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Earth vs the Flying Saucers (1956)
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2013 8:09 pm    Post subject: Earth vs the Flying Saucers (1956) Reply with quote




I've loved this movie since I saw it in 1956 at a drive-in movie, and I've seen it countless times since then. That, of course, explains why my avatar features one the saucers from this movie.

In spite of their flaws, the suits worn by the aliens are wonderful.






Ticket2themoon wrote:
I always remember it for:

1) The ray guns used to defeat the aliens, which made an appearance as light fixtures in "20 Million Miles to Earth" (another of my all-time favorites)

2) The Shakespearean quote in the scene with the universal translator ("The quality of mercy is not strained...")

3) The aliens' mysterious, enigmatic body armour, completely devoid of facial features or elbow joints!





A few years ago I sketched a version of the suits which attempted to correct some of the little flaws they had -- like the lack of elbow joints -- and hands.

Here's what I came up with. What do you think?




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Bongopete
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 18, 2013 1:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I enjoyed all scenes which took place inside the saucer. The voice of Paul Frees (alien voice) is great.

The fact that the aliens make a mistake in their attempt at first contact (which they admit to . . . but not to the extent of saying 'sorry').

The movie at first seems rather shallow (not in a bad way) 1950's scifi manner. Yet as several of us here on All Sci-Fi have discussed previously, in picking the story apart there IS some rather interesting things that could have been going on in the movie's story that we didn't see.
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Bongopete
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 19, 2013 12:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think I can only remember one line from the movie in which the aliens actually say anything about coming here to take over.

It's when Marvin and his wife, the Army officer and the motorcycle cop go up into the ship. The aliens either show themselves on a telescreen or that make the wall transparent. When Marvin says to them that why don't they just land and 'take over', the alien makes an interesting comment about that happening and then the few aliens that there were would be tied up trying to put down revolts and leaving them Masters of a starving planet . . . or something like that.

What I find interesting is that that could be seen in a different light. Of course for the movie it probably means that if they had to fight to take over, rather than doing their nefarious deeds, the few aliens would be spending most of their time flying around trying to put down revolution against them. In the end, food supplies would be destroyed, farm land and infrastructure to growing and moving the food about disable as well. They (aliens) would be the Masters of a wrecked planet.

OR

It COULD mean that he is saying that unless peace was attained that was mutually beneficial, there would be riots and such . . . the aliens would be kept busy trying to calm things down but in the end they would be left with a wrecked Earth and literally, by being technologically superior would be left to try and run the wreck planet.

In other words, they would, by their technology be left the only power on the planet capable of doing anything and therefore-Masters.

Apparently the aliens want us to accept them peacefully.

If not, the resulting chaos would seem to be really more detrimental to us than to them.

When the aliens arrive at Skyhook (expecting to meet with Marvin) they are attack at once . . . possibly killing one of the aliens.

When Marvin finally hears the message, goes to Washington . . . still no meeting is arranged. The aliens destroy a navy ship, but this IS after the government refuses to meet with them and to prove how strong they are. So, we never really hear or understand what the aliens want and quite possibly are willing to give for us to allow them to come here.

They say that they will return the General and cop, but throw them out only after they are attacked again, when the saucer arrives where Marvin and others are building a weapon.

Did Earth miss an opportunity with these aliens? They were ancient . . . and possibly not capable of procreation . . . if so, we would have been their descendants and left with all the tech goodies.
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 19, 2013 4:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Damn fine analysis, Bongpete. I completely agree!

The aliens were obviously trying to muscle in and scare us into cooperating, but if we had knuckled under to them, I think the collaboration would have benefited both sides. Admittedly mankind as a race would have hated doing this (many countries would have rebelled no matter how the aliens acted), but if we'd been willing to kiss a little alien booty to get the benefits of their technology, we'd have gotten a good deal.

And THEN we could whip the wrinkled old bastards!
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Bongopete
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 20, 2013 3:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

But WERE the aliens initially trying to muscle in and scare us?

