STARRING: Hugh Marlowe, Joan Taylor, Donald Curtis, Morris Ankrum, John Zaremba, Tom Browne Henry, Grandon Rhodes, Larry Blake, Harry Lauter, Charles Evans, Clark Howat, Frank Wilcox, Alan Reynolds

1956, 82 Minutes, Directed by:
Fred F. Sears

Description: Dr. Russell Marvin heads up Operation Skyhook, which is tasked with sending rockets into the upper atmosphere to probe for future space flights. Unfortunately, all the rockets are somehow disappearing. While investigating this strange occurrence, Russell and his new assistant/wife Carol Marvin are abducted by a flying saucer, where the aliens demand to meet with certain people in order to negotiate. But it was a trick; the aliens only wanted to kill them. The invasion has begun and if Russell and Carol can't find a way to get past their defenses and stop these creatures, it may be the end of the human race.

You'd be excused for thinking that the 1996 Mars Attacks! spoof was actually a colorized version of Earth vs. the Flying Saucers. After all, said Tim Burton flick not merely stole (spoofed?) its flying saucer designs, but even scenes such as a falling Washington needle crushing innocent bystanders!

In fact this 1956 black & white movie is a quintessential example of 1950s sci-fi cinema, most of which centered on alien invasions. Think War of the Worlds, The Thing (from Another World) and the original Invasion of the Body Snatchers and you get the idea. (Taking all these movies into consideration one can just see how brave The Day the Earth Stood Still was being practically the only movie from this Red Scare era in which the aliens came in peace!)

Earth vs. The Flying Saucers is just that: After a few demonstrations of their advanced power, aliens from a dying planet sit back and wait for Earth to surrender. No point in actually having a large-scale attack, they reckon. After all, they want the planet to be in a good condition when they move in. This breather space is of course very convenient since it gives several Earth scientists (or rather the main protagonist of the movie) to devise a weapon to counter the aliens. When the aliens do attack, they are repelled by said weapons - and once again the earth is, um, saved by scientists like it was in Independence Day.

Your enjoyment of Earth vs. the Flying Saucers will depend very much on your tolerance of older movies. To be honest it is no better or worse than the 1996 Independence Day - after all, both movies employ the same plots basically and both utilized the state-of-the-art special effects of its day.

What actually makes Earth, etc. better than many of its contemporaries is in fact its special effects by SFX legend Ray (Clash of the Titans) Harryhausen. While not good by today's standards, they aren't all that bad really (for its time) and their scale is rather audacious. You can't help but gleefully relish the film's extended climax in which rampaging flying saucers destroy what must be all of the Washington D.C. landmarks and monuments! Something subversive about that, especially for a movie made in the 1950s . . . (What? You though ID4 was wholly original in its destruction of the White House?)

Fast-moving, some subdued acting and a very straight-forward storytelling style makes Earth vs. the Flying Saucers one of the better examples of 'Fifties sci-fi B-movies. Cheesy and corny, definitely, maybe even Mystery Science Theater 3000 fodder, but sure to leave a moronic grin on your face . . .



Watch Trailer / Clip:






blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest Headlines

Most Popular

Copyright © 1997-forward James O'Ehley/The Sci-Fi Movie Page (unless where indicated otherwise).