The Flying Saucer (1964)

aka Il disco volante
Article 3768 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 11-26-2011
Posting Date: 12-8-2011
Directed by Tinto Brass
Featuring Alberto Sordi, Silvana Mangano, Monica Vitti
Country: Italy
What it is: Satire / Black comedy

A small Italian town has undergone a rash of flying saucer sightings. But will any of those actually viewing the saucers and meeting the inhabitants be believed?

I’m not quite sure yet how I feel about this one. It is nice to be watching an Italian comedy that is dry and dark rather than one that is maniacally over the top, but I did find myself wondering if some of the humor simply didn’t translate well in the dubbed version I saw. It’s also a little hard to classify; I used the term “black comedy” above, but it’s not near as consistently dark as other movies for which I’d use the term, yet it’s hard to not feel the inherent darkness to the story when several characters are forced to undergo electroshock therapy because of their claims to have seen the saucers. The downbeat ending seems a little simple and obvious to me, but it is rather interesting to see how the four characters played by Alberto Sordi all end up trapped by the situation, and the movie does leave you guessing at times. Still, my favorite plot situation has to do with Silvano Mangano’s widow, whose scheme to make a fortune off the situation backfires largely as a result of her own scheming. And I found the tale of the drunken priest rather bittersweet. Overall, it’s flawed, but rather interesting.


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