Film (1952; vt Invasion USA). American Pictures/Columbia Pictures. Produced by Robert Smith and Albert Zugsmith. Directed by Alfred E Green. Written by Robert Smith from an original story by Smith and Franz Spencer. Cast includes Peggi Castle, Wade Crosby, Gerald Mohr and Dan O'Herlihy. 73 minutes. Black and white.
Newscaster Vince Potter (Mohr) and an assortment of mostly wealthy Americans including young socialite Carla Sanford (Castle) are in a New York City bar listening to a news broadcast. A stranger named Mr Ohman (O'Herlihy) arrives and joins the discussion about national defence policy; everybody agrees communism is a bad thing, but doesn't wish to sacrifice anything to improve the defences of the USA. Illinois US Congressman Arthur V Harroway (Crosby) is also against boosting the spending on national defence. The news takes a major turn for the worse when news of an enemy attack on Alaska, then Invasion of the Northwestern states of Oregon and Washington, comes over the air. There are reports of nuclear strikes against various US military bases and Cities. The enemy is unnamed but is clearly the Soviet Union; much stock footage appears, sometimes risibly. Everyone rushes off to try and turn the tide of battle, most perishing in various ways until New York itself is hit by an atomic bomb. The enemy ground assault is advancing when the bar patrons realize they are still in the bar; they have been given (by Mr Ohman or Omen) a look at what will happen if everyone Does Not Do Their Part. At the conclusion, wiser for their terrifying experience, they all depart to turn their efforts to keeping the godless foe at bay.
This film is a remarkable example of US Paranoia of the 1950s Cold War era, unintentionally humorous in many ways for modern audiences. It was little seen after the late 1960s until it began to reappear on television in the mid-1990s, and eventually in home video. A mildly curious fact is that both actresses who portrayed Lois Lane on the tv series The Adventures of Superman (1952-1958) (see Superman) appear in small roles. It is unrelated to the film Invasion USA (1985), which also deals with a Soviet invasion of the US. [GFi]
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