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The Thing from Another World (1951)

Not Rated | | Horror, Sci-Fi | 7 April 1951 (USA)
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ON DISC
Scientists and American Air Force officials fend off a bloodthirsty alien organism while at a remote arctic outpost.

Directors:

Christian Nyby, Howard Hawks (uncredited)

Writers:

Charles Lederer (screenplay), John W. Campbell Jr. (based on the story "Who Goes There?" by)
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4,610 ( 293)
1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Margaret Sheridan ... Nikki Nicholson
Kenneth Tobey ... Capt. Patrick Hendry
Robert Cornthwaite ... Dr. Arthur Carrington
Douglas Spencer ... Ned Scott
James Young ... Lt. Eddie Dykes
Dewey Martin ... Crew Chief Bob
Robert Nichols Robert Nichols ... Lt. Ken Erickson / Lt. Ken (Mac) MacPherson
William Self William Self ... Cpl. Barnes
Eduard Franz ... Dr. Stern
Sally Creighton Sally Creighton ... Mrs. Chapman
James Arness ... 'The Thing'
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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:

No One In This World Can Match The Menace Of "The Thing" (1957 re-release) See more »

Genres:

Horror | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

7 April 1951 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Thing See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,600,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

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

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

(At about fifty-five minutes) There's a long shot of the camp with the nose of the C-47 in the foreground. You can see engine warmers attached by hoses, and emblazoned on the nose of the plane is a hula dancer and the name "Tropical Tilly", an irony for an Alaska-based aircraft. See more »

Goofs

As the flying saucer explodes, the camera tilts up to follow the blast, revealing the top of the Arctic backdrop built around the set. See more »

Quotes

[referring to McPherson's gun]
Ned "Scotty" Scott: You sure you know how to use that thing?
Lt. Ken McPherson: I saw Gary Cooper in "Sergeant York."
See more »

Crazy Credits

Only technical and production credits precede the film, no acting credits. See more »

Alternate Versions

There is a version which shows Dr. Carrington wandering through his "nursery" of baby "things" on his way to the generator to shut it down as the others prepare to fry the creature. The "things" have grown to a height of over 12 inches. See more »


Soundtracks

The Dying Cowboy aka Bury Me Not on the Lone Prairie
(uncredited)
Traditional
Portion whistled by William Self
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Classic despite the message
7 December 2002 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

In a remote arctic location, a military unit gets a call from a research unit to come and investigate a reported plane crash. On arrival the unit travel out to the site to find that the plane is actually a disk shaped craft of unidentified metal. However, on trying to remove it from the ice they destroy the craft but salvage it's frozen pilot. Back at base the `thing' defrosts with violent results and the survivors are faced with destroying man's only contact with alien life or being destroyed themselves.

Like many people (I assume) I saw the 80's remake before I saw the original, so I came to it with an idea already formed about what the `thing' meant to me. So it was good to step back to the original and see what made this film stand out from a raft of `reds in the bed' type sci-fi's that were around at the time. The plot is intelligent and interesting enough to sustain interest despite the fact that direct conflict with the thing is limited to a few key scenes. The tension is helped by the thing being sufficiently unseen to create a sense of unknown menace and the shadows are well placed.

The action can't compare to the remake in terms of effects, but it is well staged. As I just said, the limited view of the alien we have means it doesn't lose impact due to poor effects. One scene in particular is very good – the fire scene in the room. It is dramatic and well staged for maximum effect. If the film does have a weakness it is that it is a Hawks film. Most of his touches are good – the romantic banter, the group theme – but for me his political view was a tad heavy.

In many sci-fi's we see the aliens come to earth in peace and it is only mankind's own violence that puts us at risk. Here mankind attacks any alien immediately without any idea of peace or preserving the specimen. The only character who puts this line forward is made to look weak and foolish compared to the rest. No, Hawks is no dove! His line is that any outsiders must e treated with fear and dealt with as strongly as required. I don't agree with this line of reasoning so it took away from the film for me, but the rest of it was very enjoyable.

The acting is top rate – a mix of banter and B-movie, strong jawed American heroes! Overall this may be seen as dull or slow for the generation that has grown up on Kurt Russell freezing in the final scene but it is a classic in it's own right and is a much more accomplished piece of work for my money. Despite some weaknesses in Hawks personal beliefs this is a atmospheric and tense piece of sci-fi.


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