Invasion of the Body Snatchers Times Four

Quite a few movies about invading aliens scared us during the collision of the Atomic Era with the Space Age in the 1950s.

Only one, however, transforms like some space creature to fit the zeitgeist of each new generation. Several of those original 50s films about aliens have been remade once.

The original 1956 “Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” directed by Don Seigel, who would later do the first Dirty Harry film with Clint Eastwood, demonstrated a certain plastic ability to fit the viewers perceptions right away. Some saw the unfeeling pod people as commentary on the regimented thinking expected of communists, while others saw it as commentary on the regimented thinking of McCarthyism.

Many film buffs still think this is the best of the films. Its collectibles certainly bring the highest prices, with lobby cards in good condition selling for $150 and more each and one-sheets going for more than $1,000. I bought one 20 years ago for $30 and a couple of lobby cards I still have in absolutely perfect condition for about $5 each then.

Phil Kauffman’s “Body Snatchers”

In 1978, Phil Kauffman, who also directed “The Right Stuff,” another film I like quite a lot, helmed the second version of “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.” It parodied the psycho-babble of the era, San Francisco acceptance of wonkiness, and political paranoia left over from the Nixon years .

Personally, I think this version is the best (so far). Its collectibles sell for decent if not excessive prices. I recently bought a French set of lobby cards from this version for under $30. I buy almost anything from this version and have American color stills, a German lobby card set, a pressbook and the one-sheet. Altogether they did not cost more than about $100.

”Body Snatchers” for the 90s and beyond

The 1993 version takes on the Army and paranoia about environmental pollution. It’s well directed by Abel Ferrara and delivers more than a few chills. I picked up the one-sheet from this version for $20 plus postage.

The latest version, starring the Queen of the Remakes, Nicole Kidman (who is often the best thing about them), is, Roger Ebert correctly opines, least of the lot. It focuses on paranoia about an out-of-control epidemic. The one-sheet, a nice shot of Kidman, remains inexpensive.

Tbe going rate for most recent posters such as this one still hover in the $20 to $25 range for really desirable items.You won’t get a poster from the most recent version of “Blade Runner” at that price, though.

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