Berlinale: Programme

Film file


The War of the Worlds

Kampf der Welten

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When a fiery object hits the hills near a small California town, the residents first think it is a meteor. But scientist Clayton Forrester and the events that follow soon prove that the truth is much worse. In fact, the UFO was carrying Martians, who soon land their spaceships on all the Earth’s continents. Their goal is to destroy humankind and take over the planet. Their metal attack machines emit deadly rays that reduce entire cities to rubble ... This Technicolor film version of H.G. Wells’ novel, made in the middle of the Cold War, is a compelling expression of the fear of a nuclear apocalypse. The characterisation of the Martians as aggressive invaders dictated how extraterrestrial “strangers” were depicted in US films for decades. Equally impressive were the planetary paintings by “space artist” Chesley Bonestell (1888 – 1986) and the Oscar-winning special effects mounted under the supervision of Gordon Jennings (1896 – 1953), which had a marked influence on blockbusters from Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) to Roland Emmerich’s Independence Day (1996).

Byron Haskin

USA 1953


85’ · Colour · 2K DCP

Rating R16


Gene Barry
Ann Robinson
Les Tremayne
Bob Cornthwaite
Sandro Giglio
Lewis Martin
Houseley Stevenson Jr.


Byron Haskin
Barré Lyndon, adapted from the novel “The War of the Worlds” (1898) by H. G. Wells
Director of Photography
George Barnes
Everett Douglas
Leith Stevens
Loren L. Ryder
Special Effects
Gordon Jennings, Wallace Kelley, Paul Lerpae, Ivyl Burks, Jan Domela, Irmin Roberts
Art Director
Hal Pereira, Albert Nozaki
Edith Head
Wally Westmore
George Pal

Produced by

Paramount Pictures Corp.

DCP: Park Circus, Glasgow