From the video case: Featuring extraordinary special effects by cinematic genius Ray Harryhausen, the film pits earthlings against alien humanoids in a violent battle for earth’s survival! When the zombie-like aliens arrive at the U.S. army base in search of help for their dying planet, they try to make friendly contact with scientist Dr. Russ Marvin (Hugh Marlowe) and his recent bride, Carol (Joan Taylor). But the military greets their fleet of saucers with gunfire and the the aliens are forced to retaliate. Can Marvin invent the ultimate weapon in a deadly game of beat-the-clock to save the human race? (1956, b&w)
Mark says: Any film featuring the special effects of Ray Harryhausen (The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms) is going to rank with me. The flying saucers are definitely the main draw here, and put this otherwise camp picture a peg higher. Stop motion animation will beat out CGI effects in my book any day.
The acting and dialog in this film are substandard, but amusing enough to make the movie enjoyable. I especially think the amorous Hugh Marlowe (Dr. Marvin) is a grotesque mismatch for the demure Joan Taylor (Carol).
Morris Ankrum (of course!) plays an army general, and B-stock veteran, Tom Browne Henry, has a featured role.
The aliens, as well as many of the “scientific” principles introduced in the movie, are laughable. I am also amused by some of the advanced technology, such as a computer that writes in cursive when transmitting its message.
A combination of low-budget humor, and wonderful effects created by Ray Harryhausen (especially the climatic battle scenes in Washington, DC), make this a very watchable film.
Earth vs. the Flying Saucers is directed by Fred F. Sears.
Scene to watch for: Hugh Marlowe tries on an alien helmet and looks like a drunk with a plastic garbage pail on his head. Also: Note Marlowe’s hairy back as he runs into the sea at the end of the movie. Eeew.
Line to listen for: “When an armed and threatening power lands uninvited in our capitol, we don’t meet it with tea and cookies!”
Mark’s Rating: ! ! ! ½ out of 5.