Supersonic Saucer

A cute alien lands on Earth, far from his home, only to be discovered by a kid who hides him from the mean ol’ adults. Sounds familiar?

Before Speilberg charmed his way into America’s collective heart, this little British ditty from 1956 charmed its way into England… or not. It’s hard to tell how many people saw this when it came out, since very little is known about the film, and who knows whether Steve himself ever saw it. Despite the similarities, the two films are quite different in sensibility, and it’s not just one kid that discovers Meba (yes, that’s the alien’s adopted name) but a whole group of Brits!

The acting is campy, the dialogue cheesy, and the slapstick scenes will make you groan- plus, they milk every second of stock footage they can as they show Meba’s cartoon UFO going all over- and I mean ALL OVER- town, back and forth, multiple times. Between that and a penchant for playing footage backwards, one can only presume the producers were convinced that they were blowing children’s minds with their cutting-edge VFX back in 1956. And maybe it was.

Given that London had been bombed fairly recently by Hitler and his gang, everyone was probably starving for cuteness, and the film does deliver that in spades. From the cuddly puppet that Meba is, to the single tear that she emits when feeling sad, you have to hand it to these folks- even in the 21st century, the feels found in this old film are real. Maybe Spielberg isn’t so special after all.

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