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Invasion USA

Language:

English   Country: USA   Year: 1952

Invasion USA
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Director:

Alfred Green

Starring:

Gerald Mohr; Peggie Castle

Genres:

DramaSci Fi & Fantasy

Synopsis:

A mystrious stranger named Mr. Ohman visits a New York bar and convinces the patrons that the Communists are invading and haved dropped the H-bomb on Manhattan Black & White.

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User Reviews

 

(Average=3.70 out of 5; Total Number=10)


NYTimes Says IUSA One Of 10 Notable 2002 DVD Releases (rating=5)

From the New York Times - December 15, 2002
"Bigger Movies, Sometimes Better" by Dave Kehr
"As the DVD market matures, more and more of these deluxe editions are being produced. Here are 10 notable releases from 2002..."
Invasion USA
"The movie itself - a lurid fantasy of a Soviet invasion of 1950's America, largely assembled from World War II newsreel shots - is no classic. But the DVD presentation neatly places "Invasion U.S.A." within the hysterical context of the Red Scare and its cultural byproducts. Included are two Civil Defense radio documentaries, the Jack Webb short "Red Nightmare" and a wealth of bibliographical material. This is an ambitious release from Synapse Films, a newcomer that specializes in scholarly reissues of obscure horror and fantasy films."
The other titles in Kehr's list include Sunset Boulevard, The Royal Tenenbaums, Near Dark, Reservoir Dogs, The Mood for Love, Griffith Masterworks, Tabu, Lord of the Rings, and Used Cars.

Enjoyable "Red Scare" Exploitation Movie (rating=3)

INVASION USA (1952) does not feature Chuck Norris, so readers are advised to ignore all other reviews on this page, at least for the time being.

This film features Peggie Castle (BEGINNING OF THE END) and Gerald Mohr (ANGRY RED PLANET), and it's a cautionary fantasy tale about the need for America to "be prepared" militarily. The premise is that assorted "average people" in a bar are hypnotized and made to imagine that World War III has begun, with Russians dropping A-bombs on San Francisco, Hoover Dam, NYC, and so on, airlifting troops into Washington D.C. and storming the halls of Congress... The Russian invaders are most unscrupulous and, to make matters worse, ill-mannered; the Americans are innocent, peace-loving and hopelessly naive. At least half of the completed film is military stock footage, utilized rather effectively. The thin plot, involving the actors in one crisis/disaster after another, is melodramatic, banal and very funny.

I wouldn't call INVASION USA (1952) a "good" film, but I can recommend it to people with a high tolerance for other people's hysteria. It's an historic artifact, a cultural signpost, and a really bad movie all rolled into one videocassette.

A Provocative, Historically Significant Classic (rating=5)

Invasion USA is essentially the grand-daddy of all nuclear war movies, a remarkable film released in 1953 that almost certainly proved frightening to movie audiences of that era. Nowadays, the film exudes an aura of campiness and, depending on one's political viewpoint, draws either laughs or respect (and sometimes both). Invasion USA is definitely a Cold Warriors movie, an unforgettable piece of cinematic propaganda that turned its spotlights clearly on the threat of the Red menace. Making liberal use of stock footage from World War II, this movie not only offers a vision of Communist invasion but explains why such an invasion might succeed, thus rallying the American people not to retreat into post-war isolationism and materialism. The price of freedom is eternal vigilance, and this is the message Invasion USA conveyed rather impressively.

I happen to think this movie is brilliant. I was born in 1970, and I knew the fear of nuclear war as a child. For those living in the 1950s, the fear of nuclear was an even more pervasive threat - as was Communism. I still hate Communism with every fiber of my being, and for me personally the Cold War will not end until the number of Communists in the world falls all the way to zero. The generation coming of age today does not truly know the gnawingly pervasive threat of intercontinental nuclear war nor do today's youth remember a world in which the USSR not only existed but cast dark shadows across many parts of the world. To many today, the Red Scare conjures up comical images of a fanatical Joseph McCarthy and the John Birch Society looking for Communists under rocks and park benches. Invasion USA will thus strike many viewers today as rather silly, but I regard this as, to some degree, an educational film that offers an insightful look into the American mind of the 1950s. Certainly, the characters are rather two-dimensional, the dialogue is unintentionally funny on several occasions, and the ending is likely to produce a few groans among modern audiences, but the film's theme and message is not only historically informative but still, in the broadest sense, relevant and instructive.

The setup and "kicker" plot twist at the end may well leave one with a bad taste in his/her mouth initially, but Invasion USA is still capable of resonating over time in the minds of those who see it. It is really an unusual film in more ways than one. Not only does it offer a frightening vision of America subjugated by an unnamed yet ruthless and easily identifiable enemy, it assigns the blame for this possible future defeat on a populace of men and women too concerned with their own lives and desires to look out for the interests of the nation. One of the characters in the film, for example, is a wealthy tractor manufacturer who just turned down a government request to produce needed military tanks, putting profit above patriotism. Complacency and the voluntary wearing of blinders among a population sick of world wars is shown to be the weakest link in America's contemporary defense. Everybody complains about taxes, concentrates solely on their own needs, and goes about his/her life pretending that America could never possibly be attacked - script writer Robert Smith clearly communicated the dangerous vulnerability implicit in such a worldview. Invasion USA is a clarion call to a prosperous people courting danger by avoiding a frightening truth. The film was amazingly effective in delivering this crucial and timely warning to its audience. The same message applies in our own world; while the threat comes from a different source, only a vigilant and cooperative attitude among the American people can safeguard our freedoms from those who wish to destroy us.

Clearly, Invasion USA was a success, one which soon led to similar films built around the horrifying threat of nuclear war. The movie earned more than one million dollars - not too shabby for a film shot in the course of only seven days on a budget of one hundred twenty seven thousand dollars. Stock footage from World War II makes up some 30% of the film. Fictional news broadcasts explaining the progress (or, more correctly, lack of progress) in the war leave room for only so much actual human interaction and dialogue - this is perhaps fortunate, as the characters are less than captivating in and of themselves. Still, there is enough of a personal dimension to the tragedy unleashed on film to really bring Invasion USA's message across to the sympathetic viewer. It's impossible not to laugh at parts of this movie all these decades later, but there is an eternally valuable message - exaggerated as it may be - here that all freedom-loving men and women would do well to ponder over.


Summary