INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS (Philip Kaufman, 1978)
Anthology Film Archives
32 Second Ave. at Second St.
Friday, November 30, 7:00, Tuesday, December 4, 9:00, and Sunday, December 9, 6:30
Series runs November 30 - December 10
Based on a magazine serial by Jack Finney, Don Siegel’s 1956 classic, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, was the ultimate thriller about cold war paranoia. Twenty-two years later, in a nation just beginning to come to grips with the failure of the Vietnam War, Philip Kaufman (The Right Stuff, Quills) remade the film, moving the location north to San Francisco from the original’s Los Angeles. When health inspector Matthew Bennell (Donald Sutherland) and lab scientist Elizabeth Driscoll (Brooke Adams) suspect that people, while they sleep, are being replaced by pod replicas, they have a hard time making anyone believe them, especially Dr. David Kibner (Leonary Nimoy), who takes the Freudian route instead. But when Jack and Nancy Bellicec (Jeff Goldblum and Veronica Cartwright) seem to come up with some physical proof, things begin to get far more serious — and much more dangerous. Kaufman’s film is one of the best remakes ever made, paying proper homage to the original while standing up on its own, with an unforgettable ending (as well as an unforgettable dog). It cleverly captures the building selfishness of the late 1970s, which would lead directly into the Reagan era. As an added treat, the film includes a whole bunch of cameos, including Siegel as a taxi driver, Robert Duvall as a priest, and Kevin McCarthy, who starred as Dr. Miles Bennell in the original, still on the run, trying desperately to make someone believe him. The sc-fi thriller, adapted by W. D. Richter (Daniel Mainwaring wrote the 1956 version), is screening as part of the fourth installment of Anthology Film Archives’ “From the Pen of . . .” series, which highlights the work of screenwriters and their original sources, whose work often gets overlooked if it doesn’t win an Oscar. The eleven-day festival also includes such films as John Boorman’s Point Blank, written by Alexander Jacobs based on a Donald Westlake novel; Philip D’Antoni’s The Seven-Ups, written by Jacobs and Albert Reuben, with French Connection and Cruising cop Randy Jurgensen on hand to talk about the movie at the December 1 screening; and John Schlesinger’s Midnight Cowboy, written by Waldo Salt based on the the novel by James Leo Herlihy.