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4K Ultra HD Restored ‘Invaders From Mars’ Now Available

To celebrate the home entertainment release, special New York screenings of William Cameron Menzies’ 1953 sci-fi classic will be held January 14 and January 18 at MoMA and at the Bedford Playhouse Clive Davis Arts Center January 15.

In celebration of the 70th Anniversary of Invaders From Mars, William Cameron Menzies’ 1953 sci-fi classic, Ignite Films has announced that a special 4K Ultra HD restoration is now available (order it here). Since 2005, Ignite has acquired classic film packages and copyrights to distribute through creative and far-reaching deals. The Hollywood Professional Association (HPA) Awards Committee recently recognized the company for restoring and preserving this classic film.

*** Editor's Note: when I watched this film as a little kid it scared the beezeebies out of me! Gave me nightmares!

“Ignite Films acquired the Eddie Alperson library, of which one of the titles was Invaders From Mars,” shared Ignite founder Bosman Jansen. “Buying the older catalogs over the years has made me a specialist in searching for restoration materials, which in a number of cases were not to be found. Invaders From Mars was one of those. Until 2012 this film was just lost to us, but then I was able to buy the original camera negative, which was in great condition but consisted of only 70% of the movie. That’s when my cooperation with Scott MacQueen started.”

Classic cinema preservationist Scott MacQueen led the restoration of Invaders From Mars. McQueen, who served as head of preservation at UCLA Film & Television Archive for over a decade, noted that the project’s biggest challenge was that the color negative confirmed for printing in SUPERcineCOLOR lacked many shots and needed to be sourced from 70-year-old prints. 

Invaders From Mars - New 2022 Trailer:

Invaders From Mars was one of the most complex projects I have ever undertaken,” said MacQueen. “In the days of analog restoration, it would not have been possible, but 21st-century digital tools have been game-changers.”

To complete the restoration, Ignite’s Janet Schorer searched for the final elements needed to fill in the gaps in the original camera negative. The George Eastman Museum and the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia were instrumental in supplying key elements essential to completing the film. The restoration includes eight minutes of European scenes, an alternate ending, and the original trailer.

In addition to the restored 4K version of the original 1953 trailer, bonus features in the release include a newly commissioned 2022 trailer, an interview with the film’s star, Jimmy  Hunt, an in-depth look at the restoration process led by MacQueen, and a documentary about the film featuring interviews with directors Joe Dante (Gremlins), John Landis (An American Werewolf in London), and multiple VFX Academy-Award winner Robert Skotak (Aliens, Terminator 2: Judgement Day). Award-winning filmmaker Jeremy Alter (David Lynch’s Inland Empire, Doug Ellin’s Ramble On) produced and directed the bonus features.

A timeless 1953 bone-chiller, Invaders From Mars tells the story of David MacLean, a young boy (Jimmy Hunt) who witnesses an alien invasion. Filmed from a child's point of view exaggerated sets and upward angles were used. It became a modern classic, one of two early 50s classic alien-invasion science fiction films (the other is Robert Wise’s The Day the Earth Stood Still) reflecting Cold War tensions, the Red Scare, and paranoid anxiety typical of many films in the 50s.

Invaders From Mars stars Hunt, Helena Carter, Arthur Franz, Morris Ankrum, Leif Erickson, and Hillary Brooke.

Special screenings of the 4K restoration:

Saturday, January 14, 2023, at 6:30 pm and Wednesday, January 18 at 4:30 pm

The Museum of Modern Art (11 West 53 Street, Manhattan, New York) - tickets are available here.

The special screening is in conjunction with To Save and Project: The 19th MoMA International Festival of Film Preservation, the latest edition of the annual festival dedicated to celebrating newly preserved and restored films from archives, studios, distributors, foundations, and independent filmmakers from around the world. Before the screening, a film preservation workshop by MacQueen, who led the movie’s restoration team.

Sunday, January 15, 2023, at 11 am

Bedford Playhouse Clive Davis Arts Center (Westchester County at 633 Old Post Road, Bedford, NY 10506) - tickets are available here.

A presentation and Q&A will follow the screening with the film’s restorer, MacQueen.

Source: Ignite Films

Debbie Diamond Sarto's picture

Debbie Diamond Sarto is news editor at Animation World Network.