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.
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