Body Snatching Paranoia

         Invasion of the Body Snatchers was a great film to watch as a history minor. It is interesting to see how historical aspects of everyday life can come into play on the big screen. I was really interested in the historical background of this film, or the context in which it is was released. The Cold War Era ranged from about 1947 to 1991, in which there as a continued state of military, political, and proxy wars between the Soviet Union and the West, including the United States.

        This film came out in 1956, in the midst of paranoia and fear of Communism. While the director and actors have said they never felt any political pull or commentary was being stated, audiences identified the horror of this film with the horror of Communism and everyone becoming the same under a Red State. This film can also be seen as an allegory for the loss of identity or personal value within the Soviet Union. In interviews and autobiographies, both the director and original author of the novel on which the film is based claim there was no basis for political allegories. They made a thriller.

        I like to look into what was going on in a particular country when a movie was released because it opens up a whole new way to look at the film. Even if a director or screenwriter had no intention of making a political statement, the audience can determine how a film is viewed historically. During such a time of rampant paranoia, audiences were bound to put their own fears and interpretations on this film. If viewing a film or a play is supposed to produce catharsis, then this is the best way in which an audience can escape the paranoia, or leave it behind for at least a moment. Films that have ambiguous meaning are bound to project the current historical background based on audience reviews. This is one of the joys of movie going and of studying film later.

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Lauren Bauer

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