Flying Saucers Over Istanbul (Review)
Flying Saucers Over Istanbul
Alien space women come to Earth to search for (what else) manly men as all of theirs are dead. So of course they head to Turkey, the manliest country in the galaxy. But the only men the space women meet in Flying Saucers Over Istanbul (Uçan daireler Istanbulda) are two greedy idiots who proceed to try to sell alien secrets to get rich in schemes that might have played well in 1955 Turkey, but now are just annoying. Perhaps they didn’t play too well in 1955 Turkey, as the film reportedly did not fare well at the box office.
Rosie returns for revenge on the Jetsons!
Flying Saucers Over Istanbul was one of those films that was lost in the quagmire of Turkish vaults, even thought possibly lost until a rather nice looking print surfaced relatively recently. If you can only view Turkish films that have been scratched to the point where they are barely watchable, you might be disappointed this is too clean. I think it’s just right, there needs to be some grit and fadedness on the prints, but digitally remastered Turkish pop cinema would destroy the entire aesthetic.
The attraction to Flying Saucers Over Istanbul is the effects. Hubcaps suspended by fishing wire with sparklers going off are our Flying Saucers. The space women have their own female robot, who is little more than plywood with light bulb attachments. Sadly the space stuff occupies maybe a quarter at most of the running time.
Do you enjoy belly dancing? Do you enjoy two jokers attempting to sell space miracle potions to rich old women? Do you enjoy a guy carrying a gigantic obviously fake camera? Because those are the themes of the majority of Flying Saucers Over Istanbul! Never fear, they throw in a fake Marilyn Monroe to distract everyone.
As you’ve probably guessed from my whining, the non-space stuff isn’t what I call entertaining. There is an attempted theme of loneliness among women, the Earth women who run a Lonely Hearts Nightclub that’s desperate to attract male guests for their clients to hit on contrast with the invading Space Women from Planet Merih, who kidnap men forcibly to replace their now dead males. But that’s about all the contrast the two sides get, their methods are wholly different (kidnapping vs coercion) and their looks are totally different(the Earth women are old, the space women look young). In the end, neither side really achieves success in their goal.
Director/writer/star Orhan Erçin directed only one more film right after this in 1955 (the comedy Çeto Sihirbaz, featuring either a magician or a wizard depending on your translation), then did not direct again until two films in 1987! He later died in 1993, on his birthday. He has unfairly been compared to Ed Wood since this film has resurfaced. Flying Saucers Over Istanbul is a comedy, and much of the camp was intentional. Still, it’s not very good.
The fake Marilyn Monroe was played by Mirella Monro, whose name implies she made a living impersonating the American star. This is her only listed role, and she died in 1968. I was unable to find any more information on her, as every link was just cast listing for this film.
Belly dancing, belly dancing, and more belly dancing as be begin our piece. It’s the new featured act at the Lonely Hearts Club, the exclusive club that lonely single rich older women hang out at. And no men at all, which sort of defeats their purpose of having a club to make matches. Thus hiring the belly dancer, to lure in men. Two guys are in the club now, but it’s not because of the dancers, they’re newspaper men who want to write a story about the ladies. Sapsal the pipe-chomping writer and Kasar the stuttering photographer.
Their boss isn’t too happy at these guys, as every other newspaper is writing stories about UFOs! Boss demands some UFO stories, so they go out to find out what the heck UFOs are. Despite being distracted by toys that are also called UFOs, they end up sneaking into an observatory and hiding under the table as several astronomers talk about the stars and other cool astronomy facts. After the scientists go home, the pair dig through the piles of papers to look for anything good to write a story about. Kasar fiddles around with the radio, which is picking up a transmission! From space!
The space lady from planet Merih on the line says they’re gonna land at the source of the transmission, aka the observatory. Lo and behold, a sparkling hubcap descends outside the window! The guys go to spy and see space ladies in space ladies clothing step out of the UFO. But most importantly, out comes a Space Lady Robot complete with light bulb eyes and hair. Her name is Stelekami. They’re here for one thing: Men! All the Merih Men are dead (not the Merry Men! What will Robin Hood do now??)
The Merih Women capture the two guys and break out the Man Detector. Beep beep, that man detector is going off so much because of how manly I am. This is why I can’t use stud detectors when I do construction, either. Hey, I know these jokes are lame, but you get what you pay for!
The Man Detector says that Kasar isn’t a man! But then, after banging it a few times, it says that he’s extra-extra man! Does that mean he has extra flavor for that extra long play? Extra flavor for that extra long day. When you’re chewing Extra, the extra fresh flavor lasts an extra extra extra long time! Extra lasts extra long.
Either get married or else, so they agree to get married to some of the ladies. The Queen is 400 years old, another lady is 500 years old. They look so young and beautiful because of their alien technology that has a cabinet full of bottles that do cool stuff, including an elixir that makes you young for 1000 years.
The guys say they can use the elixir to convince more men at the hotel to agree to marry space ladies, but the whole thing is a scheme to try to make lots of money selling the elixir. Throw in scenes where there is a big riot over the bottle, someone ganking the bottle, a drinking contest to get the bottle back, disguises, chases, and accidental drinking of elixirs.
Basically they run out of elixir and go back to the ship to try to get more, though Sapsar almost gets strangled by Stelekami! Kill him, KILL HIM!!
The space women know the truth and that these guys are idiots. That’s how desperate things are on planet Merih, that these ladies don’t just vaporize these schmucks right now! Instead, they give them more elixir to go back to the Lonely Hearts Club.
Just as Marilyn Monroe has arrived! After telling us she’s Marilyn Monroe and demanding attention from everyone, soon everyone has drunk elixir, but now everyone is dancing like an idiot!
The space women have tricked everyone, because this is the Elixir of Craziness! That sounds like a reject Harry Potter title. The space women freeze everyone with their freeze ray guns, then talk smack about Marilyn Monroe (who was belly dancing), declaring her ugly, and Earth men are too dumb for them if they think Marilyn is attractive.
So the space women go home, or to another planet to man hunt, or something. Way to not clearly explain what will happen, movie! But they do take Kasar and Sapsal with them, who are sad that they are now kidnapped and going to a planet filled with space women. The astronomers are surprised to see a UFO take off, and our tale ends…
Rated 4/10 (belly dancer, man detector, lots of bottles, amused front desk guy)
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