They’re coming down to take over.
While driving back from the justice of the peace Dr. Russell Marvin (Hugh Marlowe) and his brand new wife Carol Marvin (Joan Taylor) are buzzed by a flying saucer. At the time Dr. Marvin was dictating notes into a tape recorder. Not totally believing what they saw they continue on to a military base to resume their jobs on project Operation Sky Hook. The project is sending satellites into orbit around the Earth to assist in exploring outer space. Once back on the base Russell's father-in-law General John Hanley (Morris Ankrum) informs the couple that all of the satellites have fallen back to the Earth.
Later when the recordings are being transcribed they hear the sound on the tape that had been made by the flying saucer. They realize that the what they saw was real. The sound they heard turns out to be a message for Dr. Marvin that had been speeded up. The message is from aliens and they want to talk to Dr. Marvin.
"The Earth vs the Flying Saucers" was released in 1956 and was directed by Fred F. Sears. Special effects were done by Ray Harryhausen. I’m a fan of Ray Harryhausen and I like all his movies, however, this is not my favorite. I’m OK with the acting and the plot and all it’s just that it didn’t seem like Harryhausen’s talent was highlighted. I realize that the work he put into the project was extremely difficult but visually it was not as obvious. We are used to seeing creatures that look like they could step off the screen and that had more emotion than a lot of humans. Here we have great work no doubt but we have no characters. We have plain spaceships and buildings that fall down.
Even the action was bland. The first part of the movie is figuring out what happened to the rockets and what the aliens want. Talking to the aliens and wondering what to do to combat the aliens. All fine and stuff we need to know to follow the plot. The second part of the movie is battling the aliens. Here we have big direct TV antennas on trucks. They aim the radar at a saucer and knock it down. Then move the truck. Shoot another saucer down. Move the truck again. Shoot another saucer down. The saucers fall down and hit buildings and knock them down.
There was more action in the stock footage. The destroyer that the aliens blow up as a demonstration of their power is actual footage of the sinking of the HMS Barham that sunk in 1941. The bomber exploding is actual footage from a WWII B-29 bomber explosion. The saucer shooting down a plane is real footage from a crash that happened at an air show. The satellites that the hero Dr. Russell Marvin (Hugh Marlowe) sends up into space are footage of real Viking rockets.
Don’t get me wrong I liked the movie and I will watch it again. It’s just not as special as other Harryhausen movies or other classic Science Fiction movies, but it’s still a keeper.