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this called the Capgras delusion; a psychiatric disorder in which sufferers believe that family members or friends have been replaced by indetical duplicates.)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.

Invasion of The Body Snatchers – Retrospective Book Review

Jack Finney’s nifty 1954 novel has four screen adaptations to its credit (including the acknowledged 1956 classic), but the original text still stands as a fine work in its own right, worthy of being read by fans of the films and by genre enthusiasts in general. Numerous incidents have never made the transition from page to screen; more important, Finney’s writing brings the story alive in a way that no screen adaptation can ever capture.
The story is set in the 1970s but feels more appropriates to the era in which the novel was actually published. Miles Bennell is a small town doctor who patients begin to believe their family and friends are impostors, even though they act – laugh, talk, and smile – exactly like the originals. Miles suspects they are suffering from some kind of delusion and refers them to the local psychiatrist, but gradually he learns that Mill Valley – a small town above San Francisco – has been invaded by pods from outer space. These pods grow into duplicates of any organic matter in close proximity; when the original falls asleep, the pod steals its memories and takes its place, destroying its predecessor. Miles and his girlfriend Becky fight to expose the menace, but the conspiracy is too big for them. Fortunately, the pods give up and leave anyway; Miles theorizes that he and Becky were not alone: other people in other places fought, too, and the pods eventually decided to abandon the inhospitable planet Earth in favor of easier pickings. Read More