An absolutely guileless piece of anti-nuclear agitprop, Invisible Invaders' unwavering single-mindedness and artful, bargain-basement effects have contributed to its deserved reputation as a early sci-fi classic. Essentially a didactic play of ideas--closer to Shaw than Spielberg--the story line follows a reluctant nuclear scientist (played with genuine sensitivity by Philip Tonge) whose conscience forces him out of the military-industrial complex. When a race of invisible aliens declares its intention to destroy Earth, Tonge must scramble to find their weakness. Veteran B-movie hunk John Agar lends support as a courageous army major who takes charge of the experimentation, and, in the process, supplies the film with its only shred of a subplot by romancing the scientist's daughter (spunky Jean Byron). Substantial newsreel footage and seemingly unrelated canned shots add to the creepy atmosphere, and the film's one real special effect--concentric circles representing sound waves--proves quite effective in its pure minimalism. Shot, apparently, on a budget of pocket change and bounced credit- union checks, Invisible Invaders stands as an inspiration to cash-poor indie filmmakers everywhere, and to anybody who understands that the true measure of a science-fiction narrative is not the force of its explosions, but of its ideas. --Miles Bethany
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