(aka 'Invasion of the Flying Saucers')

Directed by Fred F. Sears
USA 19
56

 

Androids in flying saucers give the Earth sixty days in which to surrender. Scientist Hugh Marlowe sets about devising a sonic gun which will show 'em who's boss. Despite a mundane script, this works quite effectively by adopting a dry, documentary tone and splurging the budget on Ray Harryhausen's spectacular special effects. Check out the wholesale destruction of Washington, DC's most famous landmarks.

Excerpt from TimeOut Film Guide located HERE

 

Special effects artist Ray Harryhausen has become legendary for his clever vivification of dinosaurs, aliens and mythological creatures in such films as The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953), Twenty Million Miles to Earth (1957), and Jason and the Argonauts (1963). He learned the craft of stop-motion animation under George Pal (the Puppetoon series) and Willis O'Brien (King Kong, 1933) but quickly innovated complex techniques of his own.

In 1956, Harryhausen faced an unusual challenge when producer Charles Schneer asked him to focus his talents not on living creatures but on inanimate objects. In Earth vs. the Flying Saucers (1956), it was Harryhausen's task to somehow invest extraterrestrial spacecraft with a sense of motion and life.

Hugh Marlowe stars as Dr. Russell A. Marvin, newly wed to Carol Marvin (Joan Taylor) when their car is "buzzed" by a flying saucer. A tape player within their car records the sounds of the spacecraft, which later reveals the emulation of a human voice, laying down its demands for a peaceful meeting. The benevolence of the aliens proves questionable when they abduct Carol's father, General Hanley (Morris Ankrum), and subject him to a horrific form of mind control (later unceremoniously dumping his body from a high altitude). At the same time, the Earthlings seize the body of one of the aliens, and use it to unlock the secrets of their would-be conquerors. By analyzing the suit (and being briefly abducted himself) Marvin quickly conceives a radical new weapon with which to combat the invading hordes, at the very moment that saucers begin descending upon Washington, DC, to assume control of the defenseless planet.

Excerpt from Turner Classic movies located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: July 1956

Reviews      More Reviews     DVD Reviews

DVD Comparison:

Sony Pictures (2-disc) - Region 1, 3, 4 - NTSC vs. Sony (b/w + colorized) - Region FREE - Blu-ray

1) Sony - Region 1,3,4 SD-DVD - NTSC LEFT

2) Sony Region FREE Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

DVD Box Cover

The individual Earth vs. the Flying Saucers Blu-ray is presently only available in The Ray Harryhausen Collection (20 Million Miles to Earth, Earth vs. Flying Saucers, It Came from Beneath the Sea, and The 7th Voyage of Sinbad) [Blu-ray]

          

Distribution Sony Pictures - Region 1, 3, 4 - NTSC Sony - Region FREE Blu-ray
Runtime 1:23:36  Both: 1:23:42
Video 1.85:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: unknown
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s   

1080P, MPEG4-AVC

Dual-layered,  Blu-ray

Black and White 17.16 Gig

Color 17.17 Gig

Audio English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (mono) , DUBs in french, Spanish or Portuguese English 5.1 TrueHD, DUB: French
Subtitles English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, None English, English (SDH), French, Spanish, Portuguese, Korea, Japanese, Hindi, Arabic, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Sony Pictures

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1

Edition Details:

• Commentary by Harryhausen, Jeff Okum, Kan Ralston and Arnold Kunert
• trailers for other sci-fi films
Disc 2

• Featurette: Remembering Earth vs. The Flying Saucers
• 
Featurette: The Hollywood Blacklist and Bernard Gordon
• Original Screenplay credits

• Galleries

• Earth vs. The Flying Saucers comic book

• Featurette: A Present day look at Stop-Motion

• Tim Burton Interview with Ray Harryhausen (26:47),
• Interview with Actress Joan Taylor (17:24),
• Original Ad Artwork
• "David Schecter: Movie Music's Unsung Hero" (22:37)

• The Colorization Process (10:55)

DVD Release Date: January 15th, 2007

Keep Case
Chapters: 20

Release Information:
Studio: Sony Pictures

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1

 

1080P, MPEG4-AVC

Dual-layered,  Blu-ray

Black and White 17.16 Gig

Color 17.17 Gig

Edition Details:

