Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Friday, March 21, 2008


EARTH VS. THE FLYING SAUCERS (1956). Director: Fred F. Sears.

"People of earth, attention. People of Earth, attention. Look to your sun for a warning. Look to your sun, for a warning."

The last survivors of an alien race come to earth in flying saucers and eventually make it clear that their intention is to take over the planet. The first person they contact is scientist Russ Marvin (Hugh Marlowe), who nearly dies, along with his wife/secretary Carol (Joan Taylor), when they completely obliterate the base where he's been launching rockets. In addition to their saucers and disintegration beams, the aliens also have an "infinitely indexed memory bank" that gets info from earthlings' brains. Marvin invents a device that can bring down their saucers, and employs several of them in the exciting finale in Washington. This very entertaining picture features some marvelous stop-motion saucers created by FX wiz Ray Harryhausen. Hugh Marlowe is stolid but stiff as the hero, but Joan Taylor is much more animated as his wife. Morris Ankrum appears as a general, and another old stand-by, Tom Browne Henry, is the vice admiral who says "When an armed and threatening power lands in our capital, we don't meet them with tea and cookies!" Donald Curtis, who plays a major, also appeared in It Came from Beneath the Sea, from which some of the music was taken. The editing and direction are not of a high level, but the effects and some of the enthusiastic acting help make up for it.

Verdict: Lots of fun! ***.

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