The War of the Worlds

Synopsis: H.G. Well's classic novel is brought to life in this tale of alien invasion. The residents of a small town in California are excited when a flaming meteor lands in the hills. Their joy is tempered somewhat when they discover that it has passengers who are not very friendly. The movie itself is understood better when you consider that it was made at the height of the Cold War--just replace Martian with Russian....
Director(s): Byron Haskin
  Won 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins & 2 nominations.
85 min

In WWI, for the first time ever,

nations combined to fight nations,

using the crude weapons of the day.

WWII involved every continent.

Science provided new tools of war.

These reached an unparalleled peak

in their capacity for destruction.

Now, fought with the

terrible weapons of super-science,

menacing every creature

on Earth, comes...

No one would have believed,

in the middle of the 20th century,

human affairs were being closely

watched by a greater intelligence.

Yet, across the gulf of space,

on the planet Mars,

intellects vast and unsympathetic

regarded our Earth enviously,

slowly and surely

drawing their plans against us.

Mars is more than 140 million miles

from the sun.

For centuries it has been

in the last stages of exhaustion.

At night, temperatures drop

far below zero, even at its equator.

The inhabitants of this dying planet

looked across space with instruments

of which

we have scarcely dreamed,

searching for another world

to which they could migrate.

They could not go to Pluto,

outermost of all planets,

and so cold that its atmosphere

lies frozen on its surface.

They couldn't use Neptune or Uranus,

twin worlds in eternal night,

both surrounded by an atmosphere

of methane gas and ammonia vapour.

They considered Saturn, attractive

with its moons and rings,

but its temperature is

close to 270 degrees below zero,

and ice lies 15,000 miles deep

on its surface.

Their nearest world was Jupiter,

with giant cliffs of lava and ice,

with hydrogen flaming at the tops.

The atmosphere is awful. Thousands

of pounds to the square inch.

They couldn't go there, nor to Mercury,

nearest planet to the sun.

It has no air. The temperature at

its equator is that of molten lead.

Of all the worlds the life forms

on Mars could see and study,

only our own Earth was green

with vegetation, bright with water,

and possessed a cloudy atmosphere

eloquent of fertility.

It did not occur to mankind that a

swift fate might be hanging over us.

Or that from the blackness of outer

space we were being scrutinised.

Till the time we drew close to Mars'

orbit, during a pleasant summer...

- Is that a fireball or something?

- Boy, that's big.


- I wonder where it hit?

- Probably halfway to Pomona.

I'm gonna see. Who's coming?

This is Pine Summit. I got a smoke.

- 160l30.

- Azimuth:
160 degrees, 30 minutes.

Big? I bet it's as big as anything

that ever lit in California.

Better get something over there.

It's started a blaze already.

Number Three to D.O.

- D.O. To Number Three, come in.

- We're getting this under control.

Okay, send the tanker in, but you

stand by until that thing cools off.

- Someone ought to check on it.

- There's scientists fishing nearby.

They probably saw it come down.

I'll tell them. What's it look like?

It's too hot to get near enough

for a good look, but it's enormous.

I got a message for you. You're the

guys from Pacific Tech, ain't you?

- Looks like the fishing was good.

- Have some?

Well, I might just do that.

It's about that meteor.

They say it's a whopper.

They phoned us up on the summit.

I thought you might be interested.

- About 10 miles from here.

- It didn't come down like a meteor.

That's right.

It came down in spurts.

You fellows figure it out.

You're scientists.

It's big as a house and red-hot.

- I'll borrow your car and take a look.

- We ought to get back.

- I'll fly Bilder back down in your plane.

- Okay, the insurance is paid up.

- Light?

- No, I'll smoke it later.

Did you watch it come down?

I saw it from my window.

Harold, look here a minute.

Step over a little. Smile.

It must have skidded along the gully.

Then the loose earth

shook down over it.

- I guess most of it's buried.

- That's 12 feet thick.

They run heavy. They won't be able

to haul this one away to no museum.

A good attraction for Sunday drivers.

Better than a lion farm or

snake pit. We won't have to feed it.

- We can sell tamales and hot dogs.

- Ice cream, cold drinks, souvenirs.

- We should put up picnic tables.

- Then they'd bring their own lunch.

- Gonna dig for gold, Buck?

- You think you're kidding?

Itll be like having a gold mine

in your own back yard.

I'm gonna get a closer look at it.

- That's it over there.

- It's still pretty darned hot.

- Be careful, Buck.

- Watch it.

- Did you see it come down?

- Yes, I was fishing in the hills.

- That's a lot of tackle.

- The others flew back in my plane.

Why didn't it make a bigger crater?

It hit sideways and skidded in.

That's what I think.

A scientist's coming, he'll tell us.

- Ever hear of Clayton Forrester?

- What's that fellow trying to do?

He's top man in astro and nuclear

physics. He knows all about meteors.

- You seem to know all about him.

- I did a thesis on modern scientists.

- Did it do you any good?

- Sure, I got my degree.

- Say, do you have a match?

- No, I'm sorry. I don't smoke.

They had Forrester on the cover of

Time. You have to rate to get that.

- He isn't that good.

- You don't even know him!

- I do know him, slightly.

- What's he like?

Well, he's like...

You don't look like yourself in that

get-up, but I'm happy to meet you.

Sylvia Van Buren.

I teach library science at USC.

- I didn't know how to stop you.

- You didn't wear glasses in Time.

They're for long distance. To look

at something close, I take them off.

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Barré Lyndon

Barré Lyndon (pseudonym of Alfred Edgar) (12 August 1896 – 23 October 1972) was a British playwright and screenwriter. The pseudonym was presumably taken from the title character of Thackeray's novel. Born in London, he may be best remembered for three screenplays from the 1940s: The Lodger (1944), Hangover Square (1945) and The Man in Half Moon Street (1945). The latter was remade by Hammer Film Productions in 1959 as The Man Who Could Cheat Death. Lyndon began his writing career as a journalist, particularly about motor-racing, and short-story writer before becoming a playwright. His first play, The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse, was made into an Edward G. Robinson film in 1939. After that success, Lyndon moved to Los Angeles, California, in 1941 to concentrate on writing for films full time. He was naturalised as a United States citizen in the United States District Court in Los Angeles as Alfred Edgar Barre Lyndon in 1952. Alfred Edgar had two sons, Roger Alvin Edgar (b. England, 1924) and Barry Davis Edgar (b. England, 1929) . more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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