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

Thursday, August 20, 2015


Pat Garrison and Mikel Conrad
THE FLYING SAUCER (1950). Producer, writer, director: Mikel Conrad.

Playboy-reporter-agent Mike Trent (Mikel Conrad) is sent to Alaska to investigate stories of a flying saucer. His boss, Thorn (Russell Hicks of Charlie Chan in Shanghai), fears that saucers could be used to drop atomic bombs on American cities. To complete his cover story, Mike takes along a nurse-agent named Vee Langley (Pat Garrison). The two spend days in a cabin with the manservant Hans (Hantz von Teuffen) until finally something rushes overhead. There are Russian agents in the area who also hope to get their hands on the saucer. Wanting to jump-start his career, talented actor Mikel Conrad wrote the story for this movie, then produced, directed, and starred in it himself. Normally vanity productions like this are atrocious, but the strange and sad thing is that The Flying Saucer is not terrible, just low-budget and lacking that certain panache. One major problem with the film is that it was marketed as a kind of sci fi or even alien invasion movie, when in reality it's more of a spy film. What Saucer has going for it are great Alaskan locations, some good acting, a suspenseful battle between Mike and a villain who tries to throw him into a propeller, and an underground climax that features an avalanche. Mike doesn't appear to do much investigating in Alaska, just goes picnicking and smooching with his "nurse." Frank Darien makes an impression as the old sot, Matt, as does Virginia Hewitt [My Dear Secretary] as the bad bar girl, Nanette.

Verdict: An interesting oddity. **1/2.

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