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Published on Mar 27, 2012
The Night America Trembled 1957 is probably one of the best films I have seen that proves, at least to me, the point that Americans have always been gun happy freaked out paranoid hicks. And that's why I love them, and I love this movie. The Night America Trembled is-as far as I know-the first movie of the events that happened during the radio broadcast of Orson Welles doing H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds on October 30, 1938. (Although not related, on October 28, 1940, Orson Welles met H.G. Wells in San Antonio, Texas; a local radio station KTSA recorded the conversation, which was likely the only meeting between the two) Oddly enough Orson Welles is never actually mentioned by name in this flick. Bad blood from the radio broadcast still I guess. Anyway, Newsman Edward R. Murrow adds modern perspective to '50s audiences about subsequent events that make this Orson Welles production still seem frightening to anyone who didn't hear the beginning of the broadcast having switched from Bergin and McCarthy on NBC. I first saw the remake "The Night that Panicked America" when I was just a little Lush I couldn't believe how realistic it sounded. I thought myself it was a brilliant joke. In this original movie however the director of the radio play and Orson Welles are depicted as two different people when they were actually one and the same. Also, the sound of the Martians' opening their ship was visualized as the sound man manually spinning a bare record turntable when it was actually the opening of a jar. (The remake shows this magnificently) What makes this Version best though are the Westinghouse commercials with John Cameron Swazee for various nuclear products! Also worth mentioning are the early performances of Warren Beatty, Ed Asner, Warren Oates, James Coburn, Vincent Gardenia, and, for Honeymooners fans, Frank Marth and a very young John Astin on the typewriter! This film was (as mentioned) remade in 1975 as The Night That Panicked America which is also a brilliant film.