The War of the Worlds

Director: Byron Haskin

Cast: Gene Barry, Ann Robinson, Les Tremayne, Robert Cornthwaite, Sandro Giglio, Lewis Martin, Houseley Stevenson, Jr., Paul Frees, William Phipps, Vernon Rich, Henry Brandon, Jack Kruschen, Walter Sande

Dr. Clayton Forrester (Barry), on a fishing trip in California, is one of the first to reach the point of impact of a strange meteor. He makes the acquaintance of Sylvia Van Buren (Robinson), a graduate student from a nearby town. Joining a crowd that has come to gawk at the smoldering site, Dr. Forrester is puzzled by the crater, too small for such a large body. Sylvia and Forrester join the others when they return to the town for a dance. Some hours later the men left behind to guard the site watch in astonishment as the "meteor" opens up, revealing itself as an alien spaceship. The men go to greet the visitors and are disintegrated with a projected energy weapon. At the town, the dance is interrupted by a sudden loss of electrical power. Forrester notices a more ominous effect: everyone’s watch has stopped due to a powerful magnetic field. The Sheriff (Sande), Forrester and others return to the crater. They discover the remains of the guards and see alien machines from the spaceship. The Army is called in and mechanized infantry quickly surrounds the location, as additional “meteors” land in the distance. Disobeying orders from the military, Pastor Matthew Collins (Martin) approaches the alien machines with a message of peace and is vaporized by a death ray. Col. Ralph Heffner (Rich) orders an attack on the aliens, but his forces are routed and along with many of his troops he is killed in the action. Forrester and Sylvia leave just in time to avoid annihilation. The sleek alien war machines glide over the countryside killing everything on their path, protected by insubstantial shields. Hiding in an abandoned farmhouse, Forrester and Sylvia have a terrifying encounter with one of the aliens, but manage to escape. Forrester makes contact with Maj. General Mann (Tremayne), who is coordinating the military’s efforts. Martians have launched a worldwide attack against Earth. Their spaceships land in threes, then disembark war machines that immediately attack, killing anything that moves. Maj. General Mann orders an all-out attack, but even nuclear weapons are ineffective against the alien machines. Amid the chaos of evacuation, Forrester and Sylvia are separated and he searches desperately for her, believing that the aliens must have mortal weaknesses that will somehow be used stop them. Produced by George Pal. Special effects by Gordon Jennings. Based on the H.G. Wells novel of the same name.

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