Dana Wynter, R.I.P.

Wynter_Dana_2According to The Hollywood Reporter, Dana Wynter (Dagmar Winter), star of 1956’s SF classic INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS. She was 79.
Playing  Becky Driscoll,  the old flame and tentative love interest of Kevin McCarthy’s haunted Dr. Miles Bennell in the horror-tinged science fiction parable of paranoia, gave the actress a special place in the hearts of genre fans.
The Don Siegel film of  Jack Finney’s 1954 novel The Body Snatchers became a favorite, open to viewers interpetation. One could claim it as a a cautionary tale about those insidoust Communist infiltators or a waring against McCarthyism. Many simply see it as a symblol of a changing America, of increasing alienation from ones’ friends and neighbors, the bleak underside of 1950’s conformity.
Anyone who seemed to mindlessly echo the dictates of others, or who showed a dramatic change in attitudes  might be labled as a “Pod Person”, a souless alien substitute for someone you once knew.
(There is a sad real-life version of this called the Capgras delusion; a psychiatric disorder in which sufferers believe that family members or friends have been replaced by indetical duplicates.)
The German-born, South African-raised Dana Wynter was entirely believable as the American-as-apple pie Becky, and equally convincing playing  European aristocrars, as she often would in film and television roles.
D_Wynt_IBS_TOther genre and bordline roles include KNIGHTS OF THE ROUND TABLE, TV’s SUSPENSE,  COL. MARCH OF SCOTLAND YARD (1956, with Boris Karloff), costarred with Robert Lansing (THE 4-D MAN) in THE MAN WHO NEVER WAS TV series, THE WILD WILD WEST, FANTASY ISLAND, and  THE QUESTOR TAPES.

Monsters: CFQ Post-Mortem Podcast 1:39.1

Monsters (2010) photo_06
Monsters (2010)

After debating whether three animated films in one year is more than enough from DreamWorks Animation, the Cinefantastique podcast crew of Dan Persons, Lawrence French, and Steve Biodrowski attack MONSTERS (2010), the low-budget science fiction film getting a platform theatrical release to boost its VOD. Also on the menu: listener reaction to the on-going “LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT vs I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE” debate. And a brief discussion of why you will not have to go elsewhere if you want to hear George Takei calling a former Arkansa school board member a “douchebag.”

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Clint Eastwood praises pod film

With THE INVASION opening this Friday (a remake of INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS, first filmed in 1956), I thought I would dip into the archives for a relevant tidbit. In July of 2005, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences launched a tribute to late director Don Siegel with a screening of the ’56 BODY SNATCHERS, with actor Clint Eastwood on stage to discuss the film. Eastwood appeared in many of Siegel’s later action films (most famously DIRTY HARRY), but he had personally selected Siegel’s only science-fiction effort as the first entry in the series.

Kevin McCarthy in INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS
Miles Bennell (Kevin McCarthy): “They’re here already! You’re next!”
The event began with some prefatory remarks from the evening’s host, director Curtis Hanson (L.A. CONFIDENTIAL). The evening’s first standing ovation occurred when he introduced actor Kevin McCarthy, star of BODY SNATCHERS (who also appeared in the 1978 remake starring Donald Sutherland). McCarthy got a big laugh by announcing, “I have to tell you: they’re not coming” (a reference to the hysterical warning he shouts at the end of the film: “They’re after you! They’re after all of us!”). Read More