The Howard Hawks-produced 1951 adaptation of John W. Campbell's "Who Goes There?", THE THING (From Another World!), was one of the many films from the early 1950s that led to that decade's fascination with science fiction on the silver screen. Having said that, please consider the prospect of "Gunsmoke"'s Marshall Dillon (James Arness) as a humanoid monster vegatable from outer space.....
Still with me? Good, then if either of the above-mentioned factors appeal to you, then this flick is something you might enjoy.
Astonishingly, The Thing still holds up as one of the more suspenseful cinematic efforts of all time, if one allows for a slight margin of suspension of disbelief. Perfect pacing of story and atmosphere, aided by the claustrophobic nature of the Artic setting, blends perfectly to produce more than a few shocks. One of my favorites, one which scared the willies outta me when I was youngster, is hero-type Kenneth Tobey and the gang slowly advancing towards a locked door with geiger counter in hand, awaiting the Thing's arrival. Those few moments right before the big reveal of the monster (whose look was seemingly inspired by the classic Jack Pierce-formulated "Frankenstein" make-up, and is a slight let-down when finally seeing it after many moments of dreadful wondering as to what the alien looks like) were and still are some of the most incredibly agonizing suspense sequences of the sci-fi film genre.
In glorious black and white in the Standard 4:3. Speaking of color issues, I've always thought that Ted Turner's colorization of the film (which was a staple of TBS and TNT late-night programming a decade ago) was one of the few films ever that the process actually worked for, if only for the use of the color red during the "bleed-through" openning title sequence which reveals the words, "The Thing".....sadly, the colorized version isn't available on this disc, but here's hoping for a future release that contains both versions.
Theatrical Trailer- Still, in my opinion, one of the better teaser ads of the 1950s. Perfectly sets the tone of suspense and fear for the film you would see.
Still revered as one of the great science fiction horror films of all time, THE THING (from Another World!) still packs alot of punch, even with today's jaded viewers who grew up on director John Carpenter's revisionist take on the material, The Thing (1981). I've also wondered, as many have in the past, exactly how heavy-handed was producer Howard Hawks involvement with the film. Many have speculated that several of the sequences were directed by Hawks himself, instead of the creditted Christian Nyby. Oh well...one will probably never know, and shouldn't allow such things to distract from their enjoyment of this true sci-fi classic.
Anthony Conn, aka The Hong Kong Cavalier, 1/17/2004