ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Greatest Golden Age Sci-Fi Movies - 1953: War of the worlds

Updated on April 30, 2009

 Ah, to think that at the time that this motion picture premiered it was considered a colossal blockbuster. It was shot in Technicolor by Paramount Pictures with a budget of over two million dollars, which during that era of filmmaking would equate to easily two hundred million dollars in today's production budgets. Based on one of the most famous and well-known novels in the history of early science fiction, War of the worlds by Herbert George Wells, and building on the notoriety of the mass nationwide panic sparked of the great Orson Welles' radio broadcast version, it was a sure winner for the studio. Sure enough, it turned out that it became a science fiction standard that has to some extent survived the passing of well over half a century.

As jaded as we are from motion pictures that have essentially the same basic plot of alien invasions but much greater sophistication in the special effects that actually take us vividly and irrevocably into a major metropolis that is being devastated by phenomenal weapons harnessing incredible destructive energies, the modern audience has to acknowledge that for 1953, the scenes of the advancing martian spacecraft is still damned impressive.

The alien nemesis in War of the worlds has never been better characterized in science fiction since then. It doesn't attempt to take on human form, communicate to humans in any way, or engage in any other form of vacuous science fiction plot artifice stupidity. After all, species evolved on different planets will have absolutely nothing in common, no way to communicate to each other, and won't even have the desire to try. The martians are here to take over the planet. That's it. They don't want to talk, or negotiate, or kidnap, or mate, or mess around with us in any way. We're in their way, we have nothing to match their weapons, and we're going to be toast. Let those death rays spark out from those snake-like spacecraft heads: Fried homo sapiens is on the Mars Diner menu tonight!

The purity, realism and beauty of this story could certainly be adopted by modern science fiction screenwriters who have been brought up believing that sapient alien life is actually just your typical homo sapiens plus a wrinkled latex forehead. As much as I can appreciate Star Wars, Star Trek, and all that ilk, the bottom line is that the likelihood of having hominid life on another planet is roughly equivalent to acheiving a personal endorsement by me that Dollhouse is the best science fiction TV series ever, or even worse that the Tom Cruise remake of this classic is anything more than ematogenic garbage.

Humans are on the run and being charred like burgers on a steel smelter when the invading aliens come up against an Earth-borne foe that they have no defense against: the common cold virus. Extremely interesting and relevant at a time when the H1N1 Mexican Swine Flu seems to be on the verge of causing a global pandemic, it is a few microns of inanimate matter that bring down the martians, not the combined nuclear capacity of the United States and the rest of the Fifties great world powers.

Let's just hope that we don't end up like those poor martians!

1953: War of the worlds

Directed by
Byron Haskin
Screenwriting by
H.G. Wells (for the novel)
Barre Lyndon (for the screenplay)

 Dr. Clayton Forrester - Gene Barry
 Sylvia Van Buren - Ann Robinson
 Maj. Gen. Mann - Les Tremayne
 Dr. Pryor (as Bob Cornthwaite) - Robert Cornthwaite
 Dr. Bilderbeck - Sandro Giglio
 Pastor Dr. Matthew Collins - Lewis Martin
 Gen. Mann's aide - Houseley Stevenson Jr.
 Second Radio Reporter / Opening Announcer - Paul Frees
 Wash Perry (as Bill Phipps) - William Phipps
 Col. Ralph Heffner - Vernon Rich
 Cop at Crash Site - Henry Brandon
 Salvatore - Jack Kruschen


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Hal Licino profile imageAUTHOR

      Hal Licino 

      9 years ago from Toronto

      Cruise's reverse Midas touch was working overtime on War. I wouldn't go see anything with him in it unless he was on screen writing me big Scientology checks. :)

    • profile image

      Opinion Duck 

      9 years ago


      The Tom Cruise remake was poor.

      The original had more story line but it also fell apart toward the end of the picture.

      Still it was a great movie.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)