Film / Invasion U.S.A. (1952)

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Mr. Ohman: The manufacturer wants more war orders, and lower taxes. Labor wants more consumable products, and a 30-hour week. The college boy wants a stronger army, and a deferment for himself. The businessman wants a stronger Air Force, and a new Cadillac. The housewife wants security, and a new dishwasher. Everyone wants a stronger America, and we all want the same man to pay for it. George. Let George do it.
Tractor Manufacturer: I disagree with you — I don't want to let George do it!
Mr. Ohman: Then you must be the exception?
Tractor Manufacturer: No — I'm George!
[everyone laughs]
— The movie gets Anvilicious about the Aesop at the beginning.

Invasion U.S.A. is a 1950s Glurgefest that purports to show the American audience how quickly the Cold War could heat up and the importance of the military-industrial complex.

One day in a bar, with news of Cold War tensions on the TV, a reporter comes in to ask the patrons — a motley bunch from all walks of life — if they support allowing the U.S. government to take over companies in the name of the cold war effort. Most of the patrons are skeptical except for a strange man nursing a wine glass at the end of the bar — one Mr. Ohman (Dan O'Herlihy), who delivers a What The Hell, Citizen speech to everyone accusing them of just wanting to wish their problems dead instead of doing what needed to be done. After mesmerizing his audience with his speech before leaving, the patrons quickly discover that the U.S. is now in the middle of World War III, as "the Enemy" (totally not the Soviet Union) conducts an audacious plan to invade the North American mainland, with both nukes and paratroopers flying freely. The main characters try to do what they can, but somehow every request of the military-industrial complex that they'd been complaining about or ignoring comes back to bite the U.S. at the worst possible time, and the cast starts dropping like flies before the Red onslaught.

In the end, through the germanic man's hypnotizing the entire bar into seeing visions of what might be, the naysayers are shown the evils of their ways and pledge to be more patriotic afterwards. And the reporter hero manages to win the affections of the heroine from the tractor manufacturer who brought her to the bar.

For tropes and episode details related to the MST3K version, please check out the episode recap page.

No relation to the 1985 Chuck Norris movie of the same title.


Invasion U.S.A. contains the following tropes:

