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The War of the Worlds

The War of the Worlds(1953)

Remind Me

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  • Reportedly, George Pal wanted to do the final third of the movie in 3-D, starting with the sequence in which the atomic bomb is used unsuccsessfully against the martians. The project was secured by Paramount in 1934. Both Cecil B. DeMille and Alfred Hitchcock were considered for directors. Orson Welles, who rose to prominence with his "War of the Worlds" radio broadcast of Halloween, 1938, was pressured into making this his first feature film, but he wanted no part of it. Filming was halted briefly, two days into filming, when Paramount discovered their filming rights to the novel had expired. It was quickly resolved through the kind permission of H.G. Wells's estate.
  • Originally, the Martian War Machines were supposed to "walk" on visible electronic beams. This was attempted by having electrical sparks emanate from the three holes at the bottom of the machine. This was quickly abandoned for fear of it becoming a major fire hazard. The shot of the first war machine emerging from the gully has this effect. During filming, the actors were under the impression that they were dealing with the walking tripod machines of the book. This explains the farmhouse scene when Gene Barry says, "There's a machine standing right next to us."
  • The Flying Wing depicted in the movie is the Northrop YB-49. Two were built and both crashed. Stock footage was used in the movie.
  • The Martian machines were models suspended from wires. For the final sequences where the machines "die", they are shown crashing into telegraph poles - this allowed the film makers to hide the suspension wires with the telegraph wires.
  • This film had a budget of $2,000,000. Of that sum, $600,000 was spent on the live action scenes while $1,400,000 was spent on the extensive and elaborate special effects.


  • legaleagle (2006-03-06)

    Source: "The Story of the Flying Wing" film; NORTHROP FLYING WINGS book;

    The footage of the flying wing comes from a film commissioned by Northrop Aircraft entitled "The Story of the Flying Wing." It was the first of the YB-49 jets, designated 2367. This jet was destroyed during a high-speed taxi test. The actor who played the pilot was James Lawry, also known as James Seay. Although sent to drop an atom bomb on the Martians, there are no shots of the YB-49 actually dropping an atom bomb on the Martians. The 2nd YB-49 crashed on June 5, 1948; its debris field still exists in the Antelope Valley, California. A 3rd jet, the YRB-49, was destroyed by the USAF in 1953.

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