The Bamboo Saucer (1968)

G | 100 mins | Science fiction | January 1968

Director:

Frank Telford

Writer:

Frank Telford

Producer:

Jerry Fairbanks

Cinematographer:

Hal Mohr

Production Designer:

Theobold Holsopple
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HISTORY

Producer Jerry Fairbanks was quoted in an 11 Apr 1966 DV article, stating that the script for Project Saucer was originally written by Rip Van Ronkel “over a decade ago when flying saucers first became the rage in the U.S.” Fairbanks had recently enlisted director Frank Telford and “a new team of writers” to update the screenplay, and had made a deal with Miguel Tudela of Producciones Dia to film the picture in Spain, beginning in late May 1966. Rudy Medina of National Telefilm Associates (NTA), who had previous experience with Spanish co-productions, was hired to work on the film, and, per the co-production agreement, Fairbanks promised to pay for special effects shooting in Hollywood, CA, as well as deliver the script, writer-director Frank Telford, two American movie stars, and special effects man John Fulton. Six weeks of production were scheduled to take place at an abandoned monastery in the Guadarrama Mountains.
       The 27 May 1966 DV reported that Fairbanks and NTA’s chief, Bernard Tabakin, were firming a distribution deal. The project was referred to in the 2 Jun 1966 DV as an “Spanish-Italo” coproduction; however, four months later, a 5 Oct 1966 DV item announced that Fairbanks had decided to shoot entirely in Hollywood, after striking deals with several unions that would allow him to make the film for the same low cost he would have achieved in Spain. Shooting was scheduled to be done on the Producers Studio lot (which would later become Raleigh Studios), with principal photography slated to begin on 26 Sep 1966. A 14 Oct 1966 DV production chart confirmed that ... More Less