• Commentary by Harryhausen, Jeff Okum, Kan Ralston and Arnold Kunert
• trailers for other sci-fi films

• Featurette: Remembering Earth vs. The Flying Saucers
• Featurette: The Hollywood Blacklist and Bernard Gordon
• Original Screenplay credits

• Galleries

• Earth vs. The Flying Saucers comic book

• Featurette: A Present day look at Stop-Motion

• Tim Burton Interview with Ray Harryhausen (26:47),
• Interview with Actress Joan Taylor (17:24),
• Original Ad Artwork
• "David Schecter: Movie Music's Unsung Hero" (22:37)

• The Colorization Process (10:55)

DVD Release Date: October 7th, 2008

Standard Blu-ray Case
Chapters: 20

The individual Earth vs. the Flying Saucers Blu-ray is presently only  in The Ray Harryhausen Collection (20 Million Miles to Earth, Earth vs. Flying Saucers, It Came from Beneath the Sea, and The 7th Voyage of Sinbad) [Blu-ray]

           

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were ripped directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Blu-ray October 08': Well, as far as SD goes I still kinda like the brightened original but the new Blu-ray blows it away with detail and grain. Contrast is a shade more pure in the 1080P transfer and both hi-def renderings (color and b/w) show more detail with tighter lines.

Audio: The Blu-ray gets a TrueHD bump and although my crusty ears may not detect a pronounced separation it must surely be an improvement. The rear speaker action had a few sparse moments and does exist in the new mix. An original Mono track should have been included though. The Blu-ray has a host of further subtitle options indicating that it is region free.

NOTE: There are subtitles for the commentary!

Like It Came From Beneath The Sea - it appears as though all the same extras are included, with the commentary and featurettes discussed below. I didn't find anything new but there is that bonus of having them all on one Blu-ray disc (for lazy folk like I).

I don't think Ray Harryhausen's work here was at its most memorable (although the destruction of some US government buildings is) and the film is fair-to-midland but being addicted to this more innocent brand of 50's sci-fi, I want to see this in the best transfer possible - while dreaming about what it was like being with the initial theater crowds over 50 years ago... obviously then it is crucial to own the Blu-ray.

***

ON THE SD-DVDs: Before this two disc boxset - there was a stand alone black and white version on a dual-layered DVD also from Sony (released September 2002). It is now out-of-print HERE (presently still purchasable reasonably from third parties). We have posted 4 comparing screen grabs below of this edition with this new 2-disc and the older demonstrates its superiority in image detail as well as having much more information in the frame. For purists THIS older DVD edition is the (SD-DVD) one to own.

The reason the older release is better visually is that it shares with nothing, aside from a few extras, on a dual-layered disc. Sony have put both the original black \ white and color versions on the same side of the first disc of this new two-disc package - so the compression is, essentially divided and, inferior. Of course beyond the theatrical accuracy of the appearance the new two disc has bumped audio and a new Harryhausen commentary (more both below) plus extensive extras (although many are repeated from the colorized Twenty Million Miles to Earth DVD sets - 50th Anniversary Edition SD and Blu-ray) .

Unlike Paramount's colorized 2-disc DVD package of It's A Wonderful Life, where the best quality b/w version was on one DVD and the colorized on another disc altogether - I feel the Earth vs. the Flying Saucers DVD was mistakenly authored. I may be incorrect in assuming there are 'two versions' on one disc here as it may be some new seamlessly branched method of transfer as you can toggle between the two versions. I don't know - I assume not. Also there may be a legal rights situation that both must appear on the same disc (akin to my observations of the UK version of The Thing From Another World.)   

The color looks quite strong in some sequences (ex. fire) but kind of drab in others. Telltale skin tones are all over the place. I believe I have seen better colorizations.  Personally, I'd have preferred to see a pristine b/w version... with these new supplements. The 5.1 audio bump option has some moments - enough to warrant inclusion I suppose.