  • All Just a Dream: Just as the last of the main characters dies, the characters awaken from a trance, still in the bar at the start of the film, discovering Ohman hypnotized them and the entire events of the film concerning the Soviet invasion were a cautionary tale.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: The United States; but more importantly, the bar.
  • Arc Words: "If I had my life to live over again."
  • Artistic License Nuclear Physics: The film was made less than a decade after World War II, when people had especially little idea how nuclear weapons worked. The weapons called "Atom Bombs" are just vaguely better (and visually identical) versions of conventional explosives, not devices that leave a thousand mile wake of irradiated fallout. Hence, "The Enemy" throw nuclear weapons like peanuts, blowing up airfields, dams, battleships, small out of the way towns, and cities (repeatedly), technically negating the very concept of an "invasion", since there'd be nothing actually left to occupy for about fifty years. As a particularly ludicrous example, the nuclear bombing of New York City results in only twenty thousand deaths. There's also the matter of the nuclear torpedo, which somehow only sets its target on fire instead of vaporizing it and everything a mile out in every direction.
  • Big Applesauce: London New York is left a bombed out rubble.
  • Big Dam Plot: The Soviets nuke Hoover Dam (referred to in the film by its old name, "Boulder Dam"), causing Boulder City to be flooded, and presumably cutting off power.
  • Broken Aesop: To defeat Communism, cede your time, money, businesses, and even identity to your government and country. In other words, defeat communism with more communism!
  • Chekhov's Skill: Ohman is described as a hypnotist by the barkeep during the cast introduction. You don't say...
  • Covers Always Lie: Don't let the poster fool you. Carla is wearing trousers when she jumps out the window. Sorry, fellas! No Panty Shot!
  • Critical Research Failure: Invoked in the Spot the Impostor scene. Seriously, an infiltration unit should be far better briefed.
  • Day of the Jackboot: The Not-USSR has taken control of both US coasts, occupied Washington DC and destroyed or seized most of America's industrial complex. It's all over but the shouting when the vision ends.
  • Deadline News: A reporter covering one battle against the Enemy's forces has his signal cut off while his position is being overrun. Also, the reporter hero's final broadcast near the end of the film.
  • Dirty Communists: One even menaces a good, clean American woman. Her assailant also overlaps with Husky Russkie.
    Enemy Soldier: [drunk] Now you my woman!
  • Empathy Doll Shot: After the Hoover Dam flood, one is shown floating in the aftermath.
  • Extra! Extra! Read All About It!: One of the most bizarre and badly staged in film history. As the Vincent and Carla stare lovingly into each other's eyes, a newsboy walks in, yelling, "Extra! Extra! 'America Invaded', read all about it!", stares directly at the two characters (who continue to stare into each other's eyes like zombies), then turns around and walks off from the same way he entered.
  • A Glass of Chianti: Ohman's nursing a glass as the film begins — and hypnotizes most of the bar with it.
  • Hammer and Sickle Removed for Your Protection: A prime example. "The Enemy" is never directly named, but near the end the movie just gives up and goes with the full-on Russian accents for the bad guys.
  • Have I Mentioned I Am Heterosexual Today?: There's a lot of accusations of being a sissy in the film. The Marty Stu TV reporter, of course, is a man's man.
  • Hollywood Tactics: Ranges from the "Enemy"'s liberal use of nuclear weapons to paratroopers being dropped while under machine gun fire.
  • Invaded States of America
  • Invisible President: Though only because the movie refuses to show the president looking at the camera.
  • It's Raining Men: The way the "enemy" invades America.
  • Karma Houdini: No one seems to blame the President for allowing a ridiculous invasion like this.
  • Killed Mid-Sentence: The traffic controller at Peace Harbor, Alaska — the "Enemy"'s beachhead for the invasion.
  • Meaningful Name: Mr. Ohman, who hypnotizes everyone into seeing an Omen of things to come.
  • Moral Dissonance: Apparently it was wrong for one of the characters to turn down the offer by the government to take control of his tractor factory to build tanks to fight the communists; an act which would have been very communistic in itself.
  • Neutral Female: The movie ends with everyone thinking about what they could do to stave off a Soviet invasion. All except Carla. Nothing she does either way would affect anything. In fact, she's just yet another war prize when the invasion happens. She did work as a nurse during World War II.
  • Omniscient Council of Vagueness: The "Enemy"'s war room, with a huge wall map of the United States and "the most feared Geography teacher of Central High".
  • Rape as Drama: See Dirty Communists.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: The "wah wah wah" horns implying laughs when they find the bartender's dead body.
  • Spot the Imposter: Used when the "Enemy" sends its troops disguised as Americans to infiltrate Washington, DC, and one infiltrator claims to be from a Chicago unit.
    Guard: You ever go see the Cubs play?
    Infiltrator: [confused] Cubs? A cub is a small animal, a bear...
    [Blast Out ensues]
  • Stock Footage: Used in long montages to show the progress of the war. Rather noticeably, one of the pieces supposedly showing the destruction of New York in fact used footage from the London Blitz. At the end of one of these...
  • Swiss Cheese Security: Even given the film's Aesop, only two guards are posted to defend the seat of government in Washington?
    • Not just Washington but the whole country. Are there more than 10 American soldiers in the entire movie? And if the Russians captured Alaska to use as a launching platform to invade the USA, where is Canada's army to stop them going through Canadian territory to reach the continental US?
  • Television Geography: Enemy paratroopers are shown landing on a beach supposedly outside Washington, D.C., which is 30+ miles from the Atlantic Ocean. A similar landing is shown at the wide open plains of Puget Sound in western Washington state, a region covered in trees and hills for hundreds of miles around.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: The driver realizes halfway to Phoenix that his home has a new flag over it.
  • You No Take Candle: "The Enemy" all speak in heavily accented, broken English. Even to each other—they were instructed only to speak English, as practice.

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