“Earth vs. Flying Saucers” is a 1956 science fiction film directed by Fred F. Sears and starring Hugh Marlowe and Joan Taylor.
The plot of the film revolves around alien invasion of the Earth by extraterrestrials who use their flying saucers to destroy the main cities of the world. The plot centers on the struggle of humans to defend themselves against these alien incursions.
The film was made using an innovative technique for the time, namely stop-motion animation, to create the sequences in which flying saucers fly through the skies and destroy buildings. This allowed the film to have a unique and spectacular visual effect for the time.
The film was well received by audiences and critics for its groundbreaking special effects and gripping storyline. In addition, it is considered a classic of the 1950s science fiction film genre.
“Earth vs. Flying Saucers” is a science fiction film that helped define the 1950s genre and influenced many subsequent films.
The plot of “Earth vs. Flying Saucers” revolves around the invasion of Earth by aliens from an unknown planet. The aliens arrive on Earth in their flying saucers and begin destroying major cities around the world.
Dr. Russell Marvin, a scientist working on a secret government project to create space rockets, is one of the first to notice the presence of flying saucers. Together with his assistant and wife, Carol, they discover that the aliens are using advanced technology to manipulate gravity and control their flying saucers.
Russell and Carol try to contact the authorities to warn them of the alien invasion, but their efforts are in vain. Meanwhile, the aliens continue to destroy cities and monuments around the world, threatening the very existence of humanity.
Russell and Carol decide to use their scientific knowledge to develop technology capable of countering alien flying saucers. Thanks to their work, they manage to create a device capable of neutralizing the aliens’ gravitational technology.
Here are the main characters of “Earth vs. the Flying Saucers”:
Doctor Russell Marvin: is a scientist who is working on a secret government project for the creation of space rockets. He is played by Hugh Marlowe.
Carol Marvin: is Russell’s assistant and wife. She is played by Joan Taylor.
General Hanley: He is the Chief of the United States Army. He is played by Donald Curtis.
Major Huglin: is an army officer who works with Russell and Carol to counter the alien invasion. He is played by Morris Ankrum.
The aliens: they are the main antagonists of the film. Their provenance is unknown and they are never shown directly, but only through their flying saucers.
There are also other supporting characters, such as Colonel Harrison and the President of the United States, who appear throughout the film. However, most of the plot revolves around the story of Dr. Marvin and his fight against aliens.
“Earth vs. Flying Saucers” was produced by Columbia Pictures and directed by Fred F. Sears. The film was shot primarily at Columbia studios in Hollywood, California, with some scenes also shot on location in Washington D.C.
To create the special effects of the flying saucers, the director collaborated with the famous animator Ray Harryhausen, who used the technique of stop-motion animation. This technique involves making models of moving objects and photographing each frame in slightly different positions to create the illusion of movement as the images are played back in sequence.
The innovative and spectacular special effects were highly appreciated by the public of the time, contributing to the success of the film.
The film’s production budget was relatively modest, but Columbia Pictures still invested enough to ensure a visual quality appropriate to the film’s theme. “The Earth Against Flying Saucers” was released in American cinemas on July 1, 1956, enjoying a good success with the public and becoming a classic of the science fiction genre.
Distribution and Reception
“The Earth vs. Flying Saucers” was released in American cinemas on July 1, 1956, receiving a good reception from the public. The film grossed approximately $1.5 million in the United States, becoming a commercial success for Columbia Pictures.
Critics of the time appreciated the film for its innovative special effects and engaging storyline, while noting some weaknesses in characterization and dialogue writing.
In the following years, “The Earth Against Flying Saucers” has become a cult of the sci-fi genre, appreciated for its retro atmosphere and for Ray Harryhausen’s special effects, which are still considered among the most spectacular ever made with the technique of ‘stop motion animation.
The film was also released in Europe and other countries of the world, where it enjoyed some success. Today, “Earth vs. Flying Saucers” is considered a classic of 1950s science fiction cinema and is often cited as an example of how the genre has addressed topics such as alien invasion and the fear of contact with extraterrestrial civilizations .
The Movie Style
“Earth vs. Flying Saucers” is a classic example of a 1950s science fiction film, characterized by a retro atmosphere and innovative special effects for the time. The style of the film is typical of the genre, with an emphasis on technological and sci-fi elements, and a plot that revolves around the alien invasion of Earth.
The direction of Fred F. Sears is solid and functional to the narration, with a black and white photography that creates a dark and mysterious atmosphere. The soundtrack, composed by Mischa Bakaleinikoff, uses musical motifs typical of the genre, with an orchestration that emphasizes action sequences and suspenseful scenes.
Ray Harryhausen’s special effects are the film’s strong point, with the stop-motion animation technique creating the illusion of flying saucers moving. The scenes of destruction of cities and buildings are spectacular and were a novelty for the time, contributing to the success of the film.
The style of the actors is typical of the period, with simple and unprocessed dialogues, but with an acting appropriate to the genre. The character of Doctor Russell Marvin, played by Hugh Marlowe, is the archetype of the idealistic scientist who tries to defend the Earth from aliens, while the character of Carol Marvin, played by Joan Taylor, is the female figure who supports the protagonist in his fight against the invaders.
The style of “Earth vs. Flying Saucers” is characterized by a simple and direct approach to storytelling, with particular attention to special effects and the atmosphere of suspense and mystery that permeates the film.
Fred F. Sears was the director of “Earth vs. the Flying Saucers”. Born in 1913 in Boston, Sears moved to Hollywood in the 1940s to work in the film business. He began his career as an actor, but soon turned to directing, directing numerous films for Columbia Pictures.
Sears was one of the most prolific directors of his era, with a filmography ranging from westerns to comedy to science fiction. He directed several successful films, including “Rock Around the Clock” (1956), which helped launch the career of Bill Haley & His Comets.
His directing style was characterized by a close attention to storytelling and staging, with a fondness for action sequences and suspenseful scenes. He has often worked with actors such as Hugh Marlowe and Joan Taylor, who also starred in “Earth vs. Flying Saucers”.
Sadly, Sears’ career was cut short by his sudden death in 1957 at the age of just 44. Despite his short career, Sears is considered one of the most representative directors of 1950s American cinema, with a filmography that helped define the taste and style of the period.