Friday, April 18, 2014

Physicist Disturbed by Movie

Somewhere along this very long cinematic journey, we mentioned that a rare copy of the Great Britain press book for "U.F.O." dropped into our hands (well, that is, after I paid handsomely for it many years ago), and its appearance surpassed the more readily available American version.  In fact, we were able to extract and scan a considerable amount of information for this blog from the English press book.

Because the two press books evidenced subtle differences, maybe audience reactions reported by the press in each country could be expected to differ as well -- and, at least in this instance, one did.  Having had an opportunity to read numerous reviews, particularly from the USA, regarding the film's 1956 premiere, I noticed that some were polite, others relentlessly negative and still others showered praise upon the new movie in town.

However, I don't recall an American review quite like that offered by England's New Scientist of November 22, 1956, in which a staff physicist for the publication admits being (with my apologies to James Bond fans) shaken more than stirred following a session at a London movie theater.  Like every good skeptical scientist, the unnamed physicist found reasons to attack the film's uninspiring "blah" aspect (read as:  the acting and progression sucked) in depth -- but then, as imparted by the writer quoting his impression:  "And yet it is uncomfortably convincing."

Apparently drawing upon press book material, as the review briefly spreads out details about the famous 1952 Washington, D.C. UFO pursuit and the Montana and Utah UFO films, the New Scientist article also manages to throw in a little commentary disparaging the British Air Ministry's negative attitude about the UFO phenomenon.  The B.A.M. may not be impressed publicly with UFOs in the fifties, "however," states the writer, "Unidentified Flying Objects revives doubts."

The very existence of this little piece from a scientific publication which dares to admit a staff physicist's mental shape-shift regarding UFOs -- in the 1950s yet, when the mere thought of a scientist taking "flying saucers" seriously could elicit potential career-killing ridicule -- causes us to wonder how many other scientists throughout the world were impressed by Clarence Greene and Russell Rouse's movie -- though remaining so in utter silence.  Forever.

(Author Barry Greenwood, recent contributor to the monumentally documented and impressive volume, UFOs and Government:  A Historical Inquiry, kindly passed the New Scientist gem along for today's entry.)