Monday, 24 October 2011

Ucan Daireler Istanbulda -1955 - Starring Orhan Ercin and Zafer Onen - Film Review

Ucan Daireler Istanbulda or Flying Saucers Over Istanbul is a film that less then a year ago was thought to have been lost forever but miraculously it appeared out of nowhere and then screened on Turkish MTV. Furthermore according to some reliable sources, there are plans of a dvd release in the works by the Turkish cult dvd label Horizon International, which is a subsidiary label to the Fanatik video brand. Well let's get on with the movie review then.
Flying Saucers Over Istanbul was made in the year 1955 by director, writer and star Orhan Ercin. Orhan Ercin plays a character called Sapsal (Silly) who is one half of a bumbling comedy duo with the other half being Zafer Onen who plays a character called Kasar (named after the cheese with the same name?). The duo are similar in style to a Turkish version of Abbott and Costello or perhaps comparable to an early Martin and Lewis or maybe even a combination of the two.
Sapsal is the straight man who in appearance is a little bit like Metin Akpinar. Whilst on the other hand Kashar is a poor shell of a man who stutters and stammers consistently and fouls up everything the duo set out to accomplish. Kasar also wears a giant camera around his neck for more than half the film. The camera is a very laughable low-budget prop obviously made from cardboard with odds and ends stuck together and painted silver and black.
The film begins at a nightclub, where our two bumbling reporters are covering the club's opening night. On stage there's an attractive lady performing a belly dance number in front of a large white malformed statue of a naked man without a pippy. The club is run by a group of old and ugly women who are rich, retired and without husbands. They put on a rauchy belly dancing show staged nightly to attract unsuspecting males and potential husbands for the lonely old ladies to entice with their money and wealth into marriage or companionship.
Later, the reporters are at the headquarters of their newspaper where they try to smooth talk their boss' secretary. The editor walks in and gives them a talking down to, for not covering incidents of UFO sightings all across Istanbul instead of chasing skirts and hanging out at night clubs.
Afterwards, they follow up some leads and tresspass into the premises of a scientific research centre which has a giant telescope with very old white bearded scientists who are tracking the ufos with their scientific equipment. After the scientists leave, our boys take over the electronic equipment and unwittingly direct the flying saucer to land nearby. In flight the saucer resembles a giant round aluminium pie pan with fireworks and sparklers attached to it and guided presumably with some fishing line. The landed flying saucer's hatch opens and a giant box-like silver robot walks out. The robot is obviously made from cardbord and perhaps panels of wood spray painted to look like metal with a few light bulbs here and there. Next a bevvy of Amazonian like space ladies appear from the spacecraft. Some of them are attractive and some of them look like those tough women from a roller derby team. They carry laser pistols that glow at the tip when fired. Sapsal and Kasar are captured by the alien ladies who are in search of men to possibly repopulate their planet which turns out to be Mars.This flick is similar in plot to those American sci-fi comedy films like Abbott and Costello Go To Mars, Plan 9 from Outer Space, Cat Women From The Moon, Queen Of Outer Space, or the later Mars Needs Women but in reverse. Anyway, our dim-witted reporters are taken inside the flying saucer with Martian women vying for the two mens' affections. The two convince the space women that they can find male partners for them all by selling a youth elixir that the women have bought with them from Mars. Next, through a viewing monitor on board the spacecraft they see the goings on at the nightclub mentioned earlier. The television monitor is in fact a picture frame the movie camera shoots through to make it look like a screen. A very similar low-budget effect was used in the superhero film by Cetin Inanc called 'Iron Claw, The Pirate', which is currently available from Onar Films.

Meanwhile, Sapsal and Kasar are back at the lonely old ladies strip club, where there's more hi-jinx instore as their youth elixir is taken away from them after they sell it to nearly everyone in the club. They are branded as charlatans by the club's clientele and are attacked by an angry mob who demand their youth potion. To appease the mob, the two men promise to get more youth elixir from their suppliers onboard the flying saucer. The frustrated women onboard the spaceship feel betrayed when the misguided pair return without any male companions for them . The reporters are forced into a cubicle and are tortured with heavy doses of electricity. They are then freed by one of the female crew who turns her raygun on her unsuspecting shipmates by zapping them to sleep. The somewhat hard to follow story continues on with more dancing by Earthbound and Martian women alike, a musical number and some slapstick routines are also featured with Kasar losing his elixir cannister at the club and crawling under tables and causing mayhem. He also puts on a fake pair of glasses with a rubber nose and has a raki drink-off with one of the club's drinkers who is impervious to getting drunk. After all this, a Turkish Marilyn Monroe lookalike called 'Mirelle Monro' flirts with the men at the club and then does a wild dance routine on stage as she clones herself whilst dancing to an oriental jazz tune. Finally, the space maidens arrive at the club and freeze everyone with their laser pistols and take Sapsal and Kasar away with them to Mars in their flying saucer. The End.
About the Soundtrack of the Movie; most of the music is by the Metin Bukey Orchestra which includes the famous Turkish clarinet player Mustafa Kandirali. Also there's a  musical number by Nuran Ercin.
All in all, Flying Saucers Over Istanbul is not what you would call a great science-fiction classic but it's still an enjoyable film to watch. It has a bit of everything, ie. comedy (but not always funny), Ala-Turka and oriental music, belly dancing, semi-naked ladies and laughable primitive sci-fi effects. This film was obviously geared more towards Turkish men who wanted to see a bit of Turkish cheesecake, at a time when this sort of thing must've seemed a bit morally bankrupt. Nothing like this was filmed in Australia or in many other countries in 1955. One last thing, a collectable note pad has been made available recently with the original film poster of Ucan Daireler Istanbulda on it's cover.  

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