Night that Panicked America, The

Tagged: Film

Made-for-tv film (1975). ABC TV. Directed by Joseph Sargent. Written by Nicholas Meyer, Anthony Wilson, based partly on the text of the original 1938 Radio play War of the Worlds by Howard Koch. Cast includes Michael Constantine, Cliff De Young, Vic Morrow and Paul Shenar. 100 minutes, cut to 78 minutes. Colour.

The film recreates the 1938 Orson Welles broadcast of an updated and relocated version of H G Wells's The War of the Worlds (April-December 1897 Pearson's; 1898) which, due to its news-bulletin format, caused many US citizens to believe that a Martian Invasion was actually taking place new New York. When the film concentrates on events inside the broadcast studio it is fascinating, conjuring up a realistic picture of work in 1930s US Radio; but when it shows the resulting panic it degenerates into a routine Disaster movie with hackneyed characters reacting in predictable ways. [JB]

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