Alan Smithee Podcast 84: Invaders from Mars (1953, William Cameron Menzies) / Invaders from Mars (1986, Tobe Hooper)



The ides of March are upon An Alan Smithee Podcast this month and we’ve got the madness! March is also, of course, the month of Mars, the Roman god of war who namesake is shared with our neighbor, the fourth rock the sun. This gives us a great excuse to pick from about a hundred movies set in, on or near Mars and do it twice. Check back in two weeks – the ides of March, the 15th – for another pair of Mars movies!

Our first pair of the month is a twofold evocation illustrating a generation of children’s terror regarding visits from the outside in shorthand as Martians. Ray Bradbury this twice-told tale is not. If the movies have taught us anything, it’s that any potential inhabitants of Mars wants to kill us.


Invaders From Mars (1953, William Cameron Menzies) is a real modern American folk legend, one of the earliest and craziest films about alien visitors as soulless conquering spies and murderers, all wrapped up in the hallucinatory imagination of terrified innocent. 1953 was also the year of The War of the Worlds and the images contained in these films would define the alien invader genre forever. Surreal, gripping and discreetly goofy in a low-budget way every so often.


After influencing a generation of genre filmmakers, the Invaders returned in Tobe Hooper’s 1986 remake of Invaders From Mars. Despite an eclectic, effective cast, slick direction and a wittily sardonic screenplay by Dan O’Bannon and Don Jakoby it failed to find its audience. We, the martian ambassadors at Alan Smithee Podcast are only too glad to sing its neglected praises.



Alan Smithee Podcast 60: Breathless (1960, Jean-Luc Godard) / Breathless (1983, Jim McBride)



The world of film was rocked in 1960 by Breathless, a film which mostly played either like a home movie or documentary more than its simple story would suggest. In short, a French car thief shoots a policeman and unsuccessfully attempts to convince his American girlfriend to flee the country with him. Directed by Godard, a film critic for the influential Cahiers Du Cinema, the scenario consciously referenced many American crime film tropes, then cleverly removed everything that was exciting or entertaining about them and instead allowed the characters to lounge around talking about their sex lives and the sex lives of others. At the time, this lack of thrilling-ness was amazingly thrilling and Godard rode a wave of acclaim for nearly the entire decade, making more post-modern films in which nothing happens except beautiful young French people droning on about the unfairness of life and whom they’ve slept with lately, all while loosely acting out the motions of American movie musicals, dramas and romantic comedies. When not focusing on the incompatibility of men and women, Godard also devoted his films to the themes of Communism and why Americans are inferior to the French. He wore sunglasses and smoked a lot.

In a 2003 retrospective review of Breathless, the voix du peuple Roger Ebert wrote:

“Modern movies begin here…what is most revolutionary about the movie is its headlong pacing, its cool detachment, its dismissal of authority, and the way its narcissistic young heroes are obsessed with themselves and oblivious to the larger society…You cannot even begin to count the characters played by Pacino, Beatty, Nicholson, Penn, who are directly descended from Jean-Paul Belmondo’s insouciant killer Michel.”

In other words, JLG finally made it OK for movie protagonists to be unmitigated shitheads. The trend has yet to decline.

Besides carrying on the French traditions of pretension and narcissism, Godard has also devoted his career to the French national past time of Jew hatred. In 1968, he called producer Pierre Braunberger a “Filthy Jew” to his face, an incident witnessed by Francois Truffaut and over which he severed their friendship.

In 1973, French-Jewish filmmaker Jean-Pierre Gorin contacted Godard to be paid for his collaborative work on 1972’s “Tout Va Bien” (“Everything’s Fine”), to which Godard responded, “Ah, it’s always the same: Jews call you when they hear a cash register opening.”

In 1981 he said the following about Moses and Jews in general:

“Moses is my principal enemy…Moses, when he received the commandments, he saw images and translated them. Then he brought the texts, he didn’t show what he had seen. That’s why the Jewish people are accursed.

In 1985 he said the following about moneylending bloodsuckers in Hollywood:

“What I find interesting in the cinema is that, from the beginning, there is the idea of debt. The real producer is, all the same, the image of the Central European Jew. They’re the ones who invented the cinema, they brought it to Hollywood…Making a film is visibly producing debts.”

In 2009, Godard was quoted by Le Monde as saying:

“Palestinians’ suicide bombings in order to bring a Palestinian State into existence ultimately resemble what the Jews did by allowing themselves to be led like sheep to be slaughtered in gas chambers, sacrificing themselves to bring into existence the State of Israel…“Basically, there were six million kamikazes”

And in the same interview:

“Hollywood was invented by Jewish gangsters.”

There are plenty of other quotes and even sequences from Godard’s films in reference to the state of Israel being a crime against all non-Jews in the Middle East, but in deference to the pedantic escape clause of Jew haters that being “anti-Zionist” is not the same as hating Jews for no good reason, we’ll leave out any further evidence. It’s hard to top the “Six million kamikazes” line.

He’s not particularly impressed by black people either, but at least they’re merely a novelty and not a cancer when attempting to share the same planet with him:

“I am generally interested in the ‘other’. It’s the same thing with blacks. First, they were colonised, and later everyone acted as if they were just as we are. Of course, a black person can wear glasses and a watch, but this doesn’t make us the same.”

Between Godard’s Jew bashings, Jewish gangster-run Hollywood acquired the remake rights to Breathless and in 1983 produced a frivolous new version starring Richard Gere, who was probably hoping this film would cement his reputation as the thinking American woman’s sex symbol. He cavorts around LA like a wacky sitcom neighbor, being cooly flippant even in the face of the law closing in after he killed that cop who was after his stolen vehicle. His French girlfriend (geddit?) doesn’t want to leave the country with him any more than the American girlfriend in the original did. So, after visiting a lot of locations, being silly in the face of danger and dispensing cleverness to the ever-watching camera, he meets the same fate as his French counterpart.

Amazingly, Jim McBride and screenwriter L.M. Kit Carson manage to fit everything that happened in the slow paced original into exactly the same running time, plus new scenes about Gere’s obsession with Silver Surfer comics, the creation of two filthy JEWS named Kurtzberg (Jack Kirby) and Lieber (Stan Lee). The film has no point, as the point of the original film was pointlessness. In that regard, it’s probably one of the more successful remakes ever made. Thanks for showing us ignorant Jew-brainwashed Americans the way, Godard, and here’s hoping your new Arab population in France is as hip and cosmopolitan towards The Other as you are.