Earth vs. the Flying Saucers (1956)

Earth vs. the Flying Saucers (1956), directed by Fred F. Sears.

Taking advantage of the intense saucer flap of the 1950s, Ray Harryhausen & company deliver an SF adventure without any "the truth is out there / I want to believe" teasing. They're here and they're taking over. They talk but don't listen. But might advanced interstellar invaders nonetheless have a weak spot that lowly Earth technology can exploit? They always do... The final battle is in DC with much damage to national monuments.

You might think that animating spinning saucers is not the best use of stop motion Dynamation, but it does give them an interesting, vivid look. The force fields are great and loads of stock footage are skilfully integrated into the story: where would 1950s SF be without captured V2 rockets?

When I was young a very brief scene terrified me, for no reason that I can understand: a saucer passes behind some trees against the evening sky (panel #5 in the thumbnails below). Because of this movie I had alien abduction nightmares long before they had become part of pop culture.

For buffs of computer prehistory, there is a nifty shot of a differential analyzer, an early mechanical analog computer.

Available on Blu-ray; switch between the b&w and colorized versions with the Angle button. Includes a commentary track with Harryhausen and three others, modern effects men having a great time, obviously envious of the control he had over his projects.