IF when they first approached Marvin in his car and he HAD understood them and they then landed at Skyhook . . . how else COULD they have arrived? They come in the vehicle they arrive in . . . as we would.

So the scenario might (and I do say 'might' as the movie really doesn't give ANY details as to what they want. ANY combative reactions in the movie COULD be as a result of their having been met with silence and attacks) the scenario might have been that —

They fly over Marvin in his car and ask him to meet them the next day at Operation Skyhook.

They land the next day and meet with Marvin. They explain that they are the survivors of a destroyed solar system and are refugees. They ask Marvin to set up a meeting with the leaders in Washington.

This meeting would have given us, the viewer, details as to WHAT the aliens want!!

Do they just want a planet to live on?

Are they interested in just sharing the planet? or . . .
Do they want a planet to reestablish their civilization?
If simply to share OR to reestablish their civilization . . . humanity could be the winners!

WHY meet with humanities leaders?
War or . . . no war?
If war . . . it couldn't be the infrastructure being destroyed that they would be worried about . . . humanity would not be much of a threat after losing a war.

But, they interestingly tell Marvin that they want to avoid a war because they don't fear losing . . . but are concerned that the few of them would be left running around policing and putting down trouble by a post war humanity and that they COULD be the only ones left standing (masters?) of another destroyed planet.
Again . . . WHY would they be concerned about a post war humanity?

I could see them being concerned about a 'destroyed' Earth . . . a planet that would not produce food . . . but destroyed in what way?

It really seems important that humanity itself is not destroyed.

Are the aliens looking at humanity as a source of slaves?

Really? Think about how few aliens there are . . . would they REALLY need billions of slaves? For that matter . . . why risk destruction at all . . . they could simply MEET with humanity's leaders and avoid war!
How would THIS be beneficial to the aliens?

They themselves are commented on as being ancient and having the suits they wear (APPARENTLY EVEN ON THEIR OWN SHIPS) in order to survive!

WHAT is the probability that they are still capable of procreation?

By negotiating with Earth, they could have land upon which live . . . to build something of their civilization (are there enough aliens to even make a 'civilization'?).
HERE is the interesting part . . . they would need somewhere to land . . . they would need somewhere to live . . . and . . . they would need SOMEONE TO FARM AND PROBABLY BUILD FOR THEM.

Even if they were looking at being a conquering race (which by their own self description doesn't seem to be the case), at some point they are not going to want to simply be rulers of a backwards world. They are going to be doing things that are going to advance that world and bring it closer to their own level of advancement.

At SOME point, while this is happening, THEIR civilization would become co-opted by ours! Our civilization would have been technologically advanced, we would probably take on some of their culture . . . but because they don't seem to be a race that is capable of procreation due to their age and weakness of body . . . their numbers will decline leaving us to carry forth.

However in the movie . . . Marvin does NOT understand their message for contact at Skyhook due to the aliens goof.

They land, expecting to meet Marvin (who didn't get their message) and are met by a gun crew with a twin 40 bofors gun mount and some riflemen. One of their crew is probably killed.

At this point, they think Marvin DID get the message and Earth has taken a dim view to meeting with them . . . they are po'd and level Skyhook. They see a survivor and bring him on board to explain.

The General tells them that all Marvin heard was meaningless noise. The aliens sort of seem surprised and explain what must have happened and by extension that they goofed.

Marvin later makes contact and meets with the aliens rather covertly. Here is where the aliens show some of their power . . . but it is also here where the aliens tell us of where they are from (survivors of a destroyed planet) and that in a round about way they tell us why they are here (their world is destroyed).

They don't just want to come down and take over as they know this will lead to war and leave them as the only technological group standing on the planet (the Masters?) with a starving human population.

From here on out, things spiral out of control and turn from bad to worse for the aliens.

Attempting to show Marvin their force they obviously plan on destroying a navy ship (though once again, notice that it is the humans who actually shoot first . . . granted this is now post-Skyhook). This action however does the opposite and makes humanity DECIDE to not meet with them and instead fight them.

Things to think about.

