Yesterday I screened  Don Siegel's "Invasion Of The Body Snatchers" (the original 1956 version) for my almost ten-year old son who has developed a real fascination for period sci-fi ('Twilight Zone", "Dr. Who", Ray Bradbury stories). Needless to say it got under his skin as it did mine when I saw it at the tender age of twenty-eight. Shot in nineteen days on a less-than-zero budget (a Siegel specialty), the film features many interesting views of mid-fifties LA--though its set in the fictional northern California town of Santa Mira, Allied Artists was not a company to allow a production out of their sight. Bronson Canyon and the little town square of nearby Beachwood Canyon (both in Hollywood and the latter pictured above) are prominently used as are some nice, still scrubby and unbuilt-upon chunks of Mulholland Drive. But the most famous scene in the film--the terrifically filmed and acted climax on the highway as Kevin McCarthy tries to stop cars to warn them that the pods are taking everybody over--struck an awfully familiar location-chord with me, though I couldn't initially figure out why. Watching it over again a few times, I finally realized that it was shot on a little bridge that hangs over the Hollywood Freeway--I believe its the one that takes you across from Highland Ave. to Cahuenga. According to Siegel's memoir, it was a chaotic all-night shoot ending with McCarthy exhausted (there was no stunt man, natch) and many of the stunt drivers complaining that they almost hit him due to his enthusiastically mad performance. In the distance you can see the lights of the cars below driving south on the Hollywood freeway, presumably unaware that above them B-movie sci-fi history was being made. A pointless but interesting little record of a long-forgotten night in mid-fifties LA. Dig:

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1 comment:

  1. That film was made when clothing use to fit.
    Doing a little tailoring that is why that thought
    came to me,