From the fertile mind of H.G. Wells came this vision of a nation under aerial alien siege. It might have been London under the Nazi blitzkrieg, but this is Los Angeles taking a hit from sleek Martian saucers. Oh, they were handsomely designed — as gorgeous as the actual Martians, once they landed, were spindly and grotesque. Producer George Pal’s fantasy thrillers, such as Destination Moon, When Worlds Collide, Conquest of Space and The Time Machine boasted the snazziest special effects of the day. His vision of trans-world Armageddon has terrors both epic (Angelenos zapped by the planes’ death rays) and intimate (a few people hiding in a basement, hoping to elude a Martian probe that looks like a TV screen on a metallic snake). Much superior to Steven Spielberg’s frantic 2005 remake.