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My favorite 1953 SciFi Movie: War of the Worlds

Updated on October 4, 2014

The hills

Puente Hills, La Puente, California 1953
Puente Hills, La Puente, California 1953 | Source

Behind the scene

In 1953, actors dressed as policemen ran all over those hills but they looked real from our house. It was for a scene early in the movie. The Puente Hills were not listed as a location in the IMDb location list but that doesn't matter to me. The fact they were there made it very much my movie.

Synopsis and editorial comment

The Martians land around the globe and vaporize people. The American’s fight them with atomic bombs to no avail.

The story, no matter where it is set or the year, is compelling and food for thought. The remakes are equally good and every bit as scary as the one that frightened me. As a child I wondered if the atomic bombs were more dangerous than the aliens but it appears not.

While there are some major differences between characters in the book and the movie, the ending remains the same. Man tried to defeat the Martians with all the weapons at their disposal but they were eventually undone by the smallest thing. In the end, the Martians were defeated by a virus that man had become immune to. Who knew a simple cold like virus could save the world?

Not the first time War of the Worlds scared a generation

Scaring an earlier generation, the adaptation of H. G. Wells, War of the Worlds, was broadcast on the Mercury Theatre on the Air radio program. The Halloween special aired on October 30, 1938. Since it ran without commercials, many people who tuned in late missed the opening disclaimer that it was a work of fiction. Needless to say, it created a bit of a ruckus

Part of a scene shot in our hills


The movie trailer

Want your very own copy of War of the Worlds? I have mine.

The remake was pretty good

Which is your favorite War of the Worlds movie?

See results

H. G. Wells

H. G. Wells was a prolific writer penning several well known works like The Time Machine and The Invisible Man. The War of the Worlds was first published in 1897 as a serial for Cosmopolitan in the United State and Pearson's Magazine in the United Kingdom. It didn't appear in book form until 1898.

H. G. Wells credited the success of War of the Worlds to Orson Welles who produced the radio broadcast in 1938.

War of the Worlds - 2005 remake

A nod to the remake

I am not generally a fan of remakes. I like the originals better but have to admit they did a good job with this movie.

In the 1950s we were taught our military might could solve all problems. In the remake, the military takes a back seat while the human spirit battles for the right to live. Either way, the Martians still remain scary and the thought of an invasion still frightens children now as it did so long ago.

What do you think of The War of the Worlds?

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    • ladyguitarpicker profile image

      stella vadakin 2 years ago from 3460NW 50 St Bell, Fl32619

      The 1953 version was the best. Gene Barry was the best in this movie. A good movie for it's time.

    • Robert Sacchi profile image

      Robert Sacchi 3 years ago

      Yes, that 1978 album, narrated by Richard Burton, was excellent. The music was also very good.

    • Erin Mellor profile image

      Erin Mellor 3 years ago from Europe

      When I was a kid we had the album version of the musical, I loved listening to it, and when I saw the 1953 film I loved that too. The Tom Cruise one? Not so much.

    • Diane Cass profile image

      Diane Cass 3 years ago from New York

      I've always loved this movie. It's a classic. I like the updated version too.

    • Ann Hinds profile image

      Ann Hinds 3 years ago from So Cal

      It's been many years since I read the book. I'll have to download it on Kindle and read it again. Thanks for letting me know. I loved both movies.

    • Robert Sacchi profile image

      Robert Sacchi 3 years ago

      The version with Tom Cruise had many more elements from the book than the 1953 version.

    • Ann Hinds profile image

      Ann Hinds 3 years ago from So Cal

      Ron, I'm old fashioned too and basically a purist. I don't generally like remakes but have to say that I really enjoyed the Tom Cruise version. Heck, it's SciFi, I'm going to like it anyway.

    • RonElFran profile image

      Ronald E Franklin 3 years ago from Mechanicsburg, PA

      I remember reading War of the Worlds in my younger days, and seeing the Gene Barry movie on TV. It never occurred to me to go see the Tom Cruise version. Old fashioned, I guess.

    • Pam Irie profile image

      Pam Irie 3 years ago from Land of Aloha

      How fun that the original movie was filmed in your neck of the woods!

    • Ann Hinds profile image

      Ann Hinds 3 years ago from So Cal

      I am familiar with Walnut and Diamond Bar. Old stomping grounds before it became homes.

    • SheGetsCreative profile image

      Angela F 3 years ago from Seattle, WA

      I couldn't vote because I've yet to see the original... but I know where the Puente Hills are! My father lived in Walnut & Diamond Bar in the 70s and 80s

    • Pawpawwrites profile image

      Jim 3 years ago from Kansas

      It has been a long time, but I remember I liked it when I saw it.

    • Nancy Hardin profile image

      Nancy Carol Brown Hardin 3 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      I must have missed this one. But I loved most of the outer space movies in the 50s and 60s. Nice work here!

    • Brite-Ideas profile image

      Barbara Tremblay Cipak 3 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      I haven't seen the original, but I did enjoy the remake!

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 3 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      I'm not sure if I've seen this movie. I should check it out. You made the locale sound enticing, for sure!

    • profile image

      retief2000 3 years ago

      This has already shaped up to be a fun Hub for me. When I was a kid my favorite movies were Science Fiction. Two of my favorites from the 50's are mentioned right here. War of the Worlds and When Worlds Collide were both in wonderful Technicolor and produced by the prodigious George Pal.

    • DrBillSmithWriter profile image

      William Leverne Smith 3 years ago from Hollister, MO

      What fun! Love the opening photo! My favorite was "When Worlds Collide"… just me! Thanks for sharing!! ;-)

    • Robert Sacchi profile image

      Robert Sacchi 3 years ago

      Yes, the 1953 vintage War of the Worlds was by far the best adaptation of the H. G. Wells book, The War of the Worlds.

    • TreasuresBrenda profile image

      Treasures By Brenda 3 years ago from Canada

      I'm pretty sure I saw War of the Worlds once upon a time. I should revisit it.