Earth vs The Flying Saucers


Rating 2½

Directed by Fred F Sears

Written by Curt Siodmak, George Worthing Yates and Bernard Gordon, from the book by Donald E Keyhoe

Starring Hugh Marlowe, Joan Taylor, Donald Curtis and Morris Ankrum

Although I consider myself to be a fan of 1950s American sci-fi, this is one film I had somehow never got around to watching, apart from seeing clips of the “flying saucers” in numerous television documentaries down the years. Ray Harryhausen was responsible for the creation these celebrated special effects.

‘Earth vs The Flying Saucers’, which was released in 1956, has much in common with ‘War Of The Worlds’ (1953) and ‘The Day The Earth Stood Still’ (1951), as has been pointed to many times in the past. I would also add the wonderful ‘It Came From Outer Space’ (1953) to that list, the primary difference being that the aliens on that occasion were benevolent, whereas here they are intent on conquering the planet for themselves.

As was the case with nearly all 1950s b-movie sci-fi coming out of Hollywood, the story is a metaphor for the perceived threat of communism and the Soviet Union. The space race is also a concern of the storyline, but while American scientific ingenuity succeeds where military might fails, I would be somewhat dubious of a scientist who launches ten satellites into space and is then apparently wholly unconcerned that all ten disappear without a trace.

In the end, ‘Earth vs The Flying Saucers’ is not going to be added to my list of favourite films of the genre. However, it is rightly noteworthy for the special effects. Tim Burton’s ‘Mars Attacks!’ pays homage to it and ‘Independence Day’ is effectively a remake.

The director, Fred F Sears, also made ‘The Giant Claw’, a film I last watched many years ago now, but still have fond memories of.


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