Earth vs. the Flying Saucers. 1956


Yesterday I reviewed the movie Battleship and today I want to review the science fiction classic Earth vs. the Flying Saucers. I was going to review both movies together and compare and contrast them because they are both alien invasion movies. I decided against that purely because it would have made more sense to compare and contrast the movie if I had liked one and didn’t like the other. The truth is I like both pretty equally. Although I can enjoy the modern special effects I do also appreciate and enjoy the science fiction films from other eras. They are different from one another yet just like good music is timeless, so is that nature of good films.

Earth vs the Flying Saucers (EFS) is a product of its time like any movie is, EFS is better understood when seen in the light of the social and political atmosphere of the times. The movie debuted in 1956 and tt was the height of the Cold War between the USSR and the United States. Many of the science fiction films from that era, from alien invasion moves to monster movies reflected themes that were on the worried minds of the citizens of the US. Some of these films are not as well made as the others and it is my opinion that this tightly woven movie, which runs only 83 minutes, is one of the better ones from that era. For me one of the selling points is the top notch special effects from the hands of the legendary Ray Harryhausen. The notion that aliens would come in flying saucers exemplifies the fears of the era as rising reports of UFO sightings all depicted and described these crafts as flying saucers. I smile when I question, why are recent UFO sightings no longer described or viewed as flying saucers? The special effects do stand up well today and they are part of the charm and appeal of this movie.

The plot is basically simple. A recently married scientists and his wife, played very well by Hugh Marlowe as Dr. Russell A. Marvin and Joan Taylor as Carol Marvin, encounter a UFO but have no proof to go the the authorities. Dr. Russel is also involved in a government project called Skyhook and has lost 10 satellites which he suspects was due to alien intervention. Soon he has his proof as the aliens begin arriving the next day. The military quickly learns that they are ineffective. The Marvins are the only ones to survive the attack and at one point they are taken aboard one of the space ships. It is there that they learn the aliens intent is to conquer and invade the earth because they are the last of their kind and are looking for a planet to inhabit. Dr. Marvin learns how to penetrate their defenses and in a final battle with the aliens the US wins but not before massive destruction of Washington DC and other places around the world.

I really like the design of the aliens in this movie. They wear a black helmet you cannot see into and when the scientists discover one they see that you can see out through it and understand anyone’s language and hear their conversations at great distances. The aliens themselves, shown briefly, look like the typical “Grays” that have come to define the classic alien look. Think of a rougher less polished look at the aliens as depicted in Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

The acting is solid and believable and the actors and all involved treat the subject matter with respect and seriousness. Although modern science fiction movies get criticized for being special effects showcases over substance. I think this movie strikes a nice balance. I find the story does have substance and at the same time the climactic battle rivals many films made today. The movie is short and to the point and whenever I am in the mood for a good alien invasion movie this one is a pleasure to watch.

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About billfoley63

I was born in 1963 and that is relevant to my development of my love for science-fiction and fantasy movies, comic books, superheroes and many other things attributed to Nerd culture. In the 60s I watched all the Saturday afternoon Godzilla and monster movies I could take. In the 70s I became hooked on Star Trek. I am also an artist (in my own mind at least) and a musician. I enjoy learning about physics, astrophysics, chemistry and earth silences such as meteorology, anthropology, paleontology. When I reached my late 30s I began to re-explore my nerd roots. I reconnected with my love of science fiction and fantasy movies along with the other science related topics. For this blog I will focus on movie and TV reviews for science fiction and fantasy and post my thoughts on up coming movies. I will also include some fun facts from the various sciences I enjoy along with weather facts and bits from royalty and history. What I will not discuss is religion and politics. I am married to a beautiful woman named Sarah and have a lovely daughter named Danielle.

Posted on September 19, 2012, in Captain's Log... and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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