The film was one of the last films to use the three-stripTechnicolor filming process.Even during production, the film's special effects were shot on the more conventionalEastman color process,which most studios had already adopted.
Dr. Cal Meacham, a noted scientist, receives an unusual substitute for electroniccondensersthat he ordered. Instead, he receives instructions and parts to build acomplex communication device called aninterocitor .Although neither Meacham nor his assistant Joe Wilson have heard of the device, they immediately begin construction.When finished, a mysterious man named Exeter appears on the interocitor's screen and
tells Meacham he has passed the test. His ability to build the interocitor demonstratesthat he is gifted enough to be part of Exeter's special research project.Intrigued, Meacham is picked up the next day at the airport by an unmanned, computer-controlledDouglas DC-3aircraft with no windows. Landing in a remote area of Georgia, he finds an international group of top-flight scientists already present
including an old flame, Dr. Ruth Adams. Cal is almost immediately suspicious of theodd-looking group of men leading the project.Cal and Ruth flee with a third scientist, Steve Carlson (Johnson), but their car isattacked and Carlson is killed. When they take off in asmall plane,Cal and Ruth watchas the facility and all its inhabitants are incinerated, and their plane is drawn by a bright beam into aflying saucer .They learn that Exeter and his group are from the planetMetaluna, having come toEarthseeking uranium deposits as well as scientists to helpdefend their planet in a war against the Zagons. Exeter informs the Earthlings that he istaking them back to his world. Exeter and the Metalunans are attacked by Zagon star ships, carrying meteors, to be used to destroy them and Metaluna. The Metalunansaucer easily avoids each attack, dodging the oncoming meteors.They arrive to find the planet under bombardment and falling quickly to the enemy.Metalunan society is breaking down and there is little hope. Their leader, The Monitor,reveals that the Metalunans intend to relocate to Earth and insists that Meacham andAdams be subjected to a Thought Transference Chamber in order to subjugate their freewill so they cannot object. Exeter believes this is immoral and misguided since itimpedes their ability to help the Metalunans. Before they can enter the brain-reprogramming device, Exeter decides to help Cal and Ruth escape.Exeter is badly injured by a Mutant while the three escape from Metaluna just before itis destroyed. The Mutant also boards the craft, but dies as a result of pressuredifferences on the journey back to Earth.As they enter Earth's atmosphere, Exeter sends Cal and Ruth on their way in their small plane, but he himself is dying and the ship's energy is nearly depleted. With no other options, Exeter flies out to sea and crashes.