The Thing from Another World (1951)
Director: Christian Nyby
Writers: Charles Lederer, Howard Hawks, Ben Hecht
Starring: Kenneth Toby, Robert Cornthwaite, James Arness
Reviewed by: Klash
An adaptation of the short story titled “Who Goes There?” written by John W. Campbell, ‘The Thing from Another World’ brought to the screen a story of survival, pitting men of science and war against a foe whose origins are alien to this planet.
When a group of American scientists assigned to a research facility at the North Pole send message of a downed aircraft, the military deploys Air Force Captain Patrick Hendry and his crew to further investigate the incident. Accompanied to the crash site by a group of scientists led by head researcher Dr. Carrington, what Captain Hendry and the men find is unlike any aircraft they have ever encountered, as buried under the ice is what appears to be an alien space ship and the pilot.
While unsuccessful in their attempts to free the alien ship from the ice, the men are able to carve out a large block of ice encasing the pilot’s body. Transporting their frozen visitor back to the outpost the alien being is immediately quarantined and placed in cold storage per the order of Cpt. Hendry, despite Dr. Carrington’s demands to immediately start his research.
After having put into effect a rotating guard shift while awaiting further orders from command headquarters, Cpt. Hendry, Dr. Carrington and the rest of the men continue their normal routines, all of them unaware of the terror that will soon befall the outpost as it’s about to warm up.
Having read the story this film is based on, I think the transition worked well and created an entertaining viewing experience. And while some of the story’s details were slightly altered, whether or not the viewer is familiar with Campbell’s work these changes don’t seem to create any issues with how the film progresses.
As a whole I also thought the acting was well done. Not during any point in the film did it appear as though an actor was either sleep walking through their scenes, or providing a performance that was completely outrageous or dialed in. I particularly liked the performance by Robert Cornthwaite who played Dr. Carrington. Creating a character that was intelligent, smug, egotistical and brash, Cornthwaite had me disliking the doctor halfway through the film.
Filmed in several locations that included a sound stage, a cold storage unit and a back lot all located in California, a National Park in Montana and finally a non specific part of North Dakota, the movie completes the task of creating a believable setting that takes place in the sub zero region of the North Pole.
And as for the minimal amount of special effects that appear to be used during the making of this film, this can be attributed to the technology that was available at the time. And while I enjoy the special effects that allow actors to perform incredible feats no human could ever dream of accomplishing, it’s a nice change of pace to watch a film such as this one that requires the use of an imagination.
So would I recommend this film? If you like sci-fi and don’t mind a film that is a little campy at times, then I think taking an hour and a half out of your day to view this film is worth it. Additionally if your a fan of director John Carpenter’s 1982 film ‘The Thing’, this 1951 classic was apparently the inspiration for Carpenter’s adaption.
Rating: 2 Guys