EARTH VS THE FLYING SAUCERS (REVIEW)
Dir. Fred F. Sears
Reviewer. Dan Cook
One of the most iconic science fiction films of the 1950’s, EARTH VS THE FLYING SAUCERS is a true classic of the genre which may not hold many thematic surprises but is nonetheless elevated by the stunning visual effects work by the legendary Ray Harryhausen. Directed by Fred F. Sears who would go on to make the battleship-sized disaster piece THE GIANT CLAW less than one year later and inspired by Donald Keyhoe’s 1953 non-fiction(?) book ‘Flying Saucers From Outer Space’, EARTH VS THE FLYING SAUCERS originated many of the clichés and conventions of the alien invasion movie, with humanity being held hostage by a hostile race of extra-terrestrials who demand loyalty or threaten destruction. On the case is husband and wife duo Dr. And Mrs. Marvin (Hugh Marlowe and Joan Taylor respectively) whose expertise may hold the key to the planets salvation.
With stock army and scientist archetypes as well as a fairly standard screenplay from THE WOLF MAN helmsman Curt Siodmak, the film is a very typical 50’s B picture with very little in the way of development either in terms of plot or character. However, two fine leading performances from Marlowe and Taylor as well as Harryhausen’s aforementioned stop-motion work coupled with some truly innovative sound design by J.S Westmoreland make EARTH VS THE FLYING SAUCERS an unmissable movie for fans of the genre - with the final explosive assault on Washington DC being a particular cinematic highlight and a clear inspiration for Roland Emmerich’s overlong and vastly inferior sci-fi blockbuster INDEPENDENCE DAY made some 4 decades later.