-What would have happened at Skyhook IF they had made contact with Marvin as they had wanted to?
-They tell Marvin's wife and all, that the motorcycle cop and her father the General will be returned to them (assuming that the infinitely indexed memory bank works both ways). If they weren't operating on good faith, why even bother to say so.

-The aliens never say that they are there to conquer or that they are the master race of any of that sort of claptrap. They are never given a chance to explain. WE assume that they are there to take over. THEY only say that they are the survivors of a destroyed solar system.

They COULD simply be refugees . . . desperate refugees and be acting similar to a person who has gone without water for a couple of days and is finally offered it while in a crowd of people.

They are the rare alien invader who even TRIES to talk to us (discount Klaatu here . . . a fifth columnist!) without any bluster about being superior and all that sort of thing.

Marvin is THE only human whom the aliens even get to talk to (not including the General). They NEVER get to speak to any government representative.

'Earth Vrs the Flying Saucers' comes across as a simple invasion film of the 50's, but contains things that lead to many questions and what ifs.
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The Spike
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2014 10:38 pm    Post subject: Restrained but still an effective piece of sci-fi pie. Reply with quote

Reports of flying saucers start coming in thick and fast until sure enough alien invaders begin to attack the Earth. Focal point of their attack is the U.S. Space Programe, can hero in waiting Russel Marvin conjure up a defense weapon to save the day?

Obviously a template for many an alien invader film since its release, Earth Vs The Flying Saucers never quite reaches the heights that perhaps it should have. Bogged down by maudlin scripting and restricted by its budget, it often hints at what a great picture it could have been. The lead cast are poor and this hurts the film even more, Hugh Marlowe as Russell Marvin bores us with the scientific speak when really he should be fascinating us, whilst scream queen duties fall to poor Joan Greenwood who forgets that she is actually supposed to emit some sort of terror when the alien hordes attack! However, on the plus side the aliens themselves are certainly creepy enough to grab your notice, Ray Harryhausen's flying saucers animation is of course top dollar for its time, whilst the final battle across Washington DC is classic gold, an all buzzing assault with splurges of death rays at every turn.

An important film in the pantheon of the genre for sure, but it's just a tad too restrained for its own good. 6/10

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 29, 2014 11:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

According to Ray Harryhausen in his book RH An Animated Life, EVTFS was his least favorite film of the movies he did.
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 29, 2014 8:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I'm glad he did such a stellar job on the project, despite being less than thrilled by it.

I can understand his attitude, though. He loved doing those graceful and dynamic movements the animated characters displayed, and I guess it was less satisfying to find ways to move saucers around.

But scenes like these thrilled me to the core when I say the movie at a drive-in in 1956!









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PostPosted: Sat Oct 04, 2014 9:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ray was also unhappy with the alien exoskeleton design in this film.

He was pleased with the saucer force field effect though.
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2015 1:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Back around 1985 my friends and I had a "movie night" in which we watched Earth vs the Flying Saucers and presented various projects to enhance the evening.

Larry Hanson created this delicious theme-related cake, complete with a little clay figure of a saucer-man. The event was also a going-away party for a friend who had enlisted in the Navy -- hence the Bon Voyage on the cake.






Jim Peavy (a member of this board and a featured artist in our Art and Photo Galleries section) created this saucer-man suit with Larry's help.

Larry (on the right) fashioned the helmet out of plaster, the same way Harryhausen did with the ones in the film.



__


Jim's face doesn't normally look like it does in the picture. He was imitating this --





When Larry created the helmet, a small crack developed along the left edge in exactly the same spot as the one in Ray's version!

Larry once spoke with Harrhausen about the suit, and he jokingly told him that his replica of the helmet had developed a crack in the same spot as the one used in the movie.










Ray replied, "That's not a crack,it's casting seam."
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2015 4:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

After writing the above post I found these two images on CHFB I thought I should share them here. The member who posted the first one below included this text.

tonyrivers wrote:
. . . after they finished filming the movie, it looks like they threw out the saucer-men costumes because they must have thought they had no further use for them.





