I remember seeing that film on tv in early 70's when I was 5 or 6. Can't remember how I was able to see it for my parents would never let me... Gave me nightmares for weeks!View attachment 467548
The Thing from Another World from 1951 with Kenneth Tobey, Margaret Sheridan, Douglas Spencer and Robert Cornthwaite
Today, to fully fully appreciate The Thing from Another World, it helps to understand that the sci-fi/horror-movie genre, at the time, was inchoate. It also helps to understand that era's political and cultural context: the free world had just defeated two empires bent on global domination and a new "Cold War" against another totalitarian nation had just started.
All that "film study" insight is interesting (maybe), but the best thing about The Thing from Another World is you can ignore all the egghead stuff and just enjoy the movie as a ripping good action tale.
Director Christian Nyby and uncredited co-writer and director Howard Hawks packed a lot of sci-fi, philosophy, low-budget special effects, action and, even, romance into this fast-moving ninety-minute picture.
At an Arctic military and scientific-research outpost, a spacecraft is discovered buried in the ice. When an attempt to uncover it destroys the craft, all that is salvaged is one believed-to-be-dead alien. The alien is brought back to the station where it's mistakenly thawed and, then, it goes on the attack.
The rest of the movie is the outpost trying to defend itself from the "monster." It's a perfect setup as the isolation of the base, including spotty radio communication with "headquarters," forces the captain of the small military force and the base's lead scientist to make decisions on the fly.
The military wants to destroy "the monster" as quickly as possible as military men are trained to kill existential threats. The scientists want to find a way to communicate with it as they are trained to spot opportunities to expand mankind's knowledge. It's not a stretch from there to see parallels to the, at the time, aborning Cold War.
As opposed to modern "message" movies, The Thing from Another World presents both sides of the argument quickly and reasonably fairly, which leaves you wanting to study the alien, but you don't want everyone to die trying.
It's a balanced view exposing the complexity of the decision: something today's agenda-driven filmmakers, despite all our modern "sophistication," rarely do.
The special effects - thermite bombs and electricity as weapons - were cool for the time. Today, despite feeling hokey, they also provide a neat look at 1950s technology.
Yet nothing matters in a movie if you don't care about the characters, so Hawks and team created several reasonably engaging ones. The captain of the military force, played by Kenneth Tobey, is in the mold of the square-jawed, courageous leader that ruled moviedom for several decades, but he brings enough self-doubt and modesty to have you rooting for him.
It doesn't hurt that Toby's character is also in the middle of a romance with one of the few women on the team's scientific staff, played by Margaret Sheridan with the smart sexiness you'd expect from a Hollywood-conceived woman working at an Arctic research base.
Her ability to simultaneously convey intelligence and prurience makes you wonder why Sheridan didn't have more of a career in movies.
Rounding out the leads are Douglas Spencer as a war-weary and humorously sarcastic news correspondent trying to get "the greatest story of our time" out to the public and Robert Cornthwaite as the conflicted head of the scientific research program.
The Thing from Another World raises questions of morals and ethics about alien lifeforms that have been debated by sci-fi movies and TV shows ever since, but it never loses sight of its primary mission to entertain.
So while it puts your brain to work a bit, you can also enjoy The Thing From Another World as simply a darn good action-adventure story. You really can't ask more of a sci-fi movie that, while dated in many ways, has also aged pretty well.
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One of the key hints that Hawks had a large hand in the direction is the "overlapping dialogue" between characters. See His Girl Friday for an excellent example.Of course, The Thing From Another World is a mega-classic that I've loved for 50+ years. A couple of quick notes:
The film is based on "Who Goes There?" by John Campbell, a classic 40s SF magazine short story. (Campbell was actually more significant as an editor of those mags - guiding writers like Asimov and Heinlein in their early days - than as an author.) But the later John Carpenter-directed The Thing (1982) is actually a closer adaptation, because it has a shapeshifting alien as in the original story.
I'm old enough to remember the discussions/arguments/evidence that Howard Hawks was the actual director, and that credited-director Christian Nyby was just his film editor. And the film is VERY Hawksian, about a bunch of tough guys in a remote, dangerous situation... plus an equally tough, one-of-the-guys woman. (Very similar to Only Angels Have Wings  and other Hawks films.) In the early 80s, a lot of comparisons were made to how Poltergeist was VERY clearly producer Steven Spielberg's film, despite credited-director Tobe Hooper.
One of the scientists is played by Paul Frees, who made few appearances, but was an absurdly prolific voice actor for decades. His distinctive, familiar voice can be heard in lines like, "It's... round."
The "walking carrot" alien is played by none other than soon-to-be-Gunsmoke star James Arness!
"Watch the skies. Keep watching the skies!"
FF, I just watched it last week. I've never read the novel, so this was my first exposure to the story.
Frankly, I thought the film was a stiff. Mostly miscast, indifferently produced and shot, and largely dramatically inert. Several of these actors, to me, are just too contemporary to believe in a costume drama - including Aykroyd, LaPaglia, and Stoltz. And story wise, it wasn't clear to me exactly how and when Lily Bart broke convention so badly as to be shunned and ruined. That's not good storytelling.
I guess it's not fair to compare it to a masterful adaptation like Scorsese's The Age of Innocence, but I gotta tell you, I'm likely to forget that I even watched this one. It didn't make me want to rush to read the novel either.