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Uçan Daireler Istanbul'da

Uçan Daireler Istanbul'da (1955) Movie Poster
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Turkey  •    •  66m  •    •  Directed by: Orhan Erçin.  •  Starring: Orhan Erçin, Zafer Önen, Türkan Samil, Özcan Tekgül, Semiramis Güze, Halide Piskin, Mirella Monro, Sadri Karan, Turgut Pasiner, Kadri Senkal, Rusen Hakki, Akif Maden, Özdemir Asaf.  •  Music by: Metin Bükey.
    Alien Amazon women land their UFO in Istanbul to find Earth men for their home planet with the help of a robot. Two bumbling journalists are caught up in the action.

Review:

Image from: Uçan Daireler Istanbul
Image from: Uçan Daireler Istanbul
Image from: Uçan Daireler Istanbul
Image from: Uçan Daireler Istanbul
Image from: Uçan Daireler Istanbul
Image from: Uçan Daireler Istanbul
Image from: Uçan Daireler Istanbul
Image from: Uçan Daireler Istanbul
Image from: Uçan Daireler Istanbul
Image from: Uçan Daireler Istanbul
Image from: Uçan Daireler Istanbul
This is the first Turkish film to deal with space flight, UFOs or aliens. In addition it is -' maybe -' Turkey's first science fiction film. It is a toss-up between this film and Görünmeyen adam Istanbul'da (1955), or The Invisible Man in Istanbul.

Ucan daireler Istanbul'daFlying Saucers over Istanbul starts with a long opening title sequence consisting of a scantily clad young belly dancer. The audience consists of a group of middle- aged or old women, as well as two men: a journalist called Sapsal and a photographer called Kasar, played by Zafer Önen and Orhan Ercin, respectively. The older women thank the two reporters for coming, explaining that the belly dancer was a ruse to lure men to the club, as the rich, unmarried women there seek husbands.

At the newspaper office, the journalists are assigned to write about the flying saucers that are the talk of the town. So, the two break into an observatory, hit the wrong buttons on the telescope, and accidentally call a UFO into landing. Outside the window they see a flying saucer descend from the heavens.

The silvery UFO opens, and out steps a boxy robot, followed by alien women clad in leotards, mantles, broad, shiny collars and glittery head-pieces. And holding ray guns, naturally. The two men are captured, and the alien queen (Türkan Samil) explains that they are out looking for new men for their home planet. But what gets the two journalists going is the aliens' youth elixir. With money signs flashing before their eyes, they devise a plan to seemingly help the aliens to find new men, if they get one bottle of the elixir as payment, but in fact plan on selling it to the old, rich women at the club.

Soon everyone starts fighting over the youth elixir, the men are kidnapped once more by the aliens and threatened with death, but are helped by one of the alien women (Özcan Tekgül). They return to the club where Marilyn Monroe (Mirella Monro) is now dancing, and continue their efforts to sell the elixir. Finally chaos breaks out, and the two journalists happily join the aliens as they take off home again in their UFO.

Analysing the plot of Flying Saucers over Istanbul is futile, since the film is gag- rather than plot-driven. And in forsaking plot for gag one should make sure that the gags are funny. Neither of the main actors have any talent for physical comedy, although they do try falling over and stumbling, and the verbal gags are just awful. Orhan Ercin is trying to do a Jerry Lewis schtick, but hasn't the timing, the wit, nor the facial motor skills for it.

The direction by Ercin himself is pedestrian at best, amateurish at worst. The special effects, sets and props are all Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959) standard. The UFO looks like a cake mould made out of all the tin foil in Istanbul, and the robot looks like something a seven-year-old would have cobbled together from cereal boxes and a couple of light bulbs. The spaceship interior is clearly plywood, and the torture chamber the two journalists are put in look like shower drapes. I'll be darned if the telescope isn't made out of papier mache. The ray guns are way too sophisticated for this production and are probably over-the-counter children's toys.

None of the actors are particularly good, but then again, I don't know what it would take to make anyone look good with this script. Respected character actor Zafer Önen, does come off this film without any permanent damage to his career, though.

One can perhaps not expect too much from the alien women, as none of them seem to have been primarily actors, but dancers. The real star name of the movie, however, is Özcan Tekgül, playing the rebellious alien who helps the two journalists. Reportedly one of the most daring belly dancers of the fifties and sixties, she was probably Turkey's most notorious vamp in the late fifties and sixties. In 1980 she caused an uproar when she was to be awarded a medal of honour by the Turkish government, for her 25 years in Turkish cinema. This led to a heated debate in the parliament where one spokesman challenged the prime minister with these words: "Should this queen of disgrace and scandal put the medal given to her by your government onto her belly or do you have any idea as to what proper place she should wear it?" At least one minister resigned over the affair.

This film is made for Turkish men, and is intended to make fun of women's liberation, like many sci-fi films of the fifties. It may bring some joy to sci-fi completists, lovers of bad science fiction, belly dancing fanatics and people who like really, really dumb comedy.


Review by Janne Wass from the Internet Movie Database.