Invasion U.S.A. (1952 film)
Promo material for Invasion U.S.A.
|Directed by||Alfred E. Green|
|Produced by||Albert Zugsmith
|Written by||Robert Smith
|Music by||Albert Glasser|
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
|Running time||74 min.|
Invasion, U.S.A. (sometimes Invasion USA) is a 1952 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.
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 television newscaster Vince Potter (Gerald Mohr), beautiful young New York society woman 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 material wealth they enjoy, they also want lower taxes and don't see the need for industrial support of government. Mr. Ohman does not seem to think that all adds up.
Suddenly the news becomes worse. The Enemy is staging air attacks over Seal Point, Alaska and then Nome. 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 A-bombed. The United States fights back and attacks The Enemy's homeland with B-36 missions, but The Enemy steadily moves into Washington 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 drive. 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 Boulder Dam by a nuclear missile. The President 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....
"The Enemy" is never named but is clearly meant to be taken as the Communist Soviet Union, given their approach through Alaska, pseudo-Slavic accents, "People's Army" proclamations, and use of Soviet fighter aircraft (Yak-17s and MiG-15s) and bombers (Tu-4, a clone of the American B-29 Superfortress).
Much of the film's running time is taken up with inappropriate and inconsistent combat stock footage. This is relatively aseptic, and sometimes unintentionally humorous: American C-82 Packet transports drop "Enemy" paratroopers on Washington, D.C. Some of the individual encounters between The Enemy and Americans are typical of 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.
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 1985 Chuck Norris film of the same name.
- 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)
- The encounters also resemble accounts of Soviet behavior during the invasion of Germany, especially during the Battle of Berlin.