The Thing from Another World (1951) DVDRip (SiRiUs sHaRe).avi
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The Thing from Another World (1951)
Scientist at an Arctic research station discover a spacecraft buried in the ice. Upon closer examination, they discover the frozen pilot. All hell breaks loose when they take him back to their station and he is accidentally thawed out!
Margaret Sheridan ... Nikki
Kenneth Tobey ... Captain Patrick Hendry
Robert Cornthwaite ... Dr. Carrington
Douglas Spencer ... Scotty
James R. Young ... Lt. Eddie Dykes (as James Young)
Dewey Martin ... Crew Chief
Robert Nichols ... Lt. Ken McPherson
William Self ... Corporal Barnes
Eduard Franz ... Dr. Stern
Sally Creighton ... Mrs. Chapman
James Arness ... The Thing
Director: Christian Nyby / Howard Hawks (uncredited)
Which version, Hawks or Carpenter? There's a lot of talk about which one is better, etc. I do agree with many that they both are very different films, very different viewing experiences. I love most good sci-fi. A lot of 50's sci-fi can be dated after viewing. I do not think The Thing is one of these films which suffers from time . It holds up splendidly. If you like dialogue, you'll love this movie. If you like innuendo, fast paced overlapped dialogue, great - and I don't use that word lightly - great characters, you'll love this movie.
If you want more suspense, a lot more blood, and a much more gloomy setting, certainly John Carpenter's remake is better in these areas. I have and enjoy viewing both films.
Certainly, the creature in Carpenter's version is much more frightening, and truer to the short story. His shape shifting would have been impossible to show in the 50's version with the believability that is possible in today's F/X fields.
Carpenter gives us a setting which is darker, colder, and more foreboding. A feeling of hopeless, and nameless dread pervades the camp. Certainly, the notion is clear that this could be the end of all of them, and of the world. There's both a lot less thinking, and a lot more action to be had here in the Carpenter 80's version than in the Hawks' 50's approach.
Hawks, by contrast, created a feeling of "whistling in the dark", which dominates the setting. The characters, and they are many and varied, all have their particular take on what is happening, and what should be done about it. There is a sense of hopeful, "We can do it. We can solve this problem" attitude contagious among most throughout the entire film. This feeling of "let's keep our heads" is contagious and very quickly the audience finds themselves rooting, rather than running.
One more point, and I think it's a big one. The characters in the Howard Hawks' 50's film are all likable, including the "heavy": the wonderful Dr. Carrington. All the characters are capable, and in many cases, quite resourceful and ingenious. Each, always maintains a humorous, dry wit angle of attack on the situation without resorting to camp or parody seen in most comic film writing today. The military crew members, very quickly in the story, each displays a comical personality ribbing both the captain and the civil service of the military with natural ease. As someone once said, a complaining soldier is a happy soldier. So true. This is certainly no patriotic "military has all the answers" flick. The mistakes they make are roundly criticized by all in attendance, including the co-pilot's not so subtle comment about the splitting of the atom, "yeah, and that sure made the world happy, didn't it?" (laughter). Add to that, Ned Scott the newspaper man, and you've got a non-scientist, non-military chronicler character to round out the story, and give the audience someone with comparable skepticism about what to do next.
The John Carpenter version, by comparison, has mostly losers populating the story, I have to say. From the camp leader, Gary, on down to the radio operator, Windows, most of the characters seem more suited as inmates in a minimum security prison than manning a research science station. (maybe a reflection of the lack of students going into the field of science in recent years?;^)) And to make the point even more ironic, there is no military, the usual scapegoats, in the Carpenter version. (Gary, as leader, carries the gun, and we assume has some military/policing role, though it is never made clear in the film.) These are all scientists with the exception of the helicopter pilot, played by Kurt Russell, who seems to be the only clear thinking of the entire bunch. Why none of the actual scientists approach the problem as clearly, and logically as the rogue washed-up helicopter pilot is also a mystery. In Hawks' version, Captain Hendries solicits advice from all in attendance, frequently asking the scientists and his crew technical questions he has no background to answer. This also gives the non technical audience member another "way in" to the technical side of things. (no pun intended)
Why Carpenter chose to have most of the characters unredeeming, lazy, and in most cases, quite stupid and ill behaving, is a mystery. I find the characters in the Hawks version much more true to life.
With all that said, I enjoy both films, each for their strengths and for their weaknesses. If you want blood and gore, more realistic sets, and are not discouraged by fairly shallow characters, the Carpenter version is for you.
If you want fast paced dialogue, memorable characters, and you enjoy a "can-do" attitude in dreadful circumstances, all done with a minimum of visible gore, then Hawks' The Thing awaits you.
THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD...the title conjures up lurid images from the countless 'B' SciFi flicks of the 50s, but as many SF, Howard Hawks, and Classic Cinema fans can attest, this is no sleazy schlockfest, but one of the most entertaining and exciting films ever made, by one of Hollywood's greatest directors.
Yes, the credits list Christian Nyby as director, but Howard Hawks was on the set nearly every day, each scene has elements of style unique to Hawks, alone, and even the cast members, when interviewed, have said Hawks ran the entire show. Perhaps, as Science Fiction films were not highly regarded in the early 50s, he felt his reputation might suffer if he acknowledged his contribution; perhaps he thought it might help Nyby's credentials if he were given credit for this masterfully crafted tale. Who knows? But rest assured...this IS a Howard Hawks film!
The story, based on John Campbell's short story, 'Who Goes There?', is a nifty, claustrophobic tale of a group of soldiers and scientists in the Arctic, discovering a giant 'flying saucer' under the ice. When the ship blows up during the excavation, the 'pilot', a huge green chlorophyll-based humanoid (played by a young James Arness), is recovered, frozen in a block of ice. Bringing the ice-encased figure back to the base, it is then accidentally thawed out...and all Hell brakes loose!
While the cast lacks big-name stars, each actor is wonderful, delivering wryly funny Hawks' dialogue at a breakneck pace. The military commander, Capt. Hendry (Kenneth Tobey), is a no-nonsense boss, respected and lovingly chided by his men, led by Dewey Martin, who constantly try to 'set him up' with a pretty scientist he had 'struck out' with, on leave in Anchorage (Margaret Sheridan). She is now at the base, assisting brilliant yet blissfully naive Dr. Arthur Carrington (Robert Cornthwaite), who, naturally, assumes 'the Thing' is only homicidal because he is misunderstood! As the truly frightening potential of the creature reveals itself, it becomes a race against time to destroy it, before it kills everyone, leaves the base, and reproduces countless seedlings of itself to conquer the world!
The FX are low-budget, but very effective, as is the extensive use of light and shadow, sound effects, and an eerie Dimitri Tiomkin score. Unlike the benevolent 'visitors' of THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL, this alien doesn't warn of total annihilation as the final option, should we carry our nuclear weapons into space; it's ONLY agenda is to kill!
This is a truly amazing film, one that has aged little, and is every bit as enjoyable today as when it was released.
As the tag line to the film warns us, "Look to the sky..."
While I love the remake very much I was finally able to see the original all the way thru without the colorization on TV. It is a truly awesome movie.
Comparing the two is not really fare or easy as Carpenter's version has the benefits of modern movie magic. But that is in my opinion the only place it excels. It seems in the remake all the characters are derelicts and for the most part not very likeable. In the original you had a sense of these people liking each other and sticking together.
Kenneth Tobey is a very good and believable leader of his men. He also shows a very human side in that he realizes he is not the smartest of men. He is what he is. A captain of a small band of Air Force Soldiiers simply doing their job.
Robert Cornblaithe is excellent as Dr. Carrington. He comes of snootish yet still likeable enough because you can see that deep down he really admires Captain Hendry (Tobey) though he can't see eye to eye with him on their situation or dealing of his "Thing From Another world."
Every character in the movie is well played. They all look like they belong in their roles. Their look and attire fit their characters and when one guy is called Professor so and so or whomever, you believe it unlike many movies in those days where they picked anyone to play the supporting actors. There is one thing though, Margaret Sheridan's pants pulled up almost to her neck line (exaggeration...but close) I could have done without. I realize it was a style of the times but I think they could have given her something a little better to show off her figure when you first meet her. Especially since she was the only female love interest and was tagged as "a pinup girl" in earlier scenes. She looks better when her hair is down and she is in different clothes. I know that is being picky but I just had to say it.
The creature is better presented in the original as far as being frightening. You hardly ever see him. When you do it's only for brief periods at a time and usually in the dark. That frightening sound of "The Thing" is very original in that it's not just a growl but sounds like a cat meowing at times. Very eerie!
The story is well known and both are similiar although I must admit the remake is closer to the actual Campbell JR.'s short tale. But the original still gives it a good account and in many ways surpasses the short story because it is easier to identify with the creature since he's humanoid.
It boils down to suspense, drama and mood versus gore, F/X, and fast paced action. Both movies are top notch. I am proud to own both and would not try and say one is overtly better than the other. The remake has the benefits of the then modern movie technology. The original had the benefit of black and white to add to the suspense and utter danger they are in. The choice is yours. I myself enjoy the original a little more as it holds up today probably better than any other Sci-Fi movie from that era.
* It is generally believed that Howard Hawks took over direction during production, and it has always been acknowledged by director Christian Nyby that Hawks was the guiding hand. However, in an interview James Arness said that while Hawks spent a lot of time on the set, it was Nyby who actually directed the picture, not Hawks.
* Partly filmed in Glacier National Park and at a Los Angeles ice storage plant.
* This film was based on the short story "Who Goes There?" by Don A. Stuart. The credits on this film list the author by his real name, the science fiction editor/writer John W. Campbell Jr.
* Midget actor Billy Curtis played the smaller version of "The Thing" during the creature's final scene.
* James Arness complained that his "Thing" costume made him look like a giant carrot.
* Howard Hawks asked the US Air Force for assistance in making the film. He was refused because the top brass felt that such cooperation would compromise the U.S. government's official stance that UFOs didn't exist.
* Only technical and production credits precede the film, no acting credits.
* It is believed that Ben Hecht and William Faulkner, both good friends of producer Howard Hawks, contributed to the script. However, long-standing rumors that Orson Welles contributed to the dialog are believed to be untrue.
* Two months prior to principal photography, James Arness was brought in during the design and development of the makeup.
* Close-ups of "The Thing" were removed. It was felt that the make-up could not hold up to close scrutiny. However, the lack of close-ups gave the creature a more mysterious quality.
* James Arness reportedly regarded his role as so embarrassing that he didn't attend the premiere.
* 'Robert Nichols' is billed as Lt. Ken Erickson in the credits. His character's name in the film is Lt. Ken Mcpherson, he is mostly called Mac by Captain Hendry.
* It took makeup artist Lee Greenway five months and 18 sculptures of the creature before he came up with a design that satisfied producer Howard Hawks.
* When producer Howard Hawks attempted to get insurance for the creature, five insurance companies turned him down because "The Thing" was to be frozen in a block of ice, hacked by axes, attacked by dogs, lit on fire, and electrocuted.
* The famous scene when the crew formed a ring around the flying saucer frozen in the ice, was actually filmed at the RKO Ranch in the San Fernando Valley in 100-degree weather.
* When a soldier is asked if he knows how to use a flare gun, he replies that he's seen Sergeant York (1941), licks his thumb, and pretends to wipe the scope of the gun, mimicking a famous scene from the film. Howard Hawks, the producer (and unofficially credited as having a hand in direction) of The Thing from Another World (1951), also directed Sergeant York (1941).
* This was the first of only two films made by Howard Hawks' own production company, Winchester Pictures Corporation. Winchester was Hawks' middle name.