There is a new commentary with the obviously aged Harryhausen, and his devout followers; visual effects artists Jeff Okum, Kan Ralston and Arnold Kunert. Kunert takes the lead and there is some cool stuff which I felt was worthwhile but it gets less nostalgic each DVD in which these appear. I smiled at Harryhausen telling us that the saucers (largest 12 inches in diameter) were made by his 'father on a Sears-Roebuck lathe'. There is a featurette (actually an interview with Harryhausen) called Remembering Earth vs. The Flying Saucers and another on The Hollywood Blacklist and Bernard Gordon and his lack of mention in the credits. We are also given a look at the Earth vs. The Flying Saucers comic book and a featurette about a present day look at the dying art of stop-motion (by a student).

Repeated from the 50th Anniversary Edition Twenty Million Miles to Earth SD  and Blu-ray - there is a brief, 10 minute, featurette on the colorization process, a Tim Burton interview with Ray Harryhausen for almost a half hour and a delightful interview with actress Joan Taylor (about 20 minutes). There is some original ad artwork and another featurette - "David Schecter: Movie Music's Unsung Hero" (running 22 minutes).

I enjoy this film but it's not on the nostalgic scale of This Island Earth or any from the Ultimate Sci-Fi Collection (Tarantula , The Incredible Shrinking Man etc.). The extras are disappointing in that many are repeated (other DVD editions) and the image is not the best example of the original film or the colorization process. So we don't recommend as the new commentary and two new featurettes don't seem to equal the value of the cost of this package - especially if you are 'double-dipping'. If you are just keen to see this film then we still recommend the original release HERE. If you must see it in color or in a fake 5.1 - then this is your only option at present.   

Gary W. Tooze

 



DVD Menus


Disc 2

 


CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Subtitle Sample - we can't obtain subtitle captures for Blu-ray yet!

 

1) Sony - Region 1,3,4 - NTSC (Out-of-print HERE) TOP

2) Sony - Two Disc (Colorized and black/white) - Region 1,3,4 - NTSC SECOND

3) Sony Region FREE Blu-ray THIRD

4) Sony - Two Disc (Colorized and black/white) - Region 1,3,4 - NTSC - FOURTH

5) Sony Region FREE Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


 

Screen Captures

 

1) Sony - Region 1,3,4 - NTSC (Out-of-print HERE) TOP

2) Sony - Two Disc (Colorized and black/white) - Region 1,3,4 - NTSC SECOND

3) Sony Region FREE Blu-ray THIRD

4) Sony - Two Disc (Colorized and black/white) - Region 1,3,4 - NTSC - FOURTH

5) Sony Region FREE Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

NOTE: Cropping!

 

 


1) Sony - Region 1,3,4 - NTSC (Out-of-print HERE) TOP

2) Sony - Two Disc (Colorized and black/white) - Region 1,3,4 - NTSC SECOND

3) Sony Region FREE Blu-ray THIRD

4) Sony - Two Disc (Colorized and black/white) - Region 1,3,4 - NTSC - FOURTH

5) Sony Region FREE Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) Sony - Two Disc (Colorized and black/white) - Region 1,3,4 - NTSC - TOP

2) Sony Region FREE Blu-ray - SECOND

3) Sony - Two Disc (Colorized and black/white) - Region 1,3,4 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Sony Region FREE Blu-ray FOURTH

 


1) Sony - Two Disc (Colorized and black/white) - Region 1,3,4 - NTSC - TOP

2) Sony Region FREE Blu-ray - SECOND

3) Sony - Two Disc (Colorized and black/white) - Region 1,3,4 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Sony Region FREE Blu-ray FOURTH

 

 


DVD Box Cover

The individual Earth vs. the Flying Saucers Blu-ray is presently only available in The Ray Harryhausen Collection (20 Million Miles to Earth, Earth vs. Flying Saucers, It Came from Beneath the Sea, and The 7th Voyage of Sinbad) [Blu-ray]

          

Distribution Sony Pictures - Region 1, 3, 4 - NTSC Sony - Region FREE Blu-ray

The individual Earth vs. the Flying Saucers Blu-ray is presently only in The Ray Harryhausen Collection (20 Million Miles to Earth, Earth vs. Flying Saucers, It Came from Beneath the Sea, and The 7th Voyage of Sinbad) [Blu-ray]

           




 

Hit Counter

 

DONATIONS Keep DVDBeaver alive:

Mail cheques, money orders, cash to:    or CLICK PayPal logo to donate!

Gary Tooze

Thank You!