Invasion (1965)

Image sourced from networkonair.com

Image sourced from networkonair.com

Drinking and driving is a bad idea, especially when the army radar is picking up mysterious flying objects that are too small to be the old British Air Ferries transporters on the way back from Le Tourquet. That’s what Lawrence Blackburn (Anthony Sharp) discovered back in 1965 when a rubber suited man (Eric Young) staggered out of the woods into the path of his car.

The mystery deepens when Blackburn gets him to the local hospital. An X-Ray reveals that old rubber suit has a metal object embedded in his brain and his blood does not match any known type. Back in the woods Major Muncaster (Barrie Ingham) and his men have discovered a set of radioactive scorch marks in the forest and bullet-proof space capsule. Can they belong to the mysterious rubber clad stranger?

Back at the hospital the patient recovers consciousness and reveals to Dr Mike Vernon (Edward Judd) that he is really from the planet Lystria and crash-landed on Earth while escorting two prisoners to a prison planet. As if things were not weird enough already the hospital is suddenly enclosed within an impenetrable force-field and temperatures start going off the scale. Is the mystery man really who he says or is he the reason the hospital is under siege? It’s up to Dr Vernon, Dr Harland (Valerie Gerwon) and Major Muncaster to find out.

If this sounds a bit like a plot from Dr Who, it’s not surprising as Invasion was written by Robert Holmes who scripted a number of stories for Jon Pertwee’s third Dr including his debut Spearhead from Space (1970), to which Invasion bears a number of similarities. Made on a shoestring budget this Sci-Fi thriller is low on effects, but big on claustrophobia as the medics and patents sweat it out. It does have a number of gaping plot holes, but it is a nicely made little movie with a thrilling conclusion.

For a movie made in the 1960s, the film has a nice feisty female character in Dr Harland the haematologist and a fairly large part for Chinese actress Tsai Chin as Nurse Lin. Perhaps more controversial was the casting of East Asian actors as the aliens.

A taut Cold War era SciFi thriller, I give Invasion a 444/666.

Invasion was released on November 3 as part Network Distributing’s The British Film Collection.

Image sourced from networkonair.com

Image sourced from networkonair.com

DVD extras include:  

  • Original theatrical trailer
  • Image gallery

Trivia: 

Hard to credit I know, but back in the 1950s and 60s Cold War era Britain was prime target for alien invaders intent of making off with our Earth women (Night Caller from Outer Space 1965) or Earth men (Devil Girl from Mars 1954), world domination (Daleks Invasion Earth: 2150 AD 1966) or just smashing the place up (The Terranauts 1967). What with dealing with giant gorillas (Konga 1961), sea monsters (Gorgo 1961) and Jelly Blobs from the Earth’s core (X-The Unknown 1956) I’m surprised that Britain’s armed forces were able to abandon conscription in 1960.

Tsai Chin played Lin Tang the daughter of Christopher Lee’s Fu Manchu in five movies. She was also Juicy Lucy in The Virgin Soldiers, a Bond Girl in You Only Live Twice, and starred in Emergency Ward Ten and Dixon of Dock Green on TV, before moving to Hollywood where her most recent appearance was as Melinda May’s mother in Marvel’s Agents of Shield.

Robert Holmes created the Sontarans for Dr Who back in the 1970s. They are still going strong today.

 

Review by Simon Ball

Connect with Simon: @RealShipsCook or here.

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