The war of the worlds that led (almost) to a massacre

War of the Worlds is Steven Spielberg’s film which airs this evening, in the late evening, at 11.12 pm on Italia 1. The film is the transposition of the 1897 novel of the same name by the science fiction writer H. G. Wells. Second Coming SoonSpielberg believed that many elements of the film were kept under wraps, so much so that he kept the aliens’ appearances a secret from both cast and crew until the end of filming.

The war of the worlds, the plot

Ray Ferrier (Tom Cruiselisten)) is a man who works as a dock worker and lives in suburban New Jersey. His life is quite ordinary: a worker, Ray has divorced his wife (Miranda Otto) and gets to see the children Rachel (Dakota Fanning) and Robbie (Justin Chatwin) only once a month. When it finally comes time to be with her kids, something unbelievable throws off all their plans. Ray, in fact, notices the presence of a large cloud on the horizon, from which thunderbolts are raining down that are able to silence all electrical equipment and a large part of human technology.

Looking for answers to this strange event, Ray ventures towards the center to discover that huge chasms have opened up in the street, from which alien machines capable of destroying everything come out. Ray then decides to run away with his children, after having collected some food and a gun to be able to defend himself. What Ray still doesn’t know is that his journey for survival will become a real war, to the point of prompting him to join the military to fight the aliens and have the opportunity to save the lives of their children.

The Orson Welles case

War of the Worlds by Steven Spielberg is not the first attempt to transpose the work of HG Wells, nor the most famous. In fact, the memory of the transmission made by the director and artist has remained intact in history Orson Welles in the 1930s that brought the United States to the brink of a wave of panic that could have had catastrophic consequences. How does it rebuild history, the radio broadcast in question was broadcast on October 30, 1938, on the eve of Halloween. The radio show kicked off at eight in the evening, which at the time was prime time in the golden era of radio. Orson Welles began with a spoken introduction, then handed the microphone to an announcer whose job was to read the weather. A moment later, the same voice invited listeners to listen to the music of Ramon Raquello from the Meridian Room of the Park Plaza Hotel in New York. The music was then abruptly interrupted with the news that a certain “Professor Farrell of Mount Jenning Observatory” he had detected strange explosions on the planet Mars.

At that point the music was restarted, only to cut it off again to announce to the listeners that a meteorite had fallen in a farm field in Grovers Mills, New Jersey. Soon the voice of another conductor spread from the radio who had gone to the crash site and who began to describe a Martian that had emerged from the earth thanks to a metal cylinder. “Gods, what is it? Something writhes in the shadows, it looks like… it looks like a gray snake. Now here’s another one. And another one. And another one. And another one. It looks like tentacles to me… Now I can see the body of the what. It’s big, big as a bear. It shimmers like it’s wet skin. It’s… it’s… Gentlemen, it’s really indescribable. I can barely bring myself to keep looking at it. It’s terrible. The eyes are black and they shine like a snake’s. The mouth is a sort of V with saliva dripping from contourless lips that seem to quiver and throb.”

The story continued with the description of a laser beam machine that killed all humans at the impact site. According to the radio rumor, the aliens managed to shoot down 7,000 soldiers before releasing a poisonous gas, while more alien “cylinders” landed in Chicago and St. Louis. Orson Welles, with his sound effects and thanks to his team of actors, managed to make the show so realistic that it aroused the panic in anyone who was listening. Second Sky History, in fact, fear began to spread throughout the United States. In New Jersey many citizens decided to hit the highways to look for a possible escape route, while other people jammed the police lines to ask for gas masks. There were also those who called the electric companies to ask to disconnect the service so that the aliens would not see the lights in the houses. A woman walked into an Indianapolis church where a Mass was in progress and yelled: “New York has been destroyed. It’s there end of the world. Run home and prepare to die”.

Many reenactments of events also talked about how the radio show moved some people to commit suicide to escape the alien menace, but second Sky History none of these reconstructions has been confirmed by official sources. When Orson Welles got caught up in the local news and saw what his radio show was creating for him, he decided to take matters into his own hands. He spoke directly into the CBS station’s microphones reminding viewers that it was a fictional radio show. The Federal Communications Commission investigated the program, but no law had been broken and the network was limited to a “rebuke” and an invitation to be more careful in the future. For Orson Welles, however, the radio show was a turning point: it attracted the attention of Hollywood and a few years later, in 1941, he directed, wrote and produced what is still considered one of the most important films in the history of cinema. , Fourth power.

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About David Martin

David Martin is the lead editor for Spark Chronicles. David has been working as a freelance journalist.

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