The Thing from Another World (1951)
Critic Consensus: As flying saucer movies go, The Thing From Another World is better than most, thanks to well-drawn characters and concise, tense plotting.
The scene is a distant Arctic research station, where a UFO has crashed. The investigating scientists discover that the circular craft has melted its way into the ice, which has frozen up again. While attempting to recover the ship, Captain Patrick Hendry (Kenneth Tobey) accidentally explodes the vessel, but the pilot -- at least, what seems to be the pilot -- remains frozen in a block of ice. The body is taken to base headquarters, where it is inadvertently thawed out by an electric blanket. The alien attacks the soldier guarding him and escapes into the snowy wastes. An attack dog rips off the alien's arm, whereupon Dr. Carrington (Robert Cornthwaite) discerns that "The Thing" (played by future Gunsmoke star James Arness!) is not animal but a member of the carrot family, subsisting on blood. While the misguided Carrington attempts to spawn baby "Things" with the severed arm, the parent creature wreaks murderous havoc all over the base. Female scientist Nikki (Margaret Sheridan) suggests that the best way to destroy a vegetable is to cook it. Over the protests of Carrington, who wants to reason with the "visitor" (a very foolhardy notion, as it turns out), the soldiers devise a devious method for stopping The Thing once and for all. This oversimplification of The Thing does not do full justice to the overall mood and tension of the piece, nor does it convey the lifelike "business as usual" approach taken by the residents of the military base in dealing with something beyond their understanding. A superior blend of science fiction, horror, naturalistic dialogue, and flesh-and-blood characterizations, The Thing is a model of its kind. … More
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as Nikki Nicholson
as Capt. Patrick Hendry
as Dr. Arthur Carringto...
as "The Thing"
as Ned "Scotty" Scott
as Lt. Eddie Dykes
as Lt. MacPherson (Eric...
as Corporal Barnes
as Dr. Stern
as Dr. Chapman
as Mrs. Chapman
as Dr. Redding
as The Thing While Shri...
as Prof. Wilson
as Dr. Laurenz
as Dr. Ambrose
as Gen. Fogarty
as Capt. Smith
as Dr. Maurice Vorrhees
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Critic Reviews for The Thing from Another World
The resourcefulness shown in building the plot groundwork is lacking as the yarn gets into full swing. Cast members, headed by Margaret Sheridan and Kenneth Tobey, fail to communicate any real terror.
The film has more frissons than most of today's mega-budget productions, simply because it has the grace to construct a meaningful situation and coherent characters.
The overall message of The Thing emerges as distinctly hawkish. Reactionary or not, though, it's still a masterpiece.
Even though the thing doesn't begin to make its presence felt till near the halfway point... the simple act of watching men discuss strategy ends up being terrifically absorbing.
Audience Reviews for The Thing from Another World
The legendary director Howard Hawks was both an uncredited co-writer and co-director for this above average B-movie (which has subsequently spawned two re-makes). At the frozen north pole, scientists and the US airforce have found a genuine flying saucer. When the alien is accidentally thawed out, it turns on the people of the camp. Isolated up at the tiny base, and against a creature that can't be harmed or die by traditional means, the humans must figure out a way to survive the invasion of a plant-based creature that requires their blood to reproduce. Really, it's all a metaphor for the "red scare" brewing at the dawn of the cold war. The scientists and the air force officers are seen as being at odds, while the soldiers want to destroy the harmful creature that might doom the entire human race, the "intellectuals" want to study it, preserve it, and even welcome it as a superior life form. Of course, when the menacing creature gets ahold of them, it recognizes neither friend nor foe, but lashes out with impunity. But metaphor or not, there is a creepy vibe that runs throughout the movie. Maybe it's that theremin-heavy soundtrack or maybe it's the feature-less creature itself (played by Gunsmoke's James Arness), an indistinct frankenstein's-monster-from-space that has razor blades for fingertips and grows back limbs as quick as you can lop them off. Or maybe it's the claustrophobic atmosphere that keeps you on your toes, where on a tiny base surrounded by miles of frozen wasteland where no human could survive for very long, the victims are given no chance of escape. From a personal standpoint, John Carpenter's re-make from 1982 is still tops for one of the most frightening movies I'd ever seen as a kid, but for classic 50s sci-fi, The Thing From Another World is a lot of fun. Now, who wants some coffee?
As a group of scientists travel into the arctic regions on a normal investigation, which turns into one of the greatest discoveries in the history of mankind. They find that a UFO has crash landed on their planet and as they find another life form, they intend to bring it back for testing, unaware of what this "thing" truly is. They are now on the run, trying to corner and kill this "thing" and the suspense, even for 1951, is phenomenal. It really makes you believe that they are being chased by something that has never been seen by the naked eye. It's performances are believable, it's score is threatening, it's story is new, and most importantly, "it" is terrifying. "The Thing From Another World" is an absolute triumph for classic horror cinema. Brilliant!
An alien monster is thawed and attacks a group of military officers and scientists in the arctic.
What I like about this classic horror film is the logical process through which the main character solves the problem. There are few "why is she going down the stairs" moments (although the lights are turned out for horrific effect every now and then and the thaw moment is somewhat predicable.
I don't like the way science in portrayed. The scientist character actually says, "The best thing we can do is die and allow future generations to study this thing." Few well-adjusted scientists would actually make this argument, and with the exception of the "thing," the scientist is the villain. Balancing this character is a hawkish hero, which implies that the military response is the best - a highly disagreeable claim.
Overall, The Thing from Another World is a good suspense film, not hokey or over-blown like many from its period.
The Thing from Another World Quotes
|Bob:||What if that thing can read minds?|
|Lt. Eddie Dykes:||He'll be real mad when he gets to me.|
|Capt. Patrick Hendry:||Some day I hope to have a co-pilot and navigator who aren't wet behind the ears.|
|Mrs. Chapman:||Did you remember my hair pins?|
|Nikki Nicholson:||He hasn't slept. I know him and he doesn't think like we do anyway.|
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