albert Finney R.I.P.

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      • Too bad about the blogs that you can no longer access.
        Your contributions are always essential reading,especially the
        input you have contributed to Margot’s blog.
        So glad you enjoyed my Selander piece-I was so glad
        Barry brought him into the mix and I don’t think he would have
        much of a register on Margot’s radar.
        I think I may have mentioned this before but I was seriously
        considering bringing to a close my blogging activities-I’m making
        too many trips to the same well and as they say in the gambling/
        betting ads “When the fun stops…Stop!”
        Walter it’s only your contributions and the rapport that we have
        that have re energised me,and encouraged me to carry on.
        If I do decide to call it a day I will always have a few blogs that
        will always be essential reading,I’m at the stage now when I enjoy
        reading them as opposed to making contributions to them.

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          • That’s incredibly sweet of you Colin,
            I’ve been doing this for too long,I guess.
            As you quiet rightly say we all have to step back,
            sometimes.
            I remember Richard W a regular here and at
            Toby’s now seems,sadly to have disappeared into
            the ether. If I recall correctly RTHC was his all time
            favourite blog.
            I will always check into RTHC even if I don’t comment.

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        • John K, I can still read those blogs, which I will continue to do, whether I can comment online or not. I’m glad you have taken a shine to what little I contribute, because I so enjoy all the information on movies that you bring up. Many of them I haven’t seen before and would like to. My movie education continues onward and upward. I appreciate your online friendship and rapport also, along with others that I have come in contact with, because it is a joy.

          I understand the need to sometimes step back from blogging activities, because life does get in the way, at times. Well, I hope that you will continue to comment on what we all love. Have a great day.

          Walter Severs

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        • One more thing, John K and Walter (and everybody else), don’t stop commenting. For everybody who has a blog, this is a labor of love. Comments from readers are the only acknowledgement and compensation we get. Don’t just read, say something. 🙂

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          • Yes, this point is well made. None of us do this for a living or make money from it, and I can easily recall how it was back in the early days of my own site when an audience hadn’t yet built up – I doubt if anyone does this stuff out of vanity or simply to chase hits, but feedback of any kind does help remind you that you’re not merely speaking in a vacuum.

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      • Walter, hello, yes I am reading this. It’s a shame you can’t comment anymore. But sometimes these things take care of themselves and it will be possible again. There were some blogs I couldn’t comment on for a while but all of a sudden it worked just fine again.

        I have some problems with my blog now as I changed my email address and it seems to mess everything up.

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            • Of course there are probably those who feel the exact opposite to be true, that Blogger is more feedback-friendly. I have a hunch it’s mainly users of the different platforms who experience glitches from time to time when cross posting.

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            • Margot, I’ve found my problem of not being able to comment on your essential blog. Google Chrome seems to be taking away my freedom of choice to beef up my security. I used Exployer and got through. I was in hopes that I would finally figure it out. I hope this might help someone else, if they are having the same problem.

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  18. Sorry to hear your comments are being limited, Walter. I had wondered where you had got to over at Jeff’s. I use Malwarebytes on my computer too but thankfully haven’t encountered the same issues.

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  19. I feel compelled to throw in a comment from time to time even though I don’t have the depth of background knowledge of John K. or the eloquence of Walter. But it is ESSENTIAL , as Margot says, that we continue to contribute in order to keep these wonderful blogs alive and thriving. I have learnt so much about a thing I have loved all my life from these comments. PLEASE keep ’em coming.

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    • Jerry, I feel I’ve had my knowledge enriched by your comments here and elsewhere and I imagine others feel the same.
      As someone who maintains a blog, I have to say that by far the most enjoyable aspect of it all is seeing how the conversations develop and spin off in all kinds of directions – this is both entertaining and valuable due to all the varied info casually exchanged.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Jerry, thank you for your kind words. I’ve really enjoyed your memories and observations on this and other blogs. Also, I feel that we are friends. Take care and have a great day.

      Walter Severs

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  20. Jerry, your somewhat self effacing comments were unwarranted, I perhaps, may be able to comment on ATTACK OF THE CRAB MONSTERS more so than you, yet your impressive knowledge of “series” B Westerns, the stars,the directors indicates your lifelong devotion to the genre.
    We all have our own so called “specialist” areas but the whole fun of it is to get feedback from others,whatever type of movie we are discussing. Myself,I feel more in my comfort zone discussing W Lee Wilder, rather than Billy,but anyone wanting a more informed analysis regarding Billy should check Colin’s recent post over at Margot’s.

    Liked by 2 people

    • John, while I readily admit I’m a great fan of Billy Wilder, I also know he won’t appeal to everyone. Having said that, I felt some of the criticism voiced was misplaced, or maybe misdirected is a better way of putting it.

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      • Colin, Concerning Barry’s acerbic Wilder comments, I always enjoy his posts purely because he brings a spirit of anarchy to these blogs,and for me that’s most welcome. I did have this discussion with Margot, sometime back-the fact as film fans we sometimes can be a bit too reverential about the old movies that we all love so much-Barry deconstructs much of that and I rather like it. For me at least Barry makes me question previously held views; which I also like.
        As far as Wilder is concerned, he more or less lost me after KISS ME STUPID but that’s just down to my personal taste, not a slight on the films that followed.
        Barry’s comments regarding later Preminger I totally agree with. A few nights ago I watched WHILE THE CITY SLEEPS and found it tired and incredibly slow moving-a real snooze fest. Most of the cast were on their way down apart from Price, who would soar with a little help from Castle and Corman. Great cast; incredibly tired movie. Again it’s all down to personal taste the film does have it’s admirers.

        While on the subject of great directors at the tail end of their careers I see Twilight Time are about to release THE RIVER’S EDGE which I consider to be the last great Allan Dwan picture. It’s fine to know that there is a restored high-def version of this film available and I hope someone in Europe picks it up.
        As you know Don Siegel is my all time favourite director- and Vienna’s comments more or less nailed it for me. It is just such a shame his career never ended on a higher note.

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        • Personally, I had and have no problem with the criticism of Wilder – it’s impossible for all of us to feel the same about everything, after all. What a bit more fired up, shall we say, was the angle of approach – I didn’t and don’t feel that political slant which was used was justified, I don’t see it there in the way indicated and felt the director was being criticized for reasons which, in all honesty, were not supported by the evidence of his work – so not so much a case of the director having an agenda a viewer objected to as much as a viewer mistakenly presuming the existence of that agenda and then berating the director for pushing a point he hadn’t made in the first place.

          On While the City Sleeps, I like that movie more than you, John. That’s probably not a surprise as I don’t think Lang did much wrong throughout his time in Hollywood – I wrote about the film years ago here.

          As for late era Siegel, he did get a bit slack but I still enjoy his work up to and including Rough Cut, which I’d be happy to buy if it were to become available. And yes, I know that objectively it’s not a good film and my admission won’t add anything to my credibility, but there you have it!

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          • Thanks for the link to your WHILE THE
            CITY SLEEPS review,I enjoyed reading it
            and take on board the points that you make-
            it’s just one of those films that I wish that I could
            love more than I do-we all have some of those don’t we.
            Interesting the lack of feedback that you had for
            some of your fine essays back in those days,
            thank goodness you persevered.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Glad you enjoyed reading it, John.
              Actually, I originally started the blog on another platform before migrating it to the current site, hence the large number of posts that seem to date from December 2011. In the move a number of comments (at least five or six hundred) were lost – I remember an interesting chat Blake and I had on Rio Conchos that disappeared, for example. Even so, the feedback was much less back in the early days for sure.

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  21. Kind words, my friends, and appreciated. When it comes to B-westerns though, in the company of my buddy John Brooker I am a mere novice! I guess really I’m just a fan.

    I feel the friendship too, Walter, and value it.

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