Monday, February 2, 2009

Invaders from Mars Montage Finale

Invaders from Mars was directed by William Cameron Menzies and released in 1953. The collector's edition DVD I purchased contains a terrific booklet giving the entire history of the film and it's production, including it's supposed 3-D preparation (not really true) and the tussles between the writer of the movie (John Battle) and the writer of the story (Richard Blake). It was made on the cheap as evidenced by the green felt jumpsuits worn by the underground mutants and the Martian head that resembles an old-school NFL Concussion helmet. But none of that mattered to Menzies who was all about production design (Oscar winner for Gone With The Wind) and montage, which he used to great extent in his first directorial effort, Things to Come (1936).

In this closing montage, everyone flees from the impending Martian spaceship explosion. They flee. And flee. And flee. The shot of the boy, Jimmy Hunt, running and running and running, as the choir yelps louder and louder is mesmerizing to this viewer. Maybe I can't explain it or rationalize to you, dear reader, in any objective intellectual way, but for me, the giddy exuberance of a director going surrealistic on a shoestring is like a gift to be treasured. It's a favorite sequence of mine from Sci-Fi history. Enjoy.