Hero research scientist Dr Russell Marvin (Hugh Marlowe, back in the nation’s capital after surviving The Day the Earth Stood Still ) tries to prevent an invasion of the Earth after aliens abduct his father-in-law.
He slows down the plodding story even further by embarking on a sluggish romantic honeymoon interlude with his new wife, Carol (Joan Taylor).
Commendable only for special effects genius Ray Harryhausen’s flying saucers trashing the landmarks of Washington DC – authentic replicas were constructed of the Washington Monument, the Supreme Court and the domed roof of the Capitol building, – this routine science-fiction fantasy lifts most of its plot from HG Wells’s The War of the Worlds, but does little else with its Mars Attacks! (1996) scenario.
Budgetary restrictions prevented Harryhausen from using stop-motion for the alien pilots (faceless creatures encased in robot-like pressure suits), so human-sized costumes were designed to be worn by stunt actors.
Morris Ankrum played hotheaded, Brigadier General Hanley, with veteran voice-over artist Paul Frees providing the alien leader’s sinister voice.
Dr Russell A Marvin
Thomas Browne Henry
Fred F Sears