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The Thing from Another World (1951)

Unrated  |   |  Horror, Sci-Fi  |  27 April 1951 (USA)
7.3
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 16,919 users  
Reviews: 233 user | 121 critic

Scientists and American Air Force officials fend off a blood-thirsty alien organism while at a remote arctic outpost.

Directors:

, (uncredited)

Writers:

(screenplay), (based on the story "Who Goes There?" by), 2 more credits »
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Title: The Thing from Another World (1951)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Margaret Sheridan ...
Nikki
...
Robert Cornthwaite ...
Douglas Spencer ...
James Young ...
...
Crew Chief Bob
Robert Nichols ...
Lt. Ken 'Mac' MacPherson
William Self ...
...
Sally Creighton ...
...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
...
Captain (unconfirmed)
Ted Cooper ...
Lieutenant (unconfirmed)
Milton Kibbee ...
Bit Part (unconfirmed)
Ray McDonald ...
Bit Part (unconfirmed)
Edit

Storyline

Scientists at an Arctic research station discover a spacecraft buried in the ice. Upon closer examination, they discover the frozen pilot. All hell breaks loose when they take him back to their station and he is accidentally thawed out! Written by KC Hunt <khunt@eng.morgan.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Where did it come from? How did it get here? What is it? Will it destroy us all? Can we escape it? (Newspaper ad). See more »

Genres:

Horror | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

27 April 1951 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Howard Hawks' Production The Thing from Another World  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (re-issue) | (original US 16 mm television syndication prints)

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Veteran stunt man Tom Steele replaced James Arness in the fire scene. Steele wore an asbestos suit with a special fiberglass helmet with an oxygen supply underneath. He used a 100% oxygen supply which was highly combustible. It was pure luck he didn't burn his lungs whilst breathing in the mixture. See more »

Goofs

After Carrington is KO'ed by the Thing, he lays partially on the wooden walkway. He should have also been electrocuted when the juice was turned on. See more »

Quotes

Dr. Arthur Carrington: You're doing more than breaking army orders. You're robbing science of the greatest secrets that ever come to it.
Hendry: You'd better go back, Doctor.
Dr. Arthur Carrington: Knowledge is more important than life, Captain. We've only one excuse for existing - to think, to find out, to learn.
Ned "Scotty" Scott: What can we learn from that thing except a quicker way to die?
Dr. Arthur Carrington: It doesn't matter what happens to us. Nothing counts except for our thinking. We thought our way into nature. We split the atom.
Eddie: Yes, and that sure made the world happy, ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

George Fenneman, who has a speaking part in the film, is not credited or mentioned on this web page. See more »

Connections

References Sergeant York (1941) See more »

Soundtracks

Can't Get Out of This Mood
(uncredited)
Music by Jimmy McHugh
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
The Thing: A classic
23 November 2003 | by (Tokyo, Japan) – See all my reviews

Which version, Hawks or Carpenter? There's a lot of talk about which one is better, etc. I do agree with many that they both are very different films, very different viewing experiences. I love most good sci-fi. Some of 50's sci-fi can be dated after viewing. I do not think The Thing is one of these films which suffers from time . It holds up splendidly. If you like dialogue, you'll love this movie. If you like innuendo, fast paced overlapped dialogue, great characters - and I don't use that word lightly - you'll love this movie.

If you want more suspense, a lot more blood, and a much more gloomy setting, certainly John Carpenter's remake is better in these areas. I own and enjoy viewing both films.

Certainly, the creature in Carpenter's version is much more frightening, and truer to the John Campbell short story from which the story is based. His shape shifting would have been impossible to show in the 50's version with the believability that is possible in today's F/X field.

Carpenter gives us a setting which is darker, colder, and more foreboding. A feeling of hopeless, and nameless dread pervades the camp. Certainly, the notion is clear that this could be the end of all of them, and of the world. There's both a lot less thinking, and a lot more action to be had here in the Carpenter 80's version than in the Hawks' 50's approach.

Hawks, by contrast, created a feeling of "whistling in the dark", which dominates the setting. The characters, and they are many and varied, all have their own particular take on what is happening and what should be done about it. There is a sense of hopeful, "We can do it. We can solve this problem" attitude throughout the entire film. This feeling of "let's keep our heads" is contagious and very quickly the audience finds itself rooting, rather than running.

One more point, and I think it's a big one. The characters in the Howard Hawks' 50's film are all likable, including the "heavy" - the wonderful Dr. Carrington. All the characters are capable, and in many cases, quite resourceful and ingenious. Each, always maintains a humorous, dry wit angle of attack on the situation without resorting to camp or parody seen in most comic film writing today. The military crew members, very quickly in the story, each displays a comical personality ribbing both the captain and the civil service nature of the military with natural ease. As someone once said, a complaining soldier is a happy soldier. So true. This is certainly no "military has all the answers" flick. The mistakes they make are roundly criticized by all in attendance, including the co-pilot's not so subtle comment about the splitting of the atom, "yeah, and that sure made the world happy, didn't it?" (laughter). Add to that, Ned Scott the newspaper man, and you've got a non-scientist, non-military chronicler character to round out the story, and give the audience someone with comparable skepticism about what to do next. Ned is the outsider who is now, like us, on the inside.

The John Carpenter version, by comparison, has mostly losers populating the story, I have to say. From the camp leader, Gary, on down to the radio operator, Windows, most of the characters seem more suited as inmates in a minimum security prison than manning a research science station. (maybe a reflection of the lack of students going into the field of science in recent years? (chuckle) And to make the point even more ironic, there is no military, the usual scapegoats, in the Carpenter version. (Gary, as leader, carries the gun, and we assume has some military/policing role, though it is never made clear in the film.) These are all scientists with the exception of the helicopter pilot, played by Kurt Russell, who seems to be the only clear thinking member of the entire bunch. Why none of the actual scientists approach the problem as clearly, and logically as the rogue washed-up helicopter pilot is also a mystery and in large part, a flaw.

In Hawks' version, Captain Hendry solicits advice from all in attendance, frequently asking the scientists and his crew technical questions for which he has no background to answer. This also gives the non technical audience member another "way in" to the technical side of things. (no pun intended)

Why Carpenter chose to have most of the characters unredeeming, lazy, and in most cases, quite stupid and ill behaving, is a mystery. I find the characters in the Hawks version much more true to life.

With all that said, I enjoy both films, each for their strengths and for their weaknesses. If you want blood and gore, more realistic sets, and are not discouraged by fairly shallow characters, the Carpenter version is for you.

If you want fast paced dialogue, memorable characters, and you enjoy a "can-do" attitude in dreadful circumstances, all done with a minimum of visible gore, then Hawks' The Thing awaits you.

humbleservant


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