The Thing from Another World (1951)

Article #656 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing date: 12-31-2002
Posting date: 5-30-2003

An alien spaceship crash lands in the arctic regions, and scientists recover the body of one of the residents. However, the resident is not dead…

Despite the director credit to Christian Nyby, it is commonly believed the real director of this movie is Howard Hawks, and I fully believe this to be the case; however, I do think it’s a bit of a shame that one of that director’s only forays into fantastic cinema isn’t officially credited to him. If there’s any one thing I love about this movie, it’s how the rapid-fire dialogue keeps things moving even in scenes where there is little plot development; the wit and cameraderie behind the dialogue is enough to hold your attention. It also knows how to build suspense; characters deep into important conversations are repeatedly interrupted by news of new developments or hints of an imminent attack by the alien in much the same way these things might happen in real life. There are some wonderful performances here, particularly from Kenneth Tobey, Robert Cornthwaite, and Douglas Spencer. Quite frankly, I could blather on endlessly about how much I love this movie, so I’ll just list some of my favorite moments: the scene where the men on the ice figure out the shape of the spacecraft, the unexpected and jarring appearance of the alien at the door, the scene where Carrington shows the scientists the result of his planting the seeds, and the discovery that the temperature is going down in the base that is mistaken by the reporter for a slur on his breath. For me, there is no alien invasion movie that I have loved as well as this one.

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