Director: Christian Nyby, Script: Charles Lederer, Story: John W. Campbell Jr. (Who goes There?) Cast: Kenneth Toby, Robert Cornthwaite, Douglas Spencer, Margaret Sheridan, James Arness.
I am going to try to be kind when I give my opinions about this film because in spite of everything, it is one of the first of its kind. Sci-Fi’s golden age started with the likes of George Pal’s Destination Moon and When Worlds Collide followed by The Thing in 1951. The Thing was the first of many alien invader movies to follow latter into the 1950’s.
This movie is about a group of air force guys that go up to the Artic with a journalist to investigate a possible meteorite crash. They join up with a team of scientists at a research station. When they arrive at the site, they discover it to be a flying saucer that is submerged under ice. They destroy the saucer in their attempt to recover it but they do find a body in a block of ice near the saucer. The block of ice is brought back to the research station. The block of ice melts while one of the guys is supposed to be watching it and the creature gets out. The creature starts attacking the men. He is discovered by Dr. Carrington (Cornthwaite) to be a plant creature with intelligence beyond that of humans. It becomes a threat to the people and even a possible threat to mankind so Captian Hendry (Toby) and his men try to figure out a way to destroy it. However, Dr. Carrington wants to study him and learn from him so he secretly thwarts their attempts to destroy the creature.
Very good monster movie reminiscent of the old Universal monster movies from the 1930’s. The cold arctic setting is wonderful and looks very realistic. This film is loaded with suspense. The monster is rather illusive so one does not know when he is going to show up. This unknown is what makes this move so suspenseful. On the down side, their is some useless filler in this movie. For example, the romantic scenario between Captain Hendry and Nikki (Sheridan). Also, when the monster does appear they never really seem that terrified. Lets put it this way, they are never as terrified as they appear on the DVD cover! Also, the silly one liners and jokes weaken its horror element. It gets too “talky”. But overall I do like the movie and a 1950’s sci-fi collection is definitely not complete without it. Christian Nyby gets director credit but many people believe it to be directed by Howard Hawks. This film was remade by John Carpenter as The Thing in 1982. The Carpenter version is much truer to the original story. As a film, the Carpenter version is more like Alien (1979) and Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) than the original Thing