Invasion, U.S.A. (1952)

Invasion, U.S.A. was the second film from American Pictures Corporation, who had just made their first film, Captive Women. The company was made up of Albert Zugsmith (Girls Town, the bizarre The Chinese Room), Peter Miller, Aubrey Wisberg  (who would write Hercules In New York) and Jack Pollexfen (Indestructible Man) with Joseph Justman as the producer. Their plan was to make six films a year and for this one, they worked alongside the U.S. Civil Defense to make a film that would prepare people for the horrors of nuclear war. It even boasted the alternate title The Complacent Americans and If the Bomb Falls: A Recorded Guide to Survival.

The film takes place in a New York City bar, where Mr. Ohman (yes, that’s Conal Cochran himself, Dan O’Herlihy) is trying to explain to a group of well-to-do Americans, including TV anchorman Vince Potter (Gerald Mohr, The Angry Red Planet and the voice of Reed Richards on the original Marvel cartoons that barely moved), an industrialist, a rancher, a Congressman and a society girl (Peggie Castle, TV’s Lawman and Beginning of the End). None of them are against Communism and just want to enjoy the spoils of living in America.

Within oh, 74 minutes, their lives go to Hell as troops land in Alaska while atomic blasts rock America’s cities. Every single one of them dies horribly, even if the TV announcer and rich girl fall in love, as he’s shot on the air and she leaps to her doom from a balcony. Luckily, everyone had been in a trance and as we see our heroine fall into a glass of brandy, Ohman releases everyone. Now they know what Americans need to do — which is ironically pitch in and work for the needs of the collective instead of individual needs, which sounds a lot like Communism, which makes sense, because now we live in a country where anti-fascism is referred to as fascism and no one really knows what socialism means.

Politics aside, this movie features two actresses that played Lois Lane (Phyllis Coates and Noel Neill), Clarence A. Shoop (beyond being a Two-Star General, Shoop was the technical advisor on a number of films including So Proudly We Hail!, One Minute to Zero and Jet Pilot, as well as being on The Bob Cummings Show, as he was Cummings base commander while the actor was a pilot; he was also a Vice President at Hughes Aircraft and definitely saw an alien at some point, right?), Edward G. Robinson Jr. and voice-over star Know Manning (who told kids all over America the dangers of, well, everything in She Shoulda Said No!).

You can watch this on Tubi.

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