Wednesday, August 22, 2007
The soon-to-be-released The Invasion (with Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig) will mark the fourth movie version of the Jack Finney sci-fi novel, Invasion of the Body Snatchers. While Don Siegel’s 1956 original still garners much deserved kudos and Abel Ferrara’s 1993 take has it’s share of cult followers, it is Phillip Kaufman’s 1978 movie, just out in DVD Collectors Edition form (MGM $19.95), that remains seared into my brain. Kaufman, a vastly overlooked and underrated American filmmaker (The Right Stuff, The Wanderers, The Unbearable Lightness of Being) set his pod takeover movie in the laid back Bay area, in a place and time when the good vibes of Woodstock Nation had mutated into Yuppie self-satisfaction, a setting where every other Me Decade participant might as well have been body snatched. Kaufman’s version is a sleek and taut thriller, more Hitchcockian then sci-fi allegorical, peppered with an overall sense of paradise lost rather than paranoia fought. Well cast (Jeff Goldblum, Brooke Adams, Leonard Nimoy, Veronica Cartwright), it also boasts a few cheeky doses of humor spread throughout, including cameos from Don Siegel and the star of the original film, Kevin McCarthy. It was well-received film upon it release, yet it has somehow sunk into undeserved obscurity.