Tuesday, August 31, 2010

When Cheap is Good

Expensive mega-blockbuster motion pictures seem all the rage, but when the subject is UFOs the less costly celluloid messages translate well.

You already know about my admiration for the 1956 documentary movie, "U.F.O." And there are these:

'The UFO Incident," regarding the Barney and Betty Hill case, is a seventies NBC-TV movie starring James Earl Jones and Estelle Parsons, and an incredibly well-produced docu-drama whose mystery and terror engulfs the viewer's mind through faithful depictions of hypnotic regression and the influence of things often unseen. I think most folks familiar with the UFO topic know about this one.

Perhaps lesser known is "The Disappearance of Flight 412," another movie (available on DVD) presented first on NBC-TV, aired in 1974. Starring Glenn Ford (an Air Force officer as well as an actor, and I do seem to recall that he had some very strong opinions about UFOs), David Soul, Bradford Dillman and other known actors (including Guy Stockwell, whose low-key, yet somewhat chilling portrayal of a government intelligence officer carries the storyline quite well, and Ed Winter, who went on to star in the final episodes of Jack Webb's NBC series, "Project UFO"), this very low-budget feature is a must-see. Most who have watched this oldie probably had no idea that its script was based upon the personal military experience of one of its writers, Neal Burger, who borrows from something that happened in 1951.

Even as independent UFO researchers who produce their own documentaries have shown, huge budgets are nice, but not always necessary. As far as commercial TV networks go, considering the amount of worthless slop they turn out every day, it borders upon amazing that the profoundly thought-provoking films mentioned here ever made it to the small screen. Then again, that was another era of free television, apparently gone forever.