Movie Review: Earth Versus the Flying Saucers (1956)

by StevenHelmer

A review of the 1956 science fiction movie starring Hugh Marlowe and Joan Taylor.

Synopsis: Humanity faces enslavement from a group of hostile aliens that invade in flying saucers and possess high-tech weapons. Earth's only hope is for a scientist to find a way to fight back before they begin their invasion. However, he is hindered by technological limitations and a firm 56-day time limit before the world's leaders are expected to surrender.


I had some errands to run yesterday afternoon while my wife was at work and wanted to get the girls outside to play a bit. However, since my oldest daughter and I had some time while eating lunch, we ended up watching this movie together. Overall, it was pretty decent.

While the special effects were somewhat limited by when this movie was made, there were some things about the film I really liked. For one, I liked the idea of aliens that were vulnerable to our current guns and weapons but possess weapons of their own that give them a distinct advantage. This creates a feeling of general hopelessness because the aliens seem impossible to defeat but, at the same time, there's still a slight possibility the heroes can gain the upper hand.

The fact the aliens took the time to communicate their plans ahead of time was an interesting twist, at least when compared to most other alien invasion films.At first, I wasn't really sure what to think of them and wondered if maybe they originally had peaceful intentions that were misunderstood. However, as they revealed their plan and demanded surrender, it was easy to dislike their arrogance and cheer for the human race (which, admittedly, isn't always the case with many of the films we've watched).

Another thing I found I liked about this movie was the fact it was a husband and wife team (Marlow and Taylor) that took the lead rather than just the husband. One of my biggest complaints about older movies like this is, more often than not, there is a lack of strong female characters and, because of that, it was refreshing to see a woman involved with the research and not afraid to stand by her husband and risk her life too. I know my daughter especially liked that (she was kind of mad when he originally tried to send his wife to Florida).

Earth vs. the Flying Saucers (Color Special Edition)

Aliens are everywhere, and they're attacking planet Earth in one of Ray Harryhausen's most amazing stop motion sci fi classics. Dr. Russell Marvin (Hugh Marlowe) works for Opera...

View on Amazon

Final Opinion

As I mentioned, the special effects were kind of limited by when this movie was made. However, the overall movie was still worth taking the time to watch and I can see why a lot of modern movies were inspired by it. If you haven't seen it, it's worth taking the time to watch one rainy afternoon if you get a chance.

My Grade: B

Updated: 10/17/2018, StevenHelmer
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DerdriuMarriner on 04/01/2022

StevenHelmer, Thank you for practical information, pretty pictures and product lines.
The library system does not have Earth Versus the Flying Saucers listed amongst its Blu-ray and DVD collections. So I don't expect to be seeing this 1950s black-and-white take on hostile alien contact with Earth.

Was there any explanation as to how Earth managed to get the attention of the aliens?

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