vs. The Flying Saucers (1956)
Hugh Marlowe, Joan Taylor, Donald Curtis.
great that special effects pioneer Ray Harryhausen, now 87,
has lived long enough to fulfil his dream of seeing his 1950s
sci-fi classics in color.
in black and white because there simply wasn't the budget
for expensive color, this is the latest movie to be colorized
by San Diego-based Legend Films, which has worked on more
than 100 old movies and contributed color effects to Martin
Scorcese's The Aviator a couple of years ago.
results are natural and impressive and even the most ardent
opponent of colorization will have to admit that they give
this cult classic a definite lift. Harryhausen, who was consulted
on the colorization of this film, plus 20
Million Miles To Earth and It
Came From Beneath The Sea is certainly delighted with
can toggle between the original black and white and the new
color version with their controller, though I think there's
no denying the color version is the one to watch.
vs. The Flying Saucers tells the story of a U.S. government
space exploration program led by Dr. Russell Marvin (the great
Hugh Marlowe, who starred in Oscar-winning classics like All
About Eve (1950) and Twelve
O'Clock High (1949).
the way to the launch of the latest unmanned test rocket,
Marvin and his wife (Joan Taylor) are buzzed by a flying saucer
on a remote highway, an experience they have a hard time rationalizing.
the latest rocket subsequently vanishes in space - just like
its predecessors - Marvin is forced to face the possibility
of alien interference . . . a theory soon proved chillingly
the primitive special effects take some accepting because
we've grown so used to seamless computer-generated images.
But after a while, you realize Harryhausen's flying saucers
have real character, the aliens are great and the plot seems
somehow very plausible.
stop-motion photography, during which models were painstakingly
moved one frame at a time, plus other ingenious photographic
effects, Harryhausen created a movie that thrilled audiences
50 years ago and which still works today. Ray guns, explosions,
menacing aliens - it's got the lot!
picture looks much improved from previous incarnations, though
there is still some grain and a few imperfections. The 2-disc
edition has some fine extra features, including recent interviews
with Harryhausen (one hosted by director Tim Burton), and
star Joan Taylor, plus featurettes on the special effects,
stop-motion photography and the colorization process.
particularly nice touch is a featurette on the restoration
of screenwriter Bernard Gordon's name to the credits - his
name was removed because of the disgraceful McCarthy-era communist
witch-hunt of the 1950s that wrecked many careers in Hollywood.
lovingly restored classic for a new generation!