Flying Saucers Over Istanbul (Review)

Flying Saucers Over Istanbul

aka Uçan Daireler Istanbulda
Flying Saucers Over istanbul Uçan Daireler Istanbulda
Written and directed by Orhan Erçin

Flying Saucers Over istanbul Uçan Daireler Istanbulda

No one refuses the Space Ladies!

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.

Flying Saucers Over istanbul Uçan Daireler Istanbulda

No, the robot is going IN to the closet, it’s even more subtextual than you think!

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.

Flying Saucers Over istanbul Uçan Daireler Istanbulda

I get stoopid, I shoot an arrow like Cupid
I use a word that don’t mean nothin’, like loopid!

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.

Sapsal (Zafer Önen) – A pipe-chomping newspaper writer who spends much of his time with Kasar getting ridiculous stories that have nothing to do with what the hot news topic is. Bumbles into the invading women after being ordered to write about UFOs. Then tries to get rich instead of doing what they tell him to do, angering the space women.
Kasar (Orhan Erçin) – A stuttering photographer with a huge huge camera. His bumbling with the radio is the reason the space women landed. Spends time scheming along with Sapsal, but the aliens are too smart for them. Orhan Erçin wrote and directed as well, blame him for everything. Get him!
Space Queen/Uzaylı Kraliçe (Türkan Şamil) – The Queen of the Space Ladies from Merih, who have come to Earth to find husbands, as there aren’t any men left on their planet. They’ve heard men from Earth are handsome and strong, but then they run into Sapsal and Kasar. The brutal honesty of reality.
Space Lady/Uzaylı (Özcan Tekgül) – A Space Lady from Merih who assists the Queen in capturing dimwitted Sapsal and Kasar, and punishing them after they act like idiots. Another prominant Space Lady is played by Deniz Tanyeli.
Stelekami (???) – The cool robot lady who is a member of the Space Ladies. Stelekami doesn’t put up with Sapsal’s lies without robot choking him!

Flying Saucers Over istanbul Uçan Daireler Istanbulda

I’m kind of over gettin’ told to throw my hands up in the air.
So there.

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