The Movie

A classic of the genre and one of the quintessential alien invasion films, George Pal’s War of the Worlds is just about perfect in all regards. Scenes of panic, rioting, and empty Los Angeles streets are favored over action for the better. Gene Barry plays Clayton Forrester, a scientist caught in the middle of the invasion, undergoing a dramatic character arc as the cities fall. Brilliantly designed flying warships of the Martians are colorful and terrifying, their death ray completely disintegrating their target.

DVD History

Paramount released an early DVD of War of the Worlds, which eventually went out of print, causing the price to shoot up amongst collector’s. That transfer, despite the early encode, looked decent. The more recent re-release, done to coincide with Steven Spielberg’s 2005 remake, thankfully added some great extras (two commentaries for instance), but the transfer was unfortunately DNR’ed beyond all recognition. Smearing, static grain structure, and waxy faces were all evident. The soundtrack contains notable hissing and popping, at its worst as Gene Barry reaches for the alien hand near the end of the film.

What to Expect on Blu-ray

Hopefully not the same master that was used for the DVD. Another issue that sprung up are the wires being visible, suspending the ships above the miniature sets. This is not a fault of the special effects, but of the transfer to Eastman color (from Technicolor). If any Technicolor prints still exist, that would of course be preferred, and yes, untouched. A nicely cleaned up mono mix would also be wonderful, as opposed to the false 2.0 surround provided by the DVD.


11 thoughts on "Movies We Want on Blu-ray: War of the Worlds (1953)"

  1. Richard says:

    This already is available on Blu-ray—it comes in the 3-Disc Special Edition of the Blu-ray for the new version.

    1. Richard says:

      OK, yeah…never mind. Wrong movie. Sorry for any confusion [it's going to be a long day, I think].

      1. gamereviewgod says:

        That's okay. Lots of alien invasion movies out there. Easy to confuse 'em.

  2. Richard says:

    This already is available on Blu-ray—it comes in the 3-Disc Special Edition of the Blu-ray for the new version.

  3. Richard says:

    OK, yeah…never mind. Wrong movie. Sorry for any confusion [it's going to be a long day, I think].

  4. gamereviewgod says:

    That's okay. Lots of alien invasion movies out there. Easy to confuse 'em.

  5. ArtGriggs says:

    There was a home video edition of WOTW (1953) that had an extra I wish would be included in a Blu-ray edition. At one point, the film was released in Laserdisc (LD) format and like most LD releases, the audio track was digital. The LD version of WOTW featured some audio extras one of which was the film’s landmark sound effects on an isolated track. Sound effects like the pulsing pinging sound of the “cobra head” Martian war machine that was heard as it surveyed its surroundings could be readily appreciated. It was even better if one’s LD player had a repeat mode! Maybe I’m the only other film audio-effects aficionado besides Ben Burtt but I thought it was a kuhl extra feature.

    1. Anonymous says:

      You are not alone. While I’m usually not too big on features like that, the audio of War of the Worlds was a landmark, and completely creepy. As the ship’s head turns and makes that rattle, it’s eerie.

      This is one of my few favorite movies I don’t have on Laserdisc, but it must be about time to get on that. I do have it on Videodisc though, which is hardly an earth-shattering experience.

  6. Sgiambrone1 says:

    this 2005 dvd release was struck from a pristine 35mm.technicolor imbibition dye gel print.
    not crap eastman color stock.audio was taken from one of the 300 western electric 3 ch.
    magnetic stereo prints made back in 1953,remember only a handful of theaters could
    play back stereo movies back then.and for you nitwits who are complaining that it was not
    filmed in wide screen format,this film was shoot between december 1951 and feb.1952.
    please know something about films before making stupid remarks

    tnank you
    steve g

    1. Anonymous says:

      No one is complaining about widescreen. Who said anything of the sort?

      And do you have a source that states is was struck from a Technicolor print? Everything I have read states those were long lost, and the only sources ever pulled for home video were Eastman prints.

  7. Shaneensed says:

    Definitely want it in Blu-ray; but, I enjoy it as I have seen it, with wires and all;-)

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