The term "flying saucer" was coined after a 1947 sighting near Mt. Rainier; the UFO craze that followed coincided with the dawn of the Cold War and with Hollywood's depictions of extra-terrestrials landing in the all-American landscape of the post-WWII boom years.
Robert Horton will examine the underlying political and social anxieties that resulted in the alien-invasion scenarios of 1950s science fiction films, citing movies both thoughtful (Invasion of the Body Snatchers) and silly (Earth vs. the Flying Saucers). Using clips to illustrate, he will discuss individual titles that provide angles on Atomic Age concerns: The Day the Earth Stood Still, for example, with its Gandhi-like alien, pleads for global peace. Comparisons will be drawn with similar offerings today (including the 2005 War of the Worlds remake), demonstrating how pop culture always reflects its era.
Robert Horton has spent over 25 years writing and talking about film. A University of Washington grad, he reviews movies for the Herald in Everett and KUOW-FM in Seattle, as well as a number of national publications.