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Battle of the Worlds (1961)

There are obvious advantages to being a grumpy old man.
Disregard for societal norms, the ability to say “Back in my day…” and of course, senior citizen discounts.

Battle of the Worlds is basically Claude Rains trying to trying to tell the leaders of the world that a massive meteor is heading to earth and will probably kill us all!
They ignore him because he IS a grumpy old man.

End it all now, Giant Meteor!

Academy Award Nominee Claude Rains chews up more scenery than a rottweiler on a new couch, and the rest of the cast, Italian actors, try valiantly to keep up, but fail, and Rains ends up stealing the whole movie right out from under them!

The Episode

The Review

I found a great review of “Battle of the Worlds” over at Moira Reviews, so I’ll let them give you the Reader’s Digest version of the film and what they thought about it:

The film’s greatest crime is simply that it is slow and talky and almost nothing happens. The planet arrives, some UFOs appear, a rocket mission is launched to investigate – but once the astronauts get there nothing happens at all, the inhabitants of the planet are found to be dead and then the planet blows up. Exactly who was piloting the UFOs if all the inhabitants are dead is a question left unanswered.

There is some occasional cheap atmosphere during some of the ventures into the planet’s caverns – tunnels of red vein-like tubes, caverns of dead bodies and the encounter with a brain sphere. However, in terms of what has been built up – mystery planets, invading UFOs – the arrival on the planet is underwhelming to the point of total letdown.

As I mentioned above, the saving grace of this plodding, boring movie is Claude Rains.
He is funny, cantankerous, caustic, and just spends his time in Italy and this film running laps around the poor Italian actors, who probably did not know what to make of him.

They’re speaking Italian, he’s speaking English, and I can only imagine poor Margheriti trying to keep all the plates spinning while trying to calm the Italian actors, and keep Rains on a short leash.  The older actor was at the end of his career, probably taking roles out of boredom or to keep his estate running, and had talent and presence to burn.

I think if you view this as a comedy, you will be delighted at the craziness that goes on, and will come away with a smile on your face and shaking your head at ol’ Claude doing his cigar chomping thing.

That’s why you want to watch “Battle of the Worlds”.

The Links

Claude Rains – iMDB, Wikipedia

Two obituaries on Rains – New York Times, Los Angeles Times

David J. Skal’s wonderful biography “Claude Rains: An Actor’s Voice” on Amazon

Claude Rains house, 2000 Chestnut Lane, Downington, PA on

Den of Geek – “Remembering Claude Rains”

Read about Battle of the Worlds – Wikipedia

Then watch Battle of the Worlds on YouTube (For free!)

The Credits

I am very grateful to be able to use the music and sound effects of so many wonderful creators.
You can find a list of all music used, and all sound effects used, and links, here, on our Credits page.

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