Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Fade to Black - UFO: The Motion Picture Script (Part 17)

The final script changes, usually designated informally in Tom Towers' copy, are noted to have been made on March 7, 1955. However, considering there are numerous changes whose origins I can't determine, it's a safe bet that little alterations continued throughout production time. "U.F.O." opened in theaters across the U.S. in May, 1956.

A word, please, to all the talented people who currently inhabit the motion picture industry, and I guess I'm also addressing those of you who aren't part of it yet, but perhaps expect to be in the future. You see, when Greene-Rouse productions took on "U.F.O." in the fifties, they were already successful, but this movie was low-budget and a little too strange for its time -- that is, the scary monsters leaping out of popular sci-fi and horror movies in that era simply weren't present in "U.F.O." No screams, no homicides, no blood, no sex, not even "saucers" attacking earth whilst stealing away with every buxom young woman within sight of a Cyclopean eyeball -- in other words, this was a celluloid anomaly of the fifties if ever there was one.

Knowing, as some of you probably realize, that the evidence for UFOs is abundant out there, maybe someday one of you will consider remaking this 1956 documentary. But this time you'll likely have a huge budget, a thorough knowledge of special effects (and, I beg of you, the wisdom not to overuse them), connections with the finest actors in the world and access to the latest updates on all the cases and information presented in the original movie (people and organizations exist with files stuffed full of pure UFO history, the "real deal" variety, and it's all out there, waiting to be incorporated into a documentary feature). I don't know, maybe somebody out there can do justice not only to Clarence Greene's dream of alerting and informing the public, but that person might also compassionately and respectfully inject the drama, the action, and a measured dose of the "Hollywood touch" that Al Chop and Tom Towers openly suggested would have pushed "U.F.O." into the range of high success. Some of the government's better UFO cases of the period could be substituted, too.

The thing is, "U.F.O." wasn't some cheesy alien movie. It was historical fact, destined to become a relic, yet also an artifact consistent with the UFO phenomenon's endurance, and was easily a tribute to the military and government personnel who did their level best to track and solve an enigma which continues to intrigue folks the world over to this very day. UFOs never went away, but "U.F.O." did. Its meaning and place in history and the cinema must not be forgotten.

Unfortunately, so many remakes of old motion pictures fall flat on their face, sometimes because the audience isn't there, and sometimes because the producers, directors, writers or others just don't know what the heck they're doing. But if the right cinematic wizard is out there reading this, I'd say go for it. Remake "U.F.O." Clarify history, remind people everywhere that the late forties and early fifties exposed us to scientific anomalies which persist. Relish the knowledge that this was the last time the U.S. government was so honest and open about UFO evidence. Photographically luxuriate in a presentation of old UFO films that certainly weren't faked during this age of government integrity. Show your generation through the magic of film that there was a moment in time when extraordinary things happened, and government didn't respond instantly with a reflexive cloak of secrecy.

Blast into the past, and maybe, to borrow words from General John A. Samford's famous 1952 press conference, you can do something great on behalf of all those "credible observers of relatively incredible things." -- Robert Barrow, August 2009