Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978), directed by Philip Kaufman.

I did not like this much in the theater, probably because I was being loyal to the 1956 version. Too much blood and goo for me at the time, although in retrospect there is not that much and it gets a PG rating.

Seeing it later on DVD and now on Blu-ray I appreciate it more. The science fiction premise is revealed at the opening (why not? we all know the story) but the ominous undertone of paranoia is skillfully constructed. People changing, people watching and exchanging glances. Glimpses of strange organic refuse being taken to the garbage trucks.

The original had a political subtext: fear of infiltration and subversion by a foreign menace. This time it seems more personal. The pod people are messing with our relationships. As the shrink suggests, Brooke Adams wants to break up with her boyfriend; isn't saying "he's changed" a good excuse?

The odd thing: how have the pod people changed? They are emotionless, lacking love and hate, and perhaps souls. But they claim to be content. Otherwise they carry on as the humans did before. Curiously, in the case of psychiatrist Leonard Nimoy, it's hard to tell when he "changed".

They throw in some humor. Trying to raise the alarm via the government bureaucracy: have they turned or is that just the way it always works?

That's a great scene where we see the feet turning to pursue our heros. But: only in Hollywood can you blow up a factory by cutting a few ropes with an axe.

For this and Alien (1979), I remember Veronica Cartwright as one of the scream queens of the 70s. Cameos by Kevin McCarthy, Don Siegel, and Robert Duvall.

Brief nudity. I recall the director saying that Brooke Adams really didn't want to do it.

Available on Blu-ray. It comes with a DVD as well, the old 4:3 letterboxed edition with pan & scan on the flip side. Oddly enough, the DVD has a director's commentary and the Blu-ray doesn't.

The Blu-ray image is pretty good in spots, but it is a dark film and the night shots are often noisy and the blacks are light gray.

The Blu-ray is not available at Netflix.