The Thing from Another World (1951)


Directed by: Christian Nyby & Howard Hawks (Uncredited)

Written by: Charles Lederer, Howard Hawks (Uncredited) & Ben Hecht (Uncredited)


Margaret Sheridan ... Nikki Nicholson
Kenneth Tobey ... Captain Patrick Hendry
Robert Cornthwaite ... Dr. Carrington
Douglas Spencer ... Ned 'Scotty' Scott
James R. Young ... Lt. Eddie Dykes
Dewey Martin ... Crew Chief
Robert Nichols ... Lt. Ken Erickson
William Self ... Corporal Barnes

Release Date: Theatrical: April 6, 1951





A scientist discovers a UFO buried in ice at the North Pole and a crew of people fly up there to examin it. They find a frozen alien pilot and take it back to their station and research it. Accidentally the alien is thawed out and kills two of their dogs and is about to kill the people at the station but nothing seems to stop this alien as they try to shoot it and burn it.


A nicely made film showing the opening titles right away forming like a fire starting type of effect. It's chemistry is very much like any type of horror movie at an old fashioned drive-in flick.
The film starts off in a sleepy town with a blizzard starting in Alaska in which during many seasons the place is dark and very few times daylight occurs. I found that to be a great touch for a horror flick.
The story then becomes suspensefully well done when others fly more up north to discover an unsolved plane crash which is a great touch on a suspicious UFO crash and that's what it exactly is with good shots on the characters surrounding the piece from the ice glacier.
It gets even more exciting when people surround the icy surface discovering a huge alien life form frozen in the ice and then the people finding it trying to melt away the ice to discover it's life which this scene was well written, leaving a great impression that the terror will unleash and it does that too.
In the story we have an eccentric scientist who wants to keep this thing alive as this was always a traditional type of role for an alien life sci-fi horror flick in which I can see on how Dan O'Bannon got his idea for writing Alien even if his inspiration was more loosely based on another type of old flick.
