Invaders from Mars (Force) (1953)
Menu Animation & Audio
|Year Of Production||1953|
|Running Time||75:07 (Case: 78)|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||1,2,3,4,5,6||Directed By||William Cameron Menzies|
Edward L. Alperson
Beyond Home Entertainment
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Screen, not known whether Pan & Scan or Full Frame||English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (224Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||Unknown||Miscellaneous|
|Subtitles||None||Smoking||Yes, Pipe smoking|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
DVD has come of age. You can now, thanks to Force Video, watch classic 50s sci-fi movies right in your own home. Amazing. Whether you would want to or not is a different matter. For me, the nostalgia value is very high, and movies like Invaders From Mars remind me of a more innocent time, when I could be genuinely scared by rubber-suited men carrying plastic poles.
The plot, such as it is, strikes me as being very reminiscent of a truly great film from this era, War Of The Worlds, though it lacks the relative refinement afforded by a larger budget. Young David sees a genuine flying saucer crash near his home. Happy-go-lucky dad goes to investigate, and comes back a zombie. His mum does the same. Sensing something is wrong, our intrepid youth enlists the help of the police, a doctor, a pipe-wielding astronomer scientist and an army general with troops to do their duty as Americans to rid their soil of these Martians. Everyone is entirely stereotypical, and “Gee-Wizz”, “Gosh”, “Golly” and “Heck” fly around with the same ease as the Martian’s space ship.
It’s wonderful stuff, and should be watched with a sense of the times it was made in, and the target audience in mind. Watch out for the ending, though, which is about as lame as they come and worth the price of admission on its own.
As with the other similar releases from Force, the transfer quality is poor, yet strangely compelling.
The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, and is not 16x9 enhanced. I am unable to determine the original aspect ratio, however it does not appear that this is Pan & Scan and is probably Full Frame.
The image appears highly processed, and is very soft. There are no instances where any kind of detail is present, rather everything has a smooth sheen to it, devoid of clarity or fine detail. There is no active grain whatsoever in the image, something I will explain later. There is also almost no shadow detail; when things get dark, such as in the mutant's cave system, you are basically blind to the happenings. The image has no depth, simply appearing very flat and lifeless.
Colours varied throughout the movie, being very artificial looking. Skin tones drifted wildly, at times appearing too red, at others too pale. The transfer essentially has a monochrome feel to it, with dashes of colour here and there.
The whole transfer has a very large problem, that being latency. Images on the screen leave a trail, at times worse than others, but always present. Also, different sections of the image often wobble independently. Smoke often appears blocky, and has a jerky stepped movement. Normally, these things might be attributed to poor MPEG compression. In this instance, however, given that the image is very soft and the data rate is very high and often tops at 10 megabits per second, I believe the problems are a result of extreme noise reduction. There is no active noise in the image at all, being totally removed by processing. If the processing was done some time ago, this would easily explain most of the problems visible. There are constant film artefacts along with bright red reel markers, also indicating that this transfer is not very young.
There are no subtitles.
There is one English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono soundtrack, and it is not too bad.
The dialogue, whilst hardly sounding natural, was quite easy on the ears and was not shrill or heavily compressed sounding. I had little difficulty understanding what was being said at any time., and there were no real audio sync problems.
The unrelenting onslaught that is this movie’s soundtrack is typical of its day, being a brash and strident orchestration with so many ups and downs as to make you feel queasy. Designed to keep you on the edge of your seat, it certainly does that; but in this case to turn the volume down. It is nostalgic, and it does do its job as well as could be expected. There is the occasional pop and stutter now and then, though nothing to be alarmed by.
There is no surround channel activity, nor subwoofer rumblings.
|Surround Channel Use|
The Region 1 version of this DVD appears similarly specified to our version.
|DVD||Toshiba SD-900E, using RGB output|
|Display||Pioneer SD-T43W1 16:9 RPTV. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.|
|Amplification||Sony STR DB-930|
|Speakers||Front & Rears: B&W DM603 S2, Centre: B&W LCR6, Sub: B&W ASW500|