Producer Jerry Fairbanks was quoted in an 11 Apr 1966 DV article, stating that the script for Project Saucer was originally written by Rip Van Ronkel “over a decade ago when flying saucers first became the rage in the U.S.” Fairbanks had recently enlisted director Frank Telford and “a new team of writers” to update the screenplay, and had made a deal with Miguel Tudela of Producciones Dia to film the picture in Spain, beginning in late May 1966. Rudy Medina of National Telefilm Associates (NTA), who had previous experience with Spanish co-productions, was hired to work on the film, and, per the co-production agreement, Fairbanks promised to pay for special effects shooting in Hollywood, CA, as well as deliver the script, writer-director Frank Telford, two American movie stars, and special effects man John Fulton. Six weeks of production were scheduled to take place at an abandoned monastery in the Guadarrama Mountains.
       The 27 May 1966 DV reported that Fairbanks and NTA’s chief, Bernard Tabakin, were firming a distribution deal. The project was referred to in the 2 Jun 1966 DV as an “Spanish-Italo” coproduction; however, four months later, a 5 Oct 1966 DV item announced that Fairbanks had decided to shoot entirely in Hollywood, after striking deals with several unions that would allow him to make the film for the same low cost he would have achieved in Spain. Shooting was scheduled to be done on the Producers Studio lot (which would later become Raleigh Studios), with principal photography slated to begin on 26 Sep 1966. A 14 Oct 1966 DV production chart confirmed that starting date, and referred to the film by the working title Operation Blue Book.
       A final title change to The Bamboo Saucer was indicated in a 15 Nov 1967 LAT brief, which noted that theatrical distribution would be handled by NTA subsidiary World Entertainment Corp. The picture opened in Providence, RI, the week of 30 Jan 1968, according to a 31 Jan 1968 DV article, and reportedly grossed only $2,000 in its first week there. World Entertainment Corp.’s Irving Sochin contested that figure in the 7 Feb 1968 Var, asserting that the picture had grossed more than $2,000 in its first weekend alone. The film continued to open regionally, and was reviewed in the 29 Oct 1968 DV.
       Richard Egan was cast in the picture, according to the 2 Jun 1966 DV. Items in the 28 Sep 1966 and 4 Oct 1966 issues of DV also named Ron Stokes and Frank Gerstle as cast members.
       On 1 Jul 1966, in the midst of pre-production, writer and special effects man John Fulton died of a blood condition, as stated in his 7 Jul 1966 DV obituary. The Bamboo Saucer also marked the final feature film role for Dan Duryea, who died of cancer on 7 Jun 1968. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
11 Apr 1966
p. 2.
Daily Variety
27 May 1966
p. 16.
Daily Variety
1 Jun 1966
p. 2.
Daily Variety
2 Jun 1966
p. 1.
Daily Variety
7 Jul 1966
p. 11.
Daily Variety
13 Sep 1966
p. 3.
Daily Variety
28 Sep 1966
p. 4.
Daily Variety
4 Oct 1966
p. 4.
Daily Variety
5 Oct 1966
p. 1, 14.
Daily Variety
14 Oct 1966
p. 13.
Daily Variety
10 Jun 1968
p. 11.
Daily Variety
29 Oct 1968
p. 11.
Los Angeles Times
15 Nov 1967
Section D, p. 15.
New York Times
8 Jun 1968
p. 31.
Variety
13 Apr 1966
p. 27.
Variety
31 Jan 1968
p. 9.
Variety
7 Feb 1968
p. 9.
Variety
13 Mar 1968
p. 19.
Variety
30 Oct 1968
p. 10.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Jerry Fairbanks Production
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITERS
Based on an orig story by
Based on an orig story by
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Set lighting
ART DIRECTOR
FILM EDITOR
MUSIC
SOUND
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Spec eff
Extra eff
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
Unit mgr
Tech cons
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Collision Course
Operation Blue Book
Project Saucer
Release Date:
January 1968
Premiere Information:
Providence, RI, opening: week of 30 January 1968
Boston opening: 23 October 1968
Production Date:
began 26 September 1966
Copyright Claimant:
Harris Associates
Copyright Date:
23 October 1968
Copyright Number:
LP36579
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
De Luxe
Duration(in mins):
100
MPAA Rating:
G
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
21552
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Fred Norwood is attacked by an unidentified flying object while flying an experimental supersonic jet. He escapes but is fired by the president of the aircraft company for foolishly endangering his plane. Determined to validate his story, Norwood rents a small jet and enlists the aid of his brother-in-law, Joe Vetry, to fly it; but after spotting the UFO by radar and taking pursuit, Vetry crashes and disappears. Hank Peters, a U.S. Secret Service official, shows Norwood a sketch of a craft drawn by a peasant in a remote area of mainland China. Assured by Norwood that the craft could be the same as the UFO he saw, Peters asks Norwood and two technicians, Garson and Ephram, to join him on a mission to find the mysterious object. After parachuting into mountainous Chinese terrain, the men encounter a Russian group--led by Dubovsky and including scientist Anna Karachev--on an identical mission. Agreeing that their best interests will be served by joining together, the two groups locate the UFO in the ruins of a church and, after some discouraging attempts, discover how to enter the craft. Dubovsky at first attempts to achieve glory exclusively for Russia by holding the Americans prisoner and flying the object with his own men; but when it is discovered that Chinese Communist soldiers are about to attack them, the two parties remain together to resist their common enemy. In the battle that follows, everyone except Norwood, Anna, and Garson is killed. The three survivors manage to escape from the Chinese and head for Geneva in the UFO, hoping that their discovery will be beneficial to ... +


Fred Norwood is attacked by an unidentified flying object while flying an experimental supersonic jet. He escapes but is fired by the president of the aircraft company for foolishly endangering his plane. Determined to validate his story, Norwood rents a small jet and enlists the aid of his brother-in-law, Joe Vetry, to fly it; but after spotting the UFO by radar and taking pursuit, Vetry crashes and disappears. Hank Peters, a U.S. Secret Service official, shows Norwood a sketch of a craft drawn by a peasant in a remote area of mainland China. Assured by Norwood that the craft could be the same as the UFO he saw, Peters asks Norwood and two technicians, Garson and Ephram, to join him on a mission to find the mysterious object. After parachuting into mountainous Chinese terrain, the men encounter a Russian group--led by Dubovsky and including scientist Anna Karachev--on an identical mission. Agreeing that their best interests will be served by joining together, the two groups locate the UFO in the ruins of a church and, after some discouraging attempts, discover how to enter the craft. Dubovsky at first attempts to achieve glory exclusively for Russia by holding the Americans prisoner and flying the object with his own men; but when it is discovered that Chinese Communist soldiers are about to attack them, the two parties remain together to resist their common enemy. In the battle that follows, everyone except Norwood, Anna, and Garson is killed. The three survivors manage to escape from the Chinese and head for Geneva in the UFO, hoping that their discovery will be beneficial to mankind. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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