The Flying Saucer
The Flying Saucer, written, directed by, and starring Mikel Conrad, is an oddball title that's been showing up on film lists and misleading sci-fi fans for more than half a century. That's mostly because it's not a science-fiction film but an espionage caper with thriller elements. Made just as the Red Scare was manifesting itself, the movie tells of a civilian sent to Alaska (in its pre-statehood days) on a secret mission from the government with a female agent, to determine whether or not a flying saucer has landed there. Masquerading as a dipsomaniac and his nurse, they spend a lot of time exploring the wilderness, sailing around ice-bound waters, and flying over glacier-covered mountains, all the while surrounded by some very obvious Soviet agents. The directing is clunky, the plot unfolds in fits and starts, and the acting is often highly amateurish. None of this would be as much of a problem if only the DVD looked and sounded better. It never offers a picture any sharper than a TV transfer circa 1960, however, and there's an audible "wow" on the soundtrack for much of the first half of the movie. None of this works to the advantage of the film or the viewer, and considerations such as the somewhat awkward menu design (offering a dozen chapters) are minor compared to those flaws -- although the somewhat foolishly designed menu makes one wonder if the producers wanted to delay anyone actually seeing what the movie looked like for as long as possible. The disc is potentially interesting to anyone collecting Cold War cinematic artifacts, but otherwise is one of the least essential releases from the Wade Williams Collection, which has given us such delights as Teenagers From Outer Space and Glen or Glenda.