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The War of the Worlds (Special Collector's Edition) (1953)

Gene Barry , Ann Robinson , Byron Haskin  |  G |  DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (569 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Gene Barry, Ann Robinson, Les Tremayne, Robert Cornthwaite, Sandro Giglio
  • Directors: Byron Haskin
  • Writers: Barré Lyndon, H.G. Wells
  • Producers: Cecil B. DeMille, Frank Freeman Jr., George Pal
  • Format: Collector's Edition, Color, Full Screen, Silent, Special Edition, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: G (General Audience)
  • Studio: Paramount Pictures
  • DVD Release Date: November 1, 2005
  • Run Time: 85 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (569 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000AOEMWS
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #36,998 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The War of the Worlds (Special Collector's Edition)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • The Original Mercury Theatre Radio Broadcast of The War of the Worlds
  • The Sky is Falling: The Making of The War of the Worlds
  • H.G. Wells: The Father of Science Fiction
  • Original Theatrical Trailer

Editorial Reviews

Additional Features

There's a whopper of a new feature--the original one-hour radio broadcast by Orson Welles's Mercury Players. It's a great listen, but that's not the end of the topnotch features. Film fan/director Joe Dante leads a fun and spirited commentary roundtable with two sci-fi movie experts pointing out interesting facts and underlining how a 1950s audience viewed this scary thriller (alas, the track was made before they could see Spielberg's remake). The other commentary is from lead actors Gene Barry and Ann Robinson, but better to catch their comments in the updated making-of featurette. A shorter featurette on H.G. Wells is thoughtful enough to include comments from filmmaker Nicholas Meyer, who made the author an action star in Time After Time. The film transfer is excellent and better yet, the original stereo soundtrack--thought long lost--has been remastered and sounds great. --Doug Thomas

