The Thing from Another World (1951)


In this Howard Hawks production, an arctic science team finds an alien buried in the ice, so they bring it back to their facility for closer inspection. Things go awry, the monster gets loose, and before long, all the men are in danger of becoming food for the alien's progeny. This is a great atomic-age monster movie that well exceeds expectations for the genre and the period it was made.

While the team protect themselves and learn more about the creature’s mysterious origins, they also argue about whether they should destroy it or keep it alive for scientific study.  The infighting almost gets as serious as their fight for survival.  I didn’t know any of these actors before, but they make a solid ensemble.  I enjoy their rapid-fire banter, perhaps a remnant from producer Howard Hawks’ earlier screwball comedies.  Dmitri Tiomkin spooks things up a bit with a healthy dose of theremin in his musical score.

Maybe it’s mature for its time, or maybe the filmmakers just never let the genre confine their approach to storytelling, but this is one of the best ’50s sci-fi flicks I’ve seen.  [John Carpenter remade this movie in 1982, and the remake is even better.]

Share Button