An apparent typographical error led to many sources listing veteran actor Tom Powers (instead of Tom Towers) as appearing in this film. Tom Powers passed away in Nov 1955, about the time this film went into production. See more »
When a stack of recreated 1952 Life Magazine issues is shown in a close-up, a stack of another magazine's real issue from 1955 is next to it. See more »
Overwrought semi-documentary, interesting from a historic perspective only
Interviews, footage, and recreations are combined to make the case for U.F.O.s being real, sentiently guided and likely of extra-terrestrial origin. The film is very dated and only covers the first six years of U.F.O. encounters in the US, starting with the 1947 Kenneth Arnold sighting and closing with the famous appearance of multiple mysterious flying objects over Washington, DC in 1952. The few interview and footage sequences are bridged by recreations of US Air Force press officer Albert Chop's (Tom Towers) examinations of various sightings. Real footage of the Montana and Utah sightings is shown (and examined frame by frame in the epilogue) but, after 90 minutes of portentous setup, the brief, grainy images are anticlimactic. More interesting than the U.F.O.s themselves are the reactions of the public and responses of the government (including President Harry Truman) who were genuinely concerned (although at the dawn of the cold war, the fears were as much about foreign powers as about malevolent aliens). Overall, 'Unidentified Flying Objects: The True Story of Flying Saucers' is tedious (especially the endless monotonal narration by Olan Soule) but at least is more sincere and less sensationalistic than later entries in the 'U.F.O.s are real!' genre (notably, there are no 'recreations' of saucers or aliens, just of human observers and analysts). To be fair to the film and its makers, it should be 'seen' through 1950 eyes, not 2020 eyes: more than 60 years have passed since the Arnold sighting and the entry of the term 'flying saucer' into popular culture, but despite the off-and-on hype, nothing has ever come of the claims that extra-terrestrial intelligences are visiting our skies other than a lot of great (and not-so-great) movies and TV shows, a few amusing songs, some celebrities making fools of themselves, and the memorable debut episode of 'South Park' (but, just in case, "Keep watching the skies!").
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