The Flying Saucer

January 28, 2012 6 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

It seems all the talk of flying saucers and aliens could be true, when a ship is thought to be hidden within a remote location. But this location is not Roswell or some backwoods shantytown in Alabama, but instead the frigid wastelands of Alaska. Of course, this means all sorts of added danger and risk, what with all the ice and of course, threats of massive avalanches. Even with the saucer buried under tons of snow in an uncharted land however, the search is on and of course, those darn Russians want it before the Americans. So the chase is on and as time passes, people begin to wonder what is inside the saucer, perhaps some strange power source or advanced weapons? It is the atomic age after all and as such, the people want to see powerful new devices and within an alien craft, that’s a likely place to find some new stuff. But is this flying saucer even there and if so, where are the aliens that traveled inside of it?

I’ve seen a lot of low rent flying saucer movies, but this one was one of the first, hence the rather simple title. Nowadays, The Flying Saucer would be a dull choice, but back in 1950, it was darn near cutting edge. I think fans of low budget ’50s science-fiction will like this flick, as it offers a good premise and some solid tension at times, which is more than most films of this ilk can claim. Of course, the real drive behind a film like this is special effects, which isn’t The Flying Saucer’s strong suit, to say the least. In truth, this film has the bare minimum of special effects and in the end, seems content to run on dialogue and plot, which you don’t see often in UFO movies. This lack of flashy visuals could bore some folks, but I think it works well enough, though I wouldn’t want to watch this one all the time, either. But what this flick lacks in special effects, it makes up for with more Communist paranoia, conspiracy theories, and hoaxes than you shake a lemon tree at. So no, this won’t please all modern viewers, but genre fans should give it a look, to be sure.

This film was written, produced, and directed by Mikel Conrad, who also takes on the lead character, so you know his hands were full here. I do think Conrad penned a solid storyline and some decent characters, but I also think lack of budget sank this one. If the film had some interesting special effects or more elaborate set pieces, I think it would have worked a lot better. It had the writing to be sure, but it needed the flash and visual spark to really come across. But given the low rent nature here, Conrad does well enough and though slow at times, The Flying Saucer is a terrific genre entry, especially when you note it was made in 1950. Conrad never directed or wrote another film, but he did act in such movies as Arctic Manhunt, Untamed Women, The Man From Colorado, Mr. Soft Touch, and Francis the Talking Mule. The cast also includes Denver Pyle (Bonnie and Clyde, The Horse Soldiers), Virginia Hewitt (Tv’s Space Patrol), Hantz von Teuffen, Lester Sharpe (Amazon Quest, The Mummy’s Ghost), and Pat Garrison (Lost in America).

Video: How does it look?

The Flying Saucer is presented in a full frame transfer, as intended. This image looks good for a low rent flick from the ’50s, but lacks the shine we’ve come to expect from modern efforts. The source print is saddled with small flecks almost all the time, though this is never too distracting, at least until the larger debris and scratches surface. But the contrast is on the mark, so the black & white picture looks well balanced, with a strong level of detail throughout. This one looks worn for the ride, but since a full restoration is unlikely, I think this is as good as it gets.

Audio: How does it sound?

Not a whole lot to talk about here, with a basic, but effective mono track included. The materials have aged well enough, but still have some elements of harshness and distortion, though never to an extreme degree. The music sounds solid, if a little distorted at times, while the various sound effects are well presented also. No errors in terms of dialogue however, as vocals sound clean and crisp from start to finish. It might be a mono track from the ’50s, but goshdarn, it’s good enough in this case.

Supplements: What are the extras?

This disc includes the film’s theatrical trailer.

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