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The Thing from Another World (1951)

Not Rated | | Horror, Sci-Fi | 22 July 1951 (Brazil)
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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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Popularity
1,181 ( 2,708)
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
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:

WHAT IS IT? (original print ad - all caps) 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:

22 July 1951 (Brazil) See more »

Also Known As:

The Thing See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,600,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$4,251,000, 31 December 1951
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

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

Howard Hawks asked the U.S. Air Force for assistance in making the film. He was refused, because the top brass felt that such cooperation would compromise the U.S. government's official stance that U.F.O.s didn't exist. See more »

Goofs

Early in the film airman Barnes is referred to as Corporal. Toward the middle of the film, he is called Sergeant. See more »

Quotes

Dr. Arthur Carrington: You're acting like frightened children.
Hendry: You're right, Doctor... I am frightened.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Alternate Versions

The original 16mm U.S. television syndication prints were a slightly abridged 85 minute version. About 1980, when Turner acquired the RKO library, the syndication prints were replaced with the 79 minute re-release version. This shorter re-release version was also used for the initial video and laserdisc releases as well as the pay-tv and "colorized" versions. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Duck Dodgers in the 24½th Century (1953) See more »

Soundtracks

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

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Rhythmic masterpiece of sci-fi
3 November 2004 | by jaywolfenstienSee all my reviews

Let me get my two (minor) complaints out of the way first: the attempt to get the UFO out of the ice felt rushed (as in the filmmakers wanted to get to the rest of the film) because I saw the result coming a mile away . . . it just felt soulless and obligatory. Second, the scientist Dr Carrington, rubbed up with the 'mad scientist in pursuit of knowledge risking everyone's life' cliché a bit too much for me . . . and I was trying to be forgiving since this was 50 years ago and far less cliché then.

All right, now . . . I have to say, I loved The Thing from Another World. I loved the dialogue in this movie. It's been a long long (Jesus Christ, a loooong) time since I had this much fun listening to exposition. Yes, exposition. The obligatory plot details that no one cares about that some poor sap spells out? Yes, that exposition! Thing from Another World actually gains momentum with its exposition whereas your typical film slows down and comes to a screeching halt for it.

Nyby spreads the exposition across about half a dozen characters, and they have real conversation with overlapping, quick fire, back and forth, dialogue, and in brief instances multiple conversations going at the same time. The result? Five minutes of exposition becomes one minute of exposition. Will the audience catch every single detail of their plan? No, but the audience doesn't need to either. Thank you Howard Hawks!

Lace this exposition with characterization, inside jokes amongst characters, hints at their history together, and friendly pranks, and The Thing from Another World not only knocks out exposition with one blow, but develops their characters simultaneously, yielding a wonderfully complex and realistic relationship between the characters and plot. No spot light and overdone Shakespearian aside with melodramatic boo-hoo backstory that brings elicits yawns and groans, no little nerd with all the answers getting to explain everything while everyone asks stupid questions--nope--the Thing from Another World is above that drivel.

Nyby and Hawks sold me on the characters from the get go, placing emphasis on how they introduce the characters and not so much in what their character backstory is. I salute the filmmakers for this decision, and in response was more than willing to suspend my disbelief for the sake of the film's needs.

Follow it up with well lit and well staged action sequences--the fire scene was perhaps one of the most beautiful and glorious moments caught by b/w photography--and the Thing from Another World delivers with all its 1950s charms. I'll take a film with narrow corridors and electrodes over all out war with CGI bugs/machines any day of the week.


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