Product Description

H.G. Wells' chilling novel of a Martian invasion of Earth becomes even more frightening in this 1952 film adaptation that's widely regarded as one of the greatest sci-fi movies of all time. An Oscar. winner for Best Special Effects, The War of the Worlds delivers eye-popping thrills, laser-hot action and unrelenting, edge-of-your-seat suspense. No one who has seen the film's depiction of the swan-shaped Martian machines-ticking and hissing menacingly as they cut their path of destruction-will ever forget their ominous impact.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
156 of 162 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Review for special edition: release 11/05 November 6, 2005
Format:DVD
War of the Worlds has been on DVD before, but it's much better in this special edition, restored and presented, thankfully, in full frame, as it was shot. The print quality is just beautiful, and the movie looks as good as it's ever looked. Special features are also of a high standard: especially welcome are the commentaries by stars Ann Robinson and Gene Barry. Barry seems a little less in command than Robinson, but she graciously compensates, by eloquently describing her experiences, her affection for Barry and producer George Pal, and the film itself, with which she seems wonderfully familiar. Her insight is detailed, sometimes funny, exhaustive, and genuinely revealing--even down to the revelation of a cameo by Woody Woodpecker. Images are so crisp that the wires supporting the ships are sometimes sadly visible, but fans will be so caught up in the frightening story that this won't matter much at all. For those who love this film, I'd say get out there and pick this up: someone got it right, and went to the trouble to present this admired film in an edition that can really be called "special". What a pleasure to see old Technicolor the way it was meant to be seen! A great movie, and a great DVD.
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205 of 233 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars DVD Does Justice to a SF Classic January 28, 2000
Format:DVD
Based on H.G. Wells' classic novel, George Pal's The War Of The Worlds is a classic in its own right. The movie transfers the story from England and the turn of the century to California and the 1950's. Some people see the paranoia of the '50s in the movie but the novel also had a strong theme of fear of things beyond our ken. Pal often included a religious theme in his movies and this film would have been better without it, but it does not detract from the movie enough to keep it from being a classic. The story is that of an invasion of Earth by coldly intelligent Martians. Told in clear, bold strokes with exceptional special effects (for the time) and fine performances by the two leads, Gene Barry and Ann Robinson, The War Of The Worlds should be in every collection of science fiction movies.
The DVD transfer is excellent. The picture is sharp and clear. The color is strong and rich, as Technicolor should be. Like most people, I had only seen this movie on television and it never looked as good as it does on DVD. The picture resolution is so good that you can easily see the wires supporting the Martian war machines. The sound does not measure up to the standard of the video. It is mono and there are cracks and pops on the sound track during the early part of the movie, though I didn't notice them as much in the later scenes (but that may simply be because I was caught up in the excitement of the story). The disk provides only a trailer as supplemental material (I don't consider scene selection to be a special feature, it should be standard on any DVD). The disk is formatted in TV standard but that is not significantly different from the movie's original ratio, since it was not shot in what we now call widescreen.
Although I would have liked to see more supplemental material, this is still a fine DVD of a nearly fifty year old movie that has not received the special treatment of movies like The Wizard Of Oz.
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218 of 267 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Shabby DVD of the 1953 Sci-Fi Classic July 10, 2003
Format:DVD
If you have a VHS version with which you are satisfied, hang on to it: the DVD release of 1953's WAR OF THE WORLDS is a slipshod and very shabby affair.
Loosely based on the classic H.G. Wells novel, WAR OF THE WORLDS moves the original story from late 19th Century England to 1950s California, where a group of scientists confront an invasion from Mars. Arriving in meteor-like projectiles and sweeping across the landscape in strange, birdlike machines armed with death-rays, the Martians prove invincible to human attack. How can mankind survive?
The great attraction of the film is its special effects, which is early 1950s state-of-the-art in its combination of rear-screen projections, miniatures, and truly imaginative design. But the film also has an additional interest, for it is very much of its time, presenting us with some of the most relentlessly stereotypical characters to ever reach the screen. This is particularly true in terms of gender roles, for seldom has any film before or after created such a hysteria-prone and clinging leading lady as Sylvia Van Buren, played here by the hapless Ann Robinson. Not only would the special effects and story prove tremendously influential, so too would the film's gender stereotyping. While the slightly earlier THE THING offered a strong female lead, THE WAR OF THE WORLDS would generally set the tone for every sci-fi leading lady well into the 1960s.
But all of this is analytical criticism. We may hoot a bit at the incredibly broad performances, the frequently silly dialogue, and the truly ludicrous gender roles, but WAR OF THE WORLDS is a tremendous amount of fun to watch. It makes you want to break out a bag of popcorn and curl up with friends and family in true Saturday matinee fashion.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars George Pal's masterpiece! May 22, 2001
Format:DVD
I was fortunate enough to see this George Pal classic upon its original release in 1953, and it was an awesome experience for a 13 year old boy! I saw it on the big screen again in 1977, when it was re-released to cash in on the tremendous success of Star Wars, and it was just as good the second time around. The special effects held up very well, even against that formidable competition. And, of course, I'd seen it many times on TV and I have it also on videotape, so I really like this movie!
But this DVD edition was a bit of a disappointment. The image quality is good, as is the sound, but there are no bonus features at all. (I don't consider the movie trailer and a scene index to be "bonus" features any more, but "standard" DVD features.) A true classic of the sci-fi genre like this should have been given "star" treatment, with commentaries, behind-the-scenes stuff, etc. Why bother to bring it out on DVD if you're not going to give it the royal treatment? Still, it's worth being in anybody's DVD collection, if only for completeness. But if you just want to see the movie, the videotape edition is cheaper, and AMC shows it quite regularly.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Great film version of a historic novel
Three versions of War of the Worlds have been made. Putting aside for now the "TV" version, both this 1950's version and the recent Tom Cruise version, manage to update... Read more
Published 7 hours ago by Marty Quint
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice DVD
I have'nt opened this as it was a gift for a friend. As she lives somewhat far away, I haven't been able to get it to her and her husband yet.
Published 1 day ago by jackrush
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't mess with the original
"Yet across the gulf of space, minds that are to our minds as ours are to those of the beasts that perish, intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic, regarded this earth with... Read more
Published 1 day ago by D. Land
5.0 out of 5 stars Fondly Remembered
The video and audio quality is very good on this DVD. I purchased this because of how much I enjoyed it when I was a wee lad. I found out I still enjoy it as much. Read more
Published 5 days ago by S. T. Stephens
5.0 out of 5 stars Oldie but Goodie
This is the poster child of Sci-Fi movies of the 1950's. Visually stunning for the time and true to H. G. Wells. Remember when it was made and then sit back and enjoy. Read more
Published 9 days ago by Mike M
5.0 out of 5 stars Hard to beat a classic
great film, first time viewed in HD, brilliant!
The type of film one could watch yearly and still enjoy same.
Published 11 days ago by Mark E. Hennessy
5.0 out of 5 stars Great movie..as good as the first time I saw it
The is a great classic that still makes you think and wonder if we are alone. Given when the movie was made the craft looks pretty modern. In the mankind wins.. Read more
Published 11 days ago by Louis Ashford
5.0 out of 5 stars CLASSICS NEVER FAIL!!
A MOVIE I HAVE ALWAYS ENJOY SINCE MY CHILDHOOD AND NOW LOVE THEM EVEN MORE NOW. YOU CAN NOT BEAT GREAT CLASSICS!!! DVD SO CLEAR AND PERFECT. Read more
Published 11 days ago by Travis J. Lyles
5.0 out of 5 stars We have no idea that aliens might scutinize or study as we might...
It is one of the best films in science fiction films in the past 58 years. The remake pales in comparison. Independence Day stole the idea from this film and Earth vs. Read more
Published 14 days ago by Robert J. Quigley
4.0 out of 5 stars THE MARTIANS ARE COMING!
The classic Sci Fi movie! As good now as it was in the 1950's. Wonderful special effects for the era.
Published 15 days ago by J. Hemphill
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sci-fi fans! need help with war of the worlds
I saw a movie when I was younger that depicted making the radio show. It actually stared Orson Welles if my memory serves me correctly. I have never seen that movie again and want to. If I knew the name I could do a better search. If you find it I would sure like to know the name of it.
Thanks
Dan
Oct 25, 2013 by Amazon Customer |  See all 3 posts
There is another version of WAR OF THE WORLDS set in the correct period.
I wish it could have had better effects. I always wanted a War of the Worlds true to Well's time period. Maybe someday.
Jan 29, 2012 by Jerome Bush |  See all 2 posts
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