1950's children's film was a precursor to others, and is still charming in it's own right.
'Meba' is a small, affectionate, wide-eyed, telepathic Venusian who can transform into a small flying saucer at will. Whilst Meba is visiting Earth, a friendship is struck up with some children at a boarding school, and there is a fair amount of shenanigans involving a million pounds from the bank and a group of incompetent villains.
Meba takes the form of a glove puppet at most times and when transformed into a small flying saucer appears as an overlaid animation. I guess Meba's white smock crumples up roughly into the shape of a flying saucer so that the transition is fairly smooth.
This film is one of nearly 200 productions made by the 'Children's Film Foundation' between 1947 and 1985. F. R. Wells, son of the eponymous H.G., was an executive in the foundation. It still exists today as the Children's Media Foundation and the archive of films etc is curated by the BFI. This film has been nicely restored by the BFI and both looked and sounded very good when I saw it, when broadcast on the 'Talking Pictures' TV channel.
Others have mentioned the idea of a cute alien, befriended by children, is one that is more familiar to cinema goers as the plot of E.T.; well, it is, there is no denying it, the premise is very close indeed, and there are other similarities. It is unclear if F.R. Wells (who is I think responsible for the plot here) would have seen E.T. since it came out in the same year as he passed away. There are also similarities to the film 'Home Alone' in that the children foil some incompetent pratfalling villains, and 'Mary Poppins' in that there is a mixture of live action and animation on screen at times.
This film represents -both by context and premise- a small glimpse into a world that is now lost; whether children today would be entertained by it is open to question, but I found it both historically interesting and rather charming.
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