Sunday, May 1, 2011

On Screen -- The Thing From Another World (1951)

"The Thing From Another World" is a great classic 50s science fiction film.  Directed by Christian Nyby and Howard Hawks the film features Hawks' signature rapid fire dialogue and character mannerisms, as in the way the characters light and pass cigarettes.  The story takes place in and around a military base in Anchorage, Alaska.  A group of military personnel and scientists track and investigate a UFO that lands near the base.  As the group searches for the object, they locate a craft assumed to be of extraterrestrial origin and then locate a possible occupant from the craft frozen in the nearby ice.  They return to the base with the body of the alien entombed in a block of ice.
I hate giving away too much of the storyline, I imagine there are some folks out there who actually might not have seen this film yet, but the alien manages to get free from the ice and terrorizes the group at the base.  The scientists don't want to harm it because they want to study it, and the military people are just trying to kill it with the base inhabitants' survival being the first priority.  It's a great story with excellent stunts and special effects.

The film stars Kenneth Tobey as "Captain Henry", Margaret Sheridan as "Nikki", Robert Cornthwaite as "Dr. Harrington, and Douglas Spencer as "Scotty."  Also listen for the unmistakeable voice of Paul Frees as "Dr. Voorhees."  His voice can be heard in, and narrating, some of the best sci fi films including "The War of the Worlds" (1953), and "When Worlds Collide" (1951) as well as other films and animated programs.

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