Earth vs. the Flying Saucers

Saw Earth vs. The Flying Saucers, and can see how heavily Tim Burton borrows from this for his Mars Attacks! Hard to choose between Burton's blackly comic glee and Fred F. Sears low-budget cluelessness--I like both, for different reasons.

Have to note, the science is rarely strong in science fiction films, and it sure isn't here (surprising, considering the script was written by Curt Siodmak, a legitimate writer--but then science fiction writers in particular have always had unhappy experiences with Hollywood). That the aliens exist on a 'time differential' different from ours is an interesting concept, but that humans aboard their ship will have stopped watches and no heartbeat--all the while talking and moving like normal--is plain dumb. Throw in the humans' reply to the aliens' advance technology, a 'sonic beam' meant to interrupt their 'electromagnetic waves.' Okaaay...

The stars of the flick, of coures, are Harryhausen's saucers. They spin at an alarming rate (no cool display of antigravity, thank you), and just hovering there like gigantic throbbing frisbees they look threatening. But that's not all they do; they dive, shoot up, wobble, and make dramatic pauses before crashing into some of the world's most famous buildings (Harryhausen's saucers are incurable scene stealers). They're livelier, more entertaining performers than the human cast, including, I'm sorry to say, Hugh Marlowe, who gave a subtler, more sophisticated performance six years earlier in All About Eve.

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