A mysterious stranger enters a Manhattan bar and begins a discussion with the patrons on how to defeat Communism. Before long, a Red Alert is in effect, and America is being invaded by foreign troops, bombs are falling, and skyscrapers are crumbling. In the midst of it all, a reporter and a debutante try to find love.
Directed by: Alfred E. Green
. Starring: Gerald Mohr
, Peggie Castle
, Dan O'Herlihy
, Robert Bice
, Tom Kennedy
, Wade Crosby
, Erik Blythe
, Phyllis Coates
, Aram Katcher
, Knox Manning
, Edward G. Robinson Jr.
, Noel Neill
, Clarence A. Shoop
. Music by: Albert Glasser
It's a darn shame that INVASION USA was such a poorly made film, as the film did have a couple things in its favor. First, the idea for the film of a Soviet invasion of America, while rather ridiculous, was also pretty interesting. It's an interesting "what if" sort of concept. Second, while many of the "actors" were amazingly lame, there were a couple quality actors in the cast as well. While not household names, Gerald Mohr and Dan O'Herlihy could definitely actor and both had wonderful voices. Despite a script written by marsupials, they tried their best and gave the film a tiny bit of respectability. Unfortunately, everything else in the film was such a mess that these factors manage to keep the overall score to a 2! Yes, folks, it's THAT bad!
The film begins with an incredibly obvious scene in a bar where the people all seem more like caricatures than real people. Each person there has a variety of excuses not to do their best to protect America from foreign devils. However, to teach them all a lesson, a mystic (O'Herlihy) uses mass hypnosis to show they what it would be like if their beloved nation were destroyed due to their indifference.
The biggest problem with the film is the budget. It's obvious they had very little money, so at least half to two-thirds of the film consisted of stock footage of an "invasion". Many times, photographs of US cities were shown and then explosions were cheaply superimposed over top of it--and looked nothing like an exploding city. As for the action footage, the trouble was that much of the stock film was hopelessly out of date by 1952, as much of it was from WWII. In fact, the naval footage is almost all from the War in the Pacific--and featured Japanese planes that were now obsolete making kamikaze attacks on ships. Apart from this, with only a few grainy clips of MIG-15 fighter planes, the rest of the clips all showed American airplanes supposedly attacking America! So, the "enemy" consisted mostly of B-29B-50 bombers (the B-50 is an updated version of the 29) as well as Saber and Starfighter jets. This was never explained and telling who was who was practically impossible. However, with the footage of "enemy" soldiers, the film explained that the reason they looked EXACTLY like American soldiers was because they were deliberately doing that to confuse us!! Oh, and by the way, the reason I say "enemy" is that although the film obviously is about a Soviet attack on America, not once were these enemy nations named--a very strange omission to say the least.
Based on what I've said so far, you'd probably assume the film isn't worth watching. Well, that might be true for the average viewer, but there is a certain silly appeal in watching it. In other words, the film is so bad that it's entertaining because you might just find yourself laughing at either the film's incompetence or how over the top it becomes near the end. In particular, you just have to see the scene where the pretty lady is attacked by slobbering perverted soldiers--I know I found myself laughing out loud!!
By the way, the DVD for this film is excellent. I like the way it was packaged as well as the extras. While the interviews with some of the actors were done in a rather cheesy manner, some of their insights are interesting and it's very surreal to see that Noell Neal actually seemed to like the film and think it was well made!! Also, a short film from 1962, RED NIGHTMARE, is actually better made and a much better example of the so-called "Red Scare" era than the featured film.
FYI--For trivia nuts out there, this film has small parts for BOTH Lois Lanes from the 1950s TV show--Noel Neill and Phyllis Coates, though they do not act together in the movie. Look closely, though, as each part is rather small. Neill is the lady at the airline desk and Coates is the wife of the rancher who almost immediately snuffs it when she enters the screen.
Review by planktonrules from the Internet Movie Database.