The movie follows a small town doctor Miles, who learns the people in his community is being replaced by aliens duplicates. Invasion of the Body Snatchers’ metaphorical meaning has been associated with both sides of the political spectrum: some believe that the film reflects the right-wing paranoia about Communists infiltrating and taking over the American way of life, while others believe that this shows the left-wing paranoia about McCarthyism. Many American feared communist overtaking America. The opening scene of the movie shows the main character, Miles Bennell whos a doctor of the town, the audience witnesses the development of the growing ‘pod-people’ who are the villains of the movie, and they are only seen from Miles perspectives. The narrative is orchestrated to imply that Miles is really irrational to his shock and what we the audience is witnessing isn’t really happening.This can be seen in the last scene as Miles gravely tries to alert other humans of the upcoming invasion.
Miles is now the minority he is trying to warn the locals but to his dismay, he is ignored and thought to be a crazy person. The hero and the villain have had their parts switched, so how can Miles be linked with the simple people of the town. The movie engages a connection with the paranoia and upcoming conformism of 1950s America in the face of McCarthyism at that time. The scene connotes that the non-conformist, Miles, who does not believe in casting aside his originality for an idea he does not stand with, will be diminished to a minority whose voice won’t be heard. Miles girlfriend has been turned into one of them which was a reality for a lot of people at that time. The movie also manipulates the audience by using the narrative structure and not having a clear ending, Miles is successful in making the officers contact the authority, they run out, leaving miles left in fear, this is not a classical Hollywood ending and this leaves the audience wonder with questions like if the invasion will be stopped, Who will win the pods or humans? This connotes that this will be an ongoing conflict just like the cold war. This also makes a link with what happened in the movie and America at that time, people who were paranoid with each other because they didn’t know who were communist and conformity; and the ending left the audience with many questions as they left the theatre. Only the closest members are able to differentiate the changes, to all the other people he is the same person, this is shown when Wilma tells Miles that there is something different about her uncle, he looks the same and has all the memory but he lacks a genuine feeling, he is dehumanized.
He is shown mowing the lawn with no emotions as if he was just following the routine but not understanding why that was. When people get taken over by the aliens they lose their humanity which includes love and desire. This is shown when Miles kisses Becky to jokingly confirm that it’s her and not her double, this foreshadows when Miles learns Becky has been taken over by the green pod. When the two enter the empty restaurant they find out the live band has been replaced by a jukebox connoting the exchange of humanity with machines. The yet to be formed pod has blank fingerprints this indicates the fall of individuality as conformity becomes the new plan working and reasoning become the ideals.The movie looks into to the terror of conspiracy that was submerged at that time.
The movie also talks about the communist infiltrating in America when the movie shows the town is operating as usual like it always has, but in reality, the aliens have taken over most of the people in the town. The concept of covering up what seems out of the ordinary or strange is also evidenced in the film. In a scene, Miles tells Wilma “the trouble is inside you.” This point is later revolved around him and Jack when one of the authority Dr. Kaufman describes the secret of the duplicate body and attempts to make the whole weird situation into a common case. And he responds to their doubt as if it was nothing and when the cops get there it seems strange.
This connotes that the people in power are used to make the people who ask questions that everything is ordinary like it is supposed to be. By using psychiatrist and the law force who are supposed to protect the innocents they are represented as people who are not to be trusted as this is what the pod people try to suggest. This also subverts governing authority that wanting to control.
Additionally, the diegetic music that Miles hears attracts his attention as he leaves Becky alone which causes her change. This also connotes how at that time, Mccarthy’s witch hunt left people to abandon their friends and families. The movie manages to capture an authentic feeling of uncertainty and paranoia, however, it is uncertain if the filmmaker wanted to speak out against Communism or McCarthyism; it’s also possible that the filmmaker was intending a normal message. Conformity is shown as a risk which goes against the witch hunts for communist people that belittle the idea of free speech and tried to influence all people to the same political ideology. There is also an idea that people are swiftly transformed when they are at a place of comfort.
From the director’s point of view, the movie was supposed to be a thriller movie, The narrative of the movie has the subject matter of conformity and self-government