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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD...the title conjures up lurid images from the countless 'B' SciFi flicks of the 50s, but as many SF, Howard Hawks, and Classic Cinema fans can attest, this is no sleazy schlockfest, but one of the most entertaining and exciting films ever made, by one of Hollywood's greatest directors.
Yes, the credits list Christian Nyby as director, but Howard Hawks was on the set nearly every day, each scene has elements of style unique to Hawks, alone, and even the cast members, when interviewed, have said Hawks ran the entire show. Perhaps, as Science Fiction films were not highly regarded in the early 50s, he felt his reputation might suffer if he acknowledged his contribution; perhaps he thought it might help Nyby's credentials if he were given credit for this masterfully crafted tale. Who knows? But rest assured...this IS a Howard Hawks film!
The story, based on John Campbell's short story, 'Who Goes There?', is a nifty, claustrophobic tale of a group of soldiers and scientists in the Arctic, discovering a giant 'flying saucer' under the ice. When the ship blows up during the excavation, the 'pilot', a huge green chlorophyll-based humanoid (played by a young James Arness), is recovered, frozen in a block of ice. Bringing the ice-encased figure back to the base, it is then accidentally thawed out...and all Hell brakes loose!
While the cast lacks big-name stars, each actor is wonderful, delivering wryly funny Hawks' dialogue at a breakneck pace. The military commander, Capt. Hendry (Kenneth Tobey), is a no-nonsense boss, respected and lovingly chided by his men, led by Dewey Martin, who constantly try to 'set him up' with a pretty scientist he had 'struck out' with, on leave in Anchorage (Margaret Sheridan). She is now at the base, assisting brilliant yet blissfully naive Dr. Arthur Carrington (Robert Cornthwaite), who, naturally, assumes 'the Thing' is only homicidal because he is misunderstood! As the truly frightening potential of the creature reveals itself, it becomes a race against time to destroy it, before it kills everyone, leaves the base, and reproduces countless seedlings of itself to conquer the world!
The FX are low-budget, but very effective, as is the extensive use of light and shadow, sound effects, and an eerie Dimitri Tiomkin score. Unlike the benevolent 'visitors' of THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL, this alien doesn't warn of total annihilation as the final option, should we carry our nuclear weapons into space; it's ONLY agenda is to kill!
This is a truly amazing film, one that has aged little, and is every bit as enjoyable today as when it was released.
As the tag line to the film warns us, "Look to the sky..."
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