Dr. Russell Marvin heads up Operation Skyhook, which is tasked with sending rockets into the upper atmosphere to probe for future space flights. Unfortunately, all the rockets are somehow disappearing. During the final rocket launching, a UFO lands and the military shoots at it, triggering the destruction of the installation and a cryptic warning from the aliens. In response, Marvin and his colleagues develop an anti-magnetic beam weapon to disable the flying discs. The weapon and the mettle of the populace of Washington, DC are soon put to the test.
Directed by: Fred F. Sears
. Starring: Hugh Marlowe
, Joan Taylor
, Donald Curtis
, Morris Ankrum
, John Zaremba
, Thomas Browne Henry
, Grandon Rhodes
, Larry J. Blake
, Fred Aldrich
, Nicky Blair
, Jimmy Cross
, Jack Deery
, Charles Evans
. Music by: Mischa Bakaleinikoff
See, there are these fragile creatures dressed up in ridiculous dark suits. The bulbous helmets amplify all the incoming sensations because the aliens themselves are wusses and can't make it on their own. The suits have long arms with balls on the ends instead of hands and these balls shoot out white streams that melt soldiers. But the suits don't protect the things inside them because they can be shot dead with an ordinary bullet. At another point in the film, though, the scientists explain that they've examined the helmets and have subjected them to every form of physical insult and it turns out they are indestructible. This may strike some viewers as a little odd since, when Hugh Marlowe is trying a helmet on, we can clearly see from its cracks and ragged edges that it is made out of the same material as an egg carton. I am working on an infinitely indexed memory bank that will explain why the helmets should be so durable and the suits so eminently puncturable.
But never mind all that. Joan Taylor made two SF movies in the 1950s that were archetypal and this is one of them. She's certainly an attractive woman, no worse an actress than dozens of others on screen at the time, or now for that matter. The contemporary fashions don't do much for her. I'm certainly glad that women no longer wear girdles (or foundation garments or whatever they were called). I think she may have had dance training and it shows. Her figure is awe inspiring.
Hugh Marlowe. Well, he had one role in which he was required to do more than an animatronic figure at Disneyland -- "All About Eve" -- and he handled it rather well. In this film he is not required to do more than an animatronic figure at Disneyland and he handles it well. The other actors are less animated. One of the supports -- Alan Reynolds? The guy who plays the Major who gets caught up in the story? The poor guy is a positive embarrassment with his penciled mustache and nonplussed expression and his pursed lips. I mean, he can't even stand still in the background and convince us that he's anything other than a Hollywood second-rate player.
A few of the SF movies of the time -- "The Day the Earth Stood Still" or "The Incredible Shrinking Man" -- seemed to want to teach us something, to make us think. No problem with that in "Earth Vs. the Flying Saucers." The first time they land on earth and one of those men in the ridiculous suits gets out of the "saucer", they get pounded with rounds from a dual 40 mm. cannon mount. None of this take-me-to-you-leader stuff here. We know how to deal with these undocumented aliens. We kill them, although we don't know who or what they are, or why they're here.
There's a refreshing innocence about this movie. It was made in 1956, during the Eisenhower years. We had the Free World and the Communist World, and we were the leaders of the Free World. We could trust the US government to do everything right. The threats were all external, both in real life and in our fantasies. Somewhere along the time line all of that changed. There was Viet Nam and there was Woodward and Bernstein and then Iraq and -- well, it makes one long for the days when we had to keep watching the skies for enemies. You know, maybe this movie has a lesson to teach after all.
Review by Robert J. Maxwell from the Internet Movie Database.