Wednesday, September 10, 2008
50s Sci-Fi Interpretation
A former co-worker told me, when she noticed I had checked out the video I Married a Monster From Outer Space, "You know, that was about Communism." I had heard that interpretation before. Hostile 50s movie aliens, especially those who assumed human form, were supposed to be a veiled reference to Communists. (They look just like your neighbor, but they are evil and aim to take over.) Of course, there were also wise, nice aliens that the ignorant earthlings, especially belligerent small-town sheriffs, wanted to destroy. I suppose those films could represent the viewpoint of Communist sympathizers, the sheriff character being a veiled portrait of Joseph McCarthy. I've never heard it suggested, but it might appeal to proponents of the first theory.
But the whole theoretical edifice topples when we consider Red Planet Mars (1952). The Martians in this flick are born-again Christians! An American scientist (Peter Graves) gets Bible quotes in messages from Mars. There is an evil Nazi who claims to be sending all the messages--which inspire the Russians to abandon Communism--but it actually turns out that the Martians really are Christians. (Don't worry that I've spoiled the movie for you; it is so bad that it's beyond spoiling.) The Martians destroy Communism. Everybody wants to be Christians, just like the Martians.