|My only regret when i watch this film is that,
although i have read that it was made in 3D, (apparently) no 3D prints still
exist. That's sad, because i can imagine that the effect of several of the
sets would be even greater in 3D.
The basic plot is fairly well-known -- boy sees flying saucer land and hide
itself in a sand-pit near his home, sees his father captured by aliens, and
can't make anyone believe him till it's almost Too Late.
This is a film designed to play to several of the things that children feel
even if they can't voice them clearly -- that adults are arbitrary and uncaring,
that no-one listens to what kids have to say, and so on. The visual design
(Menzies was, after all, primarily a designer) plays to that quite well.
Since the main part of the film is, apparently, revealed as a dream, Menzies
can go in for such surreally-portrayed sets as the police station, in which
the desk sergeant's desk looms so far above the boy who is trying to report
horrible events, and almost the only other feature of the set is the clock
on a wall far away. (Imagine that shot in 3D).
And, yes, the costumes of the "aliens" are a bit cheesey, and the special
effects are almost fifty years out of date... but these are details, and
minor ones; the film as a whole does a wonderful job of capturing a childhood
nightmare and making us, if only briefly, live it and recall what it was
like to be a child...
((The recent wonderful animated film "The
Iron Giant" includes a brief visual homage to this film...))