Friday, April 22, 2016

Party Like It's 2033: Earth vs. the Flying Saucers (1956)

Earth vs. the Flying Saucers (1956), directed by Frederick Francis Sears. Starring Joan Taylor as Carol Hanley Marvin and Hugh Marlowe as her newly minted husband, Dr. Russell Marvin. 

This streamlined film is so bare-bones it might seem ludicrous at first, but it works. The aliens are compelling, as is their back-story. The way they understand time and distance is plausible and cool. Ranging from spaceships to weaponry, spacesuits to mind de-scrambler and universal translator, the alien technology is nicely designed. 

A weakness in the story is in how earthlings quickly pull together implausible counter-measures, but that hardly matters. It's all imaginative good fun.
Carol is the only woman in the whole movie as far as talking parts. Most of the characters -- talking or silent -- are men, and they are almost all depicted as technocratic drones with no more flexibility than the spacesuited aliens, which in turn are of indeterminate gender (assuming they have such distinctions). 

Carol, the daughter of a general, is sharp and daring as well as resilient and reliable. We even find her doing what in more recent decades of pop culture imagery is a man's prerogative. On screen, one's now more likely to see a Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini) or Vic Mackey (Michael Chiklis) flipping burgers and hot dogs than any woman at all. What does it mean?  I have no idea. I do hold that Earth vs. the Flying Saucers is pretty cool, though.  

P.S. Bowie and Prince are probably piloting their own spaceships now, so never fear of their eternal return. 

Today's Rune: Partnership. 


the walking man said...

Cool! I had to look this one up on YouTube--the destruction of DC was well done. Too bad the legislators were most likely on vacation.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I'll bet that the special effects were amazing! Sounds fun!

Charles Gramlich said...

I saw it so long ago I hardly remember much about it. I should rewatch

jodi said...

Erik-that flick looks like it was made by creative children with smoke detectors. I will be watching for Prince and Bowie to swoop down!