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The Thing (1951)

Cast: Bob Morgan, Bob Morgan, Tom Steele, more...
Director: Christian Nyby, Christian Nyby
    see all cast/crew...
Rating: Not Rated
Studio: Warner Home Video
Genre: Classics, Horror, Science Fiction , Classic Sci-Fi, Aliens, Killer Critters, Classic Sci Fi/Fantasy, Classic Fantasy
Running Time: 87 min.
Languages: English
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
    see additional details...

The scene is a distant Arctic research station, where a UFO has crashed. The investigating scientists discover that the circular craft has melted its way into the ice, which has frozen up again. While attempting to recover the ship, Captain Patrick Hendry (Kenneth Tobey) accidentally explodes the vessel, but the pilot -- at least, what seems to be the pilot -- remains frozen in a block of ice. The body is taken to base headquarters, where it is inadvertently thawed out by an electric blanket. The alien attacks the soldier guarding him and escapes into the snowy wastes. An attack dog rips off the alien's arm, whereupon Dr. Carrington (Robert Cornthwaite) discerns that "The Thing" (played by future Gunsmoke star James Arness!) is not animal but a member of the carrot family, subsisting on blood. While the misguided Carrington attempts to spawn baby "Things" with the severed arm, the parent creature wreaks murderous havoc all over the base. Female scientist Nikki (Margaret Sheridan) suggests that the best way to destroy a vegetable is to cook it. Over the protests of Carrington, who wants to reason with the "visitor" (a very foolhardy notion, as it turns out), the soldiers devise a devious method for stopping The Thing once and for all. This oversimplification of The Thing does not do full justice to the overall mood and tension of the piece, nor does it convey the lifelike "business as usual" approach taken by the residents of the military base in dealing with something beyond their understanding. A superior blend of science fiction, horror, naturalistic dialogue, and flesh-and-blood characterizations, The Thing is a model of its kind. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

Excellent script makes this one worthwhile by Brockton January 31, 2004 - 8:25 AM PST
1 out of 1 members found this review helpful
If you're looking for a flashy monster, such as the one in the John Carpenter remake, forget it. This paranoid thriller actually works best when you don't see the monster. Good black and white cinematography and snappy dialog is what makes The Thing worthwhile. This is a textbook example of the clash between pure science and the needs of society (in this case, a military officer struggling to keep everybody alive, and possibly save the world). I will admit it fizzles during the last ten minutes, but I'd call this a must for anyone who enjoyed the original Invasion of the Body Snatchers (my rating: 10) or The Day the Earth Stood still (my rating: 9)

Meh. by MLouv September 26, 2003 - 8:26 PM PDT
0 out of 2 members found this review helpful
I tried viewing this movie through the lens of historical appreciation, but even then all I saw was 87 minutes of needless dialogue spoken in frantic, grating tones, ruining any suspense which could otherwise have been allowed to build. There are only about three attempted scares, and only one of them is effective.

Surprising good! by larbeck July 26, 2003 - 4:01 PM PDT
2 out of 2 members found this review helpful
I saw this film just a few years and I was pleasently surprised. Now, I am a BIG fan of John Carpenter's version (which I understand is close to the John Campbell story) but this version has it's merits, including a great performance by James Arness and is a rather suspenseful movie and rather well done....for the early fifties.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 7.26)
93 Votes
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Monster Kids Matinees
The films kids in the 50's and early 60's saw on the big screen in saturday kiddie shows
National Film Registry (2001)
"In 1988, the Library of Congress established the National Film Preservation Board, to preserve film deemed 'culturally, historically, or esthetically important.'" List #13

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