Earth vs. the Flying Saucers hit the nation's screens in 1956, one year before Sputnik was launched to usher in the Space Age. Based on the Donald Kehoe book Invasion of the Flying Saucers, the film features the work of special effects wizard Ray Harryhausen, including the iconic collapse of the Washington Monument in the climatic battle scene.
Taking elements from predecessors The Day the Earth Stood Still and War of the Worlds, the story begins with Dr. Russell Marvin sending test rockets into the upper atmosphere as part of Operation Sky Hook. But the rockets keep disappearing, which may have something to do with the flying saucers Dr. Marvin and his new wife/secretary Carol have recently spotted. Eventually, they discover that the saucers are from Mars, and the aliens plan to conquer Earth because their planet is dead.
The Martians give world leaders 60 days to surrender peacefully,but the ever-inventive Dr. Marvin builds a magnetic pulse gun that can cripple the flying saucers. Meanwhile, the flying saucers have the requisite ray that can disintegrate just about anything. A final battle is fought in the skies over Washington, D.C., destroying the U.S. Capitol Building and other landmarks but saving the Planet Earth from the alien invaders.
Next: Invasion of the Body Snatchers
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