Saturday, March 25, 2006
"Body Snatchers" -- The Popsurfing Review
I went to see Invasion of the Body Snatchers last night at Film Forum, which is in the midst of a Don Siegel festival. (It's not exactly packing them in, but it is fun.) I'd seen Philip Kaufman's remake and found it pretty dull, unlike many friends who think it's terrific. I was sure the original would be fun, but it was GREAT. The few amusingly archaic moments -- like how our doctor-hero pops pills into patients faster than you can say "pod people" -- bring smiles but don't distract. The two leads -- Kevin McCarthy and Dana Wynter -- are both modestly talented but have serious chemistry, enjoy the relatively sophisticated banter (jokes about both of these divorcees having just come back from Reno) and surely never did better work. The concept is creepy, the execution so tight and streamlined that you never question it and the possible takes on what it all means (the Communist threat, suburban conformity, simple paranoia) are endless and fun. Loved it. Film Forum says the prologue and epilogue were tacked on by the studio against Siegal's wishes and some DVD company should present both versions since it would be so easy to show the bleaker finale with McCarthy running down the highway screaming that they're already here. Catch it if you can.