The War of the Worlds (movie, 1953)

War of the Worlds ( The War of the Worlds ) is an American film directed by Byron Haskin , inspired by the novel of the same name by HG Wells was released in 1953 .


1954 . The community of Linda Rosa, California , is marked by the fall of a meteorite , causing a start of a forest fire in the vicinity of the locality. Once the fire is contained, the celestial body is found, but it is radioactive and too hot to be examined. The sheriff lets three men guard the crater. They will be confronted with an intelligence of extraterrestrialorigin which is not focused on the discussion 1 …

Detailed Summary

A meteorite falls near a small town in California. A scientist by the name of Clayton Forrester ( Gene Barry ), who was enjoying a few days of rest in the area, is asked to examine the matter. First observation: it is radioactive. The police ask the curious to evacuate and three people stay to watch the place during the night. During this last, a kind of cover unscrews the meteor. Exit an alien shipwhich exterminates the three people. All electrical equipment stops in the city, the aliens are discovered, and the army is sent to fight. But the machines look invincible, protected by an invisible shield. The army is routed, and Forrester and a woman named Sylvia Van Buren ( Ann Robinson) flee by plane. They eventually crash, and take refuge in an abandoned country house. Martian machines encircle them and control cameras to monitor what is happening inside. The two humans end up being discovered, smash a Martian with an ax and leave with one of the cameras they managed to tear. Later, we learn that the invasion is global, that only Washington has not yet been attacked and that the US military is preparing to use the nuclear bombto get rid of the attackers. Sylvia and Forrester arrive at the latter’s institute where other scientists begin to study the camera that has been recovered as well as Martian blood. They discover they are in very poor health but must evacuate before knowing more because the first bomb will be released near Los Angeles where the institute is located. But the Martians resist this one; it’s madness in the city and Forrester is separated from the rest of her group but remembers that Sylvia is a very believing woman and ends up finding her by searching the various places of worship in the city. The extraterrestrial machines are in town, destroy everything, and while all hope seems lost, they break down on their own. conclude that humanity will have been saved by the microbes and other bacteria living on Earth.

Technical sheet

  • Original title: The War of the Worlds
  • French title: La Guerre des mondes
  • Director: Byron Haskin
  • Scenario: Barré Lyndon , based on the novel by HG Wells
  • Costumes: Edith Head
  • Photography: George Barnes
  • Editing: Everett Douglas
  • Music: Leith Stevens
  • Production: George Pal and Frank Freeman Jr.
  • Production Company: Paramount Pictures
  • Distribution Company: Paramount Pictures
  • Budget: $ 2 million
  • Country of origin: United States
  • Language: English
  • Format: Color – 35 mm – 1.37: 1 – Mono sound
  • Genre: Science Fiction
  • Duration: 85 minutes
  • Release dates:
    •  United States :(first in New York ), (national release)
    •  France :


  • Gene Barry (VF: Jean Martinelli ) : Dr. Clayton Forrester
  • Ann Robinson (VF: Thérèse Rigaut ) : Sylvia Van Buren
  • The Tremayne (VF: Jean Mauclair ) : General Mann
  • Robert O. Cornthwaite (VF: Jacques Mancier ) : Dr. Pryor
  • Sandro Giglio (VF: René Fleur ) : Dr. Bilderbeck
  • Ann Code : Dr. Duprey
  • Lewis Martin (VF: Paul Villé ) : Pastor Matthew (Matthew in VF) Collins
  • Houseley Stevenson Jr. (VF: Albert Montigny ) : General Mann’s assistant
  • Paul Frees (VF: Roland Ménard ) : the radio reporter
  • William Phipps (VF: Michel André ) : Wash Perry
  • Vernon Rich (VF: René Fleur ) : Colonel Ralph Heffner
  • Henry Brandon : a policeman on the crash site
  • Jack Kruschen : Salvatore
  • Peter Adams (VF: Raymond Loyer ) : the watchtower at Pine Summit Watchtower
  • Frank Kreig (VF: Camille Guérini ) : the other lookout at Pine Summit Watchtower
  • Robert Rockwell (VF: Georges Hubert ) : the forester of the post n ° 3
  • Paul Birch (VF: Robert Dalban ) : Alonzo Hogue
  • Ted Hecht (VF: Pierre Leproux ) : the KGEB station reporter
  • Sydney Mason (VF: Pierre Morin ) : The Fire Captain
  • Cedric Hardwicke : the commentator
  • it: Vittorio Cramer : the narrator

And, among the uncredited actors:

  • Edgar Barrier (VF: Jean-Henri Chambois ) : Professor McPherson
  • Ivan Lebedeff : Dr. Gratzman
  • Walter Sande (VF: Richard Francoeur ) : sheriff Bogany

Around the film

  • Delighted with the final result, the rights holders of the novelist’s work offered producer George Pal the choice of another of his novels. He did it in 1960 by producing and realizing The Time Machine .
  • Producer George Pal appears during the film as a radio listener.
  • Steven Spielberg insisted that the two main actors of the film, Gene Barry and Ann Robinson , make an appearance in his own version (the grandparents who appear at the end of the film).
  • The famous tripods of the novel are replaced in this adaptation by flying machines because it turned out quickly that it would be impossible to create tripods with flexible and credible movements. Nevertheless, in some shots, we can see the wires holding flying machines in the air.



  • Oscar in 1954 for best special effects for Gordon Jennings


  • Oscars 1954 : best editing and best sound

National Film Registry 2011

  • The film listed since 2011 in the National Film Registry to be preserved in the Library of Congress of the United States “for all time because of its cultural, historical or aesthetic” 2 .


  • The film was released on on DVD at Paramount Home Entertainment France in 1.33: 1 full-screen format in English, French, German, Italian and Spanish version in 1.0 Dolby digital mono and English version 2.0 Dolby digital mono with French, English, German, Swedish subtitles, Danish, Norwegian, Finnish, Dutch, Turkish, Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, English for the deaf and hard of hearing. In addition only a trailer in English 3 .

See also

Related Articles

  • The novel The War of the Worlds
  • His other adaptations to the cinema (all three in 2005 ):
    • War of the Worlds ( War of the Worlds ) to Steven Spielberg
    • War of the Worlds ( The War of the Worlds ), of Timothy Hines
    • The War of the Worlds ( HG Wells’ The War of the Worlds ) by David Michael Latt

External links

  • (in) War of the Worlds [ archive ] on the Internet Movie Database

Notes and references

  1. ↑ ” The War of the Worlds ”  [ archive ] , on  [ archive ] ,
  2. ↑ (in) List of National Film Registry ”  [ archive ] (accessed 23 March 2016 )
  3. ↑ [1]  [ archive ]

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