Tripod (The War of The Worlds) - Adaptations - The War of The Worlds (1953 Film)

The War of The Worlds (1953 Film)

The Martian war machines in 1953 movie The War of the Worlds are drastically different from the ones described in Wells' novel. Instead of towering 100 foot-tall, fast-walking tripods, the Martian machines resemble sinister-looking, copper-colored manta rays. They glide along on three electromagnetic legs, visible only when emerging from the pit made by their crash-landing meteorite-ship and later shown indirectly by a sparking, burning effect where it touches the ground. Designed by Albert Nozaki, each war machine is armed with a visible, reddish heat-ray, in keeping with the novel, which is mounted atop a moving goose neck in a cobra-like head that incinerates anything the heat-ray touches.

The machines also have weapons which fire green energy bursts from both wingtips; these are referred to as "skeleton beams," so named for the ghastly visual effect shown when striking a human: an x-ray-like silhouette of the victim's skeleton becomes briefly visible as the body disintegrates. These weapons are immediately hypothesized by character Dr. Clayton Forrester as neutralizing mesons, "the atomic glue holding matter together," causing the target to vaporize, leaving behind a black stain on the ground (either remnants of the burned bodies or a scorching of the terrain where they were standing); they appear to be deployed as a long-range surface weapon, as compared to the heat-ray which is used at closer range and against taller structures or overhead U. S. Air Force aircraft.

These war machines do not have grasping tentacles; the Martians in the film apparently have no use for humans as a food supply. Their tactics for advancement across the terrain bear this out, sweeping out, section-by-section "...they slash across country like scythes, wiping out everything that's trying to get away from them," as described by General Mann during his analysis of their tactics.

The war machines are also equipped with a retractable cable tipped with an electronic eye housing with three colored lenses (red, green, and blue). It is used as a probe and slightly resembles the Martian "face." It is deployed from a round hatch on the underside of the machine, which appears completely seamless at any other time. The use of this probe and a subsequent physical reconnoiter (and contact) by a single Martian is the only time the Martians show any curiosity, other than a homicidal, about humans.

Another major difference is the presence of an energy force shield, a "magnetic blister" identified by Dr. Forrester (resembling, when briefly visible, the glass jar placed over mantle clocks: cylindrical and with a hemispherical top) that protects each of the war machines from heavy ground fire; it even protects them from the power of an atomic bomb blast, never touching the fighting machines encased inside.

A major difference between this and H. G. Wells' novel was that the film's war machines were invincible to all standard Earth weapons, including the power of an atomic bomb launched against them. In the book the war machines are heavily armored and were vulnerable to Army artillery fire and a British Navy torpedo ram. The novel's war machines had no defensive capability other than a fast moving offense.

Read more about this topic:  Tripod (The War Of The Worlds), Adaptations

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