But this seems to be two trash cans outside a residence, not an area of the Columbia studio's lot. And yet, if that's a replica somebody built and then threw out, it certainly seems well constructed.

The second photo from CHFB was posted by a member named DrYesdoctor, and it cracked me up. Laughing




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scotpens
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2015 7:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bongopete wrote:
I enjoyed all scenes which took place inside the saucer. The voice of Paul Frees (alien voice) is great.

But why does he repeat everything twice? Why does he repeat everything twice?
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orzel-w
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2015 8:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bud Brewster wrote:
But this seems to be two trash cans outside a residence, not an area of the Columbia studio's lot. And yet, if that's a replica somebody built and then threw out, it certainly seems well constructed.

Might it have been a replica created for one of Bob Burns' Halloween productions, I wonder? (If it's a real photo, that is.)
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 11, 2015 9:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Loved to have seen a sequel to EVTFS as penned by Ray's good friend Ray Bradbury.
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 2015 10:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As good as Bradbury was, I don't think a sequel to Earth vs the Flying Saucers would be his kind of story.

However, I submit that it's my kind of story, and I had some nifty ideas for a sequel back around 1989. They involved efforts on the part of mankind to master all the alien technology the aliens left behind after their defeat in the final battle.

Some of the saucers were brought down in a manner that would not have damaged them severely, and the device Hugh Marlow's team invented did not harm the engines, it just weakened them so that the saucers crashed.

The sequel would open with a shot of four saucers in formation, cruising slowly over the desert as they approach an Air Force base. Jet fighters are flying along with the saucers as escorts as they approach, and the fighters break off as the saucers land near several large hangers — in which more saucers are seen, with scaffolding along one side of each, and repairs are obviously being made.

The opening scene would look something like this:



* I couldn't find pictures of 1950s fighters that were angled like I wanted, so I had to use F-16s.

And here's the basic story.

After the remaining invaders are repelled and they depart, Earth begins to examine the captured flying saucers. The alien translation device gives them access to the Infinitely Indexed Memory Banks and we learn that when the invaders left their "disintegrated solar system" (which the aliens told Hugh Marlow they were the survivors of), their fleet was actually made up of two battle groups, each under the command of a high ranking officer.

The leaders of the two battle groups disagreed on which planet should be invaded and enslaved. One group elected to come to Earth, and the other group went to a planet also inhabited by humanoid aliens very similar to humans. Their civilization was not as technologically advanced as Earth.

Earth's authorities learn from the Infinitely Indexed Memory Banks on board the saucers that the aliens who fled Earth after the battle had decided at the last moment of the battle to head for the other planet and get reinforcements from the other battle group, and then return to Earth.

A frantic race begins to complete Earth's own fleet of saucers — some which are repaired alien ships and others that are being built from scratch. A coordinated global effort is made, with mankind united in this monumental undertaking.

A desperate plan is formed to mount a preemptive strike on the aliens by attacking them on the other planet before they know that Earth is prepared to use their own technology against them.

So, after establishing all this, we see thousands of soldiers boarding the Earth fleet of saucers (complete with the Air Force insignia on the sides). This fighting force is comprised of specially trained soldiers in battle armor which comes equipped with personal force fields derived from the captured-and-reverse-engineered alien technology.

Ditto for the hand weapons. Very Happy

The fleet takes off and soon reaches the other planet in a not-to-distant star system.

Unfortunately I don't have much after that, except for some ideas about various characters. Naturally there will be a saucer-against-saucer battle, probably in the planet's atmosphere, since their weapons were said to be "sonic" in the 1956 movie.

But the Earth ships could be equipped with some surprise. Wink

We could also have fun with a few changes to the saucer designs, like ships that are larger and a bit slimmer vertically, and some (or all) that have transparent domes on top, instead of the opaque ones the originals had,

I don't really have a title for this story, other than a jokey one I thought up.


Earth Uses The Flying Saucers!

Like I said, it's just a joke. Very Happy

Thoughts, anyone?



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