Movies and Film

The Fight of the Century – Earth vs. the Flying Saucers (1956)

The 1950’s were a golden age for science-fiction at the movies.  Anything you could imagine would eventually make its way to the big screen.  Sometimes it was fascinating, sometimes fantastic and sometimes even frightening.  Giant monsters, giant people, shrinking people, aliens, time travel, experimentation and much more could all be had at your local cinema including films about flying saucers of which this movie is one.  The great thing about this movie is that the entire plot can be summed up in the title alone.  There are no hidden meanings or allusions to the real world though it is possible you could find one if you looked hard enough.  As far as science-fiction films go, this was a fun excursion into action and adventure as our heroes race to defeat the alien invaders before they conquer all of mankind.

earth_vs_flying_saucers47Starring Hugh Marlowe in the lead role as Dr. Marvin and Joan Taylor standing by his side as his wife Carol, together the two would go from being ignored about the alien menace of which they became aware while driving to work at Project Skyhook to being consulted about it in the hopes that the Earth might be saved.  The pair would do a great job together with some visible on-screen chemistry which would really sell their performances as man and wife.  Dr. Marvin and Carol, while just your everyday kind of people and the doctor just an average scientist seemed just a little bit too knowledgeable with the right answers handy whenever called upon.  What is quite humourous to see in all of these older science-fiction pictures, and a trend that even continues in today’s films, is how our heroes always seem to have the right answers for any given situation.  It never really takes away from the film, but all the leading thinkers on any given subject could be assembled to ponder on an answer and the person who will always have it is the leading man or lady.

earth_vs_flying_saucers48Directed by Fred F. Sears with some really great stop-motion special effects from Ray Harryhausen, the film turned out looking pretty slick with some creepy, faceless aliens to top it all off.  Instead of going the Roger Corman route, what limited budget the film had went towards making an alien species look very generic and drone-like and while these costumes might have just been the alien’s suits which would cover up their dessicated bodies, the fact that you could not see their faces made for an enemy that was just a little bit off-putting.  The flying saucers themselves looked good for the time as did the effects where they would shoot their disintegration rays and overall the effects were pretty good.  One thing that was a little mind-boggling was the moment where the aliens landed their ship at the White House, presumably to either destroy it or take it over and yet they parked the ship as far away as they possibly could, thereby failing in the effort.  For all of their vaunted knowledge and powers that they talk about throughout the film, these aliens are not the brightest.

Flying saucers may not be all the rage these days compared to what they were, especially as the world’s views on aliens have changed over the years.  Be that as it may, you can still find a lot of fun and entertainment in films such as this.  It was a simpler time back in the 1950’s and while people and filmmakers might have thought big, there was an innocence in a lot of these science-fiction films that is quite refreshing.  Good and evil is usually very clear-cut and when all is said and done, man almost always embraces each other in friendship at having averted a global catastrophe, this time being the threat of domination by an alien species.  If looking for some old-fashioned fun or just a good movie, than Earth vs. the Flying Saucers will do you no wrong.

4 out of 5

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