johnlink ranks THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD (1951)

This is the inspiration (along with the source novel WHO GOES THERE) which inspired the classic 1982 John Carpenter film THE THING. I had always heard that this was a good flick in its own right, and was happy to see it come up on TCM.

I watched THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD (1951) on 12.15.10. It was my first viewing of the film. TRAILER HERE

One of my favorite classes in film school was on Sci-Fi flicks. I loved learning all about the inspiration and thematic consistencies of the genre. The 50s became the era of ‘the other’, with Americans being pitted against thinly veiled Communists. In films like INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS, we could not tell between ‘us’ and ‘them’, and we had to be careful.

THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD predates that era, very slightly. While Carpenter’s THING is ‘us’, the Thing in this ’51 flick is very much a monster in the the line of The Mummy. He is a giant, unstoppable force.

There to stop him are a team of military guys, as well as a team of scientists. The film is not action packed. It does have a few grandoise moments when the Thing comes pounding through a door, but for the most part it is very dialogue heavy.

This movie does so much with little. It reminds me of PRIMER in the way that it talks about what happens, and doesn’t spend it’s budget showing you flashy things when the acting itself will do.

A great moment in the THING occurs when the team attempts to uncover the flying saucer. We never get to see it, but the description allows us to live vicariously through the characters. When they space out to get the shape of the aircraft, we are privy to a particularly moving shot (shown above), as the team realizes what they have found.

I didn’t recognize any of the actors in this. But there were three solid performances in particular. Margaret Sheridan as the female lead which was born from the noir era or sarcasm and self-sufficiency. Kenneth Tobey as the male lead (and I just saw he was in AIRPLANE! as well!!), and best of all, Robert Cornthwaite as the obsessed scientist, who has the film’s greatest line when he proclaims “There are no enemies in science, only phenomena to be studied.”

Glad I finally found this film. It makes me want to rewatch the Carpenter flick as soon as possible!





~ by johnlink00 on December 15, 2010.

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