Invasion - 1966 movie on DVD

Sunday, 09 November 2014 00:00 Written by 

Invasion - the 1966 movie comes to DVDA strange figure in skin-tight rubber is knocked over in a late-night road traffic accident. Rushed to hospital, the victim is identified as alien after doctors' tests produce baffling results. Then an invisible force-field surrounds the hospital and the temperature starts to rise to dangerous levels. The lives of 300 patients are at risk, and nobody has a clue what is going on. Beyond the perimeter, additional alien figures lurk, their intentions unknown.

Welcome to "Invasion", a gripping, British sci-fi thriller from the 1960s based on a story by Doctor Who scribe par excellence, Robert Holmes. Directed by Alan Bridges ("The Shooting Party"), the film stars Edward Judd and Valerie Gearon as doctors Mike Vernon and Claire Harland, the two key hospital staff who must crack this mystery. Yôko Tani ("The Savage Innocents") guest-stars as one of the beautiful and otherworldly aliens.

The movie, shot in black and white, gets off to a great start with opening titles that are accompanied by a portentous theme tune, followed by the sudden, disorienting car accident. Questions rapidly mount up concerning the stranger wandering alone in the middle of the night, and the other alien figures briefly glimpsed as they observe from a distance. Who are they and what do they want? What is their relationship with one-another? Most importantly, do they come in peace?

Judd ("First Men in the Moon", "The Day the Earth Caught Fire") is impressively grounded as the calm, intelligent Dr. Vernon, a character who is brave without being a superhero. Gearon ("Anne of the Thousand Days") is equally good as the sharp and slightly spiky Dr Harland. The alien victim is played with intriguing ambiguity by Ric Young ("Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom", "The Transporter").

The movie does stumble quite late on as plot developments start to dry up, but the viewer has already been successfully drawn in and is unlikely to lose interest before the dénouement. Talking of which, the final sequence is rather sudden and frustratingly, no time is given for contemplation afterwards.

Fans of Robert Holmes' other work, classic Cold War-era sci-fi and even Under the Dome should enjoy this film. It might be a little rough around the edges but the captivating plot, performances and atmosphere more than make up for that.

Special features include a superbly stagy trailer, an image gallery and PDF of promotional material. The DVD also has an instant-play facility. The picture quality of the main feature is good, especially in comparison with the non-remastered trailer!

“Invasion" (1966) is out now on DVD, courtesy of Network. The main feature has a running time of 78 minutes approx, carries a ‘PG’ certificate and retails for £9.99, or less from www.culttvstore.com

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