Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The Flying Saucer|
Actors: George Baxter, Robert Boon, Frank Darien, Roy Engel, Pat Garrison
Genres: Science Fiction & Fantasy
By January 1950, "Atomic Age" America was fueled with rabid paranoia. Russia had the H-bomb, communists were infiltrating unions and academia, strange unidentified objects called "flying saucers" were invading our skies an... more »
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Mikel Conrad battles the Red Menace...sort of....
cookieman108 | Inside the jar... | 04/12/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Mikel Conrad, who appeared uncredited in a number of films through the late 40's and early 50's, not only starred in The Flying Saucer (1950), but also is listed as the writer, director, and producer. One may also have seen Mr. Conrad (in rare credited roles) in films like Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff (1949) and Francis the Talking Mule (1950). First of all, let me say right off the bat that while there is a flying saucer in this film, it's not from outer space, and there are no spacemen bent on world domination or coming to steal out women for weird procreation experiments anywhere in this film. The flying saucer is a plot device in the movie, but the whole science fiction angle to the story is pretty much non-existent. Just fair warning to anyone looking for a little cheesy science fiction fun from the 50's.The movie starts off with a flying saucer zipping around the air, freaking people out, and newspaper headlines scream of its' appearance. Various world governments (well, the only two that counted at that time, us and Big Red) have taken an interest in this amazingly fast aircraft, and are seeking it out. The thought being that one could drop atomic bombs anywhere, anytime, unfettered. Should the Red Menace get their hands on this, well...remember, this was 1950 and the Cold War was in full swing. Mikel Conrad is Mike Trent, a millionaire playboy and government spy... well, I am unsure if he was an actual agent or just got recruited in the movie, but either way...you see, there seems to be a good amount of activity in Alaska concerning the Russians, and since Mike Trent's family has diversified interests there, goldmines, logging camps, beaver farms, igloo construction, the United States government thought he would make the perfect agent to send in and see what's going on...under the premise that he had a nervous breakdown and is going home to recuperate. At his side is Vee Langley (played by Pat Garrison), another government agent posing as Mike's nurse. (Actually, the only actor you may recognize in here is Denver Pyle, who was on TV's Dukes of Hazzard as Uncle Jesse. Pyle plays a Communista goon...I think...he didn't get a lot of screen time).So Mike and Vee are traveling by boat to a hunting lodge owned by Mike's family, and we get to see a whole lot of beautiful Alaskan scenery. We also get to see Mike smoke like a chimney. I swear, the first half of this film you couldn't go five minutes without seeing Mike light up another cigarette. We also get voiceover from Mike, telling us a little about the beautiful scenery, but, I have to say, it was kind of difficult to listen to Mike expound on the loveliness of the surrounding Alaskan wilderness and then watch him pitch cigarette butts into the pristine, crystal clear Alaskan waters...but I digress. They finally arrive at the near empty family hunting lodge and meet Hans, the caretaker. Mike doesn't recognize Hans, and asks where the other caretaker is, to which Hans replies he doesn't know. Plot point? Probably...he certainly is a suspicious looking individual, and he seems to have a Frenchie accent and often wears a beret, sure signs of a no-goodnik.Well, after some more goofy stuff, we do find out that the saucer is in the area, and the Russians are actively looking for it, with agents Mike and Vee right in the middle of the action...sort of...what's the big mystery of the flying saucer? Will Mike and Vee be able to find it before the Stalingradians? (Vee might, but I think Mike, aka Sir Smokes-A-Lot, will probably pass away of emphysema before the end of the film)The Flying Saucer is basically a low-rent, James Bond spy movie without the cool gadgets or interesting characters. The film gets points for using the Alaskan wilderness as a backdrop, but loses points for the pretty lame plot devices and even lamer dialogue. I do admire Conrad's effort in writing, producing and directing this feature. Independent filmmaking is always a sketchy business, so I have to cut him a little slack as he seemed to make the best of what he had, and this certainly didn't turn out all bad.Wade Williams and Image Entertainment provide a pretty poor print for this release, one with obvious damage to the film throughout. It's still watchable, but at a few points lines on the film are pretty heavy, and speckling severe. The audio is comparatively better, but also suffers at a couple of points. I wasn't surprised at the condition of the film, and I doubt Criterion has this on their list of future releases, so this is probably the best you're going to get on DVD. Special features include a trailer for the film, and trailers for five other Wade Willams/Image releases. I am giving this film three stars, two for the movie and one for the great looking scenery used in the film. All in all, The Flying Saucer is a mildly entertaining Cold War relic, and, at the very least, I learned that if you are ever underneath a glacier, traveling along a passageway, do not fire a submachine gun. You are only asking for trouble, my friend. Cookieman108"
strydrn | Juneau, Alaska | 06/26/2000
(2 out of 5 stars)
"The main interest for this production is that it was shot mostly on location in the vicinity of Juneau, Alaska around 1950. Some of the cinematograqphy is really quite good and, speaking as an Alaskan, very typical of the area. It would have been even more interesting from a nostalgia point of view were ther more scenes around Juneau itself. The preconceptions of the time about Alaskans, Russians, playboys, and lone wolf genius scientists are quite amusing. Denver Pyle is the only immediately recognizable actor although two other supporting actors are very good and worked almost constantly during the period. The leading man and lady are straight out of a Buster Crabbe serial while the plot doesn't quite rise to even that level. Were I not very familiar with the area and a fan of old science fiction and B-movies, I doubt that I'd have purchased this one."
A Cult Film
Dean Bolderson | Daventry, Northamptonshire United Kingdom | 08/24/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Having never watched this film before i was afraid it would turn out to be one of the worst of the 50's sci-fi classics. But i was pleasantly surprised, sure nobody can deny that it suffers from a lack of action and special effects[more shots of the saucer and a faster pace would have helped]but the film boasts superb location photography of Alaska. I also thought that the film's star Mikel Conrad[he also wrote, produced and directed] made a likeable hero playing a millionaire playboy recruited by the government to track down those responsible for the saucer[shades of an early james bond type character i think]. My only gripe was concerning the russians who also wished to get their hands on this super flying machine,why were they speaking with perfect american accents? was there a shortage of russian actors in 1950 or maybe these russians had attended an american linguistics school! This film also differs from other 50's sci-fi movies plotwise in that it has absolutely nothing to do with aliens or outer space, it is definately earthbound and therefore slightly disappointing in that respect,but on the whole a worthy addition to any serious 50's sci-fi fan's dvd collection. Just a few annoyances about the dvd itself,the quality of the original print is quite poor and could have done with restoration also the film appears broken and rejoined in quite a few places, a pity!"
Only for 50's Sci-Fi completists
A. Gammill | West Point, MS United States | 04/26/2008
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Just when I think I've seen ALL the sci-fi flicks from the fab fifties, here comes this somewhat forgotten little film. Made at exactly the right time to capitalize on Americans' paranoia of menaces from both outer space and behind the "iron curtain," The Flying Saucer seems hopelessly dated now. Now, that wouldn't be such a problem if the film wasn't so drop-dead boring. The Red Planet Mars took a similar anti-Communist track, but had a literate screenplay and fairly credible performances to support its ham-fisted philosophies.
Yes, there is a flying saucer in the film. . .for about 20 seconds. The other 70 or so minutes are a tedious mix of noir-inspired narration (from star/writer/director Mikel Conrad), long (and admittedly beautiful) shots of the Alaskan wilderness, and some hard-to-swallow business with a Russian spy.
Even if, like me, you enjoy a good ol' drive-in sci-fi flick, you won't find much to love here. There are still plenty of low-budget delights from this era you can try: Stranger from Venus, Kronos, Spaceways, just to name a few.
Recommended ONLY for folks who feel they must have EVERY 50's sci-fi film in their collection. I sort of feel that way, but I have to admit, it's getting hard to find any real gems out there.