Movie Review: The Thing From Another World

thing from another worldThis week’s Schlocky Sci-Fi Friday Movie was one of our favorites; a timeless classic: The Thing From Another World.

Arctic researchers witness the crash of what they determine to be a UFO.  When they investigate the crash they find and retrieve a large humanoid alien who had been embedded in the ice.  Assuming the thing to be dead, they return to their base with it.  But, of course, it is far from being dead.  At their base it goes on a rampage and kills a couple of the scientists who, determined to communicate with it, buck the military authority.   The Thing, then sets about accomplishing what was (apparently) its mission.

The Thing From Another World stars a pre-Gunsmoke James Arness, Margaret Sheridan, and Kenneth Tobey.  Being a 1951 RKO Pictures production, it is filmed in black & white, the plot is fairly predictable: the scientists assume anything smarter than we are must be benign, the military just wants to kill it, and the creature fights back.What sets this picture apart from the crowd is not a unique plot or outstanding special effects (though they are not bad for the era) or creativity in making up the monster (a hyper-intelligent vegetable that is shaped like a man?  Come on!) but the interaction of the characters.  A lot of witty banter, a quirky love interest between the Captain of the Air Force crew and a (female) member of the research staff, and some decent acting by the main characters all weave together to produce a very entertaining film.  Toss an intelligent carrot on the rampage in for some conflict and you’ve got a great evening’s entertainment for any fan of classic sci-fi.

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