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Invasion USA

The Commies are coming! The Commies are coming! A paranoid red-scare delusion in which America in invaded and defeated by an unnamed country (but we know it's really Russia). Stars Gerald Mohr and Peggie Castle. Produced during a time when the House Un-American Activities Committee and Joe McCarthy were looking for Reds under every coffee table. TRIVIA: Noel Neill and Phyllis Coates (both of whom played Lois Lane on TV's Superman) are in this film. Directed by Alfred E Green Released in 1952 complete print



Invasion, U.S.A. (sometimes Invasion USA) is a 1952 in film motion picture set during the Cold War and portraying the invasion of the United States by an unnamed Communist enemy meant to be taken as the Soviet Union.

Plot

The film begins in a New York City bar, where the brooding, mysterious forecaster Mr. Ohman (Dan O'Herlihy) is sitting and drinking from a very large brandy glass. He gets into discussions with a cross-section of affluent Americans at the bar, including local newscast Vince Potter (Gerald Mohr), beautiful young New York social register Carla Sanford (Peggie Castle), a Californian industrialist, a rancher from Arizona, and a Congressman. International news is bad, but these Americans do not want to hear it. While they all dislike Communism and appreciate the materialism they enjoy, they also want tax cut and don't see the need for industrial support of government. As he swishes around his snifter, Mr. Ohman tells the others that many Americans want safety and security, but do not want to make any sacrifices for it.
Suddenly the news becomes worse. The Enemy is staging air attacks over Seal Point, Alaska and then Nome, Alaska. Paratroops have landed on Alaskan airfields and an American female communications operator is gunned down in mid-sentence. Soon The Enemy's plan of attack becomes clear: civilian airfields are captured as staging areas while military airfields are atomic bomb. The United States fights back and attacks The Enemy's homeland with Convair B-36 missions, but The Enemy steadily moves into Washington (U.S. state) and Oregon. Shipyards in Puget Sound are A-bombed with large casualties.
Meanwhile, the Americans at the bar scramble to return to their lives to do what they can against The Enemy, now that it is too late. Potter and Sanford fall for each other ("War or no war, people have to eat and drink ... and make love!"). He continues to broadcast, while she volunteers to help run a blood donation. The industrialist and the rancher both return home to find themselves on the front lines: the former caught in the battle for San Francisco, the latter in the destruction of Hoover Dam by a nuclear missile. The President of the United States makes ineffectual broadcasts with inflated claims of counter-attacks to rally the morale of the people. But things are only going to get worse, much worse. And each American talks about how if they could only do everything over again...

Production background

"The Enemy" is never named but is clearly meant to be taken as the Communist Soviet Union, given their approach through Alaska, pseudo-Slavic languages accents, "People's Army" proclamations, and use of Soviet fighter aircraft (Yakovlev Yak-17 and Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15) and bombers (Tupolev Tu-4, a clone of the American B-29 Superfortress).
Much of the film's running time is taken up with inconsistent combat stock footage. This is relatively aseptic, and sometimes unintentionally humorous: American C-82 Packet transports drop "Enemy" paratroopers on Washington, D.C (However these troops are disguised as an American Airborne unit so the planes may be part of the act.) Sone of the individual encounters between The Enemy and Americans are typical of Second Red Scare material of the time.
On a philosophical level the film is also often viewed as humorously (and unintentionally) ironic, as the lesson it communicates encourages citizens to subordinate their individual needs and desires to that of the State in order to combat Communism.
Future Lois Lane actresses Phyllis Coates and Noel Neill and B-movie stalwart William Schallert all have small parts in the film.
The film was commercially successful, bringing in net profits of almost a million dollars.
Invasion, U.S.A., after its initial success, was shown some on television in the late 1960s, but then was not widely viewed for a long time. In 1994, it was spoofed on the movie-mocking television show Mystery Science Theater 3000. The short was released on VHS in 1998, then on DVD in 2002.
The film is unrelated to the Invasion U.S.A. (1985 movie).

Cast

  • Gerald Mohr (Vince Potter)
  • Peggie Castle (Carla Sanford)
  • Dan O'Herlihy (Mr. Ohman)
  • Robert Bice (George Sylvester)
  • Tom Kennedy (Tim the Bartender)
  • Wade Crosby (Illinois Congressman Arthur V. Harroway)
  • Erik Blythe (Ed Mulfory)
  • Phyllis Coates (Mrs. Mulfory)
  • Aram Katcher (Factory Window Washer)
  • Knox Manning (Himself)
  • Edward G. Robinson Jr. (Radio Dispatcher)
  • Noel Neill (Second Airline Ticket Agent)
  • Clarence A. Shoop (Army Major)

Footnotes

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Category:1952 films
Category:1950s drama films
Category:American films
Category:American drama films
Category:American anti-communist propaganda films
Category:American aviation films
Category:Black-and-white films
Category:Cold War films
Category:Columbia Pictures films
Category:English-language films
Category:Films directed by Alfred E. Green
Category:Films about nuclear war and weapons
Category:Films featured in Mystery Science Theater 3000 episodes
Category:World War III speculative fiction
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Joseph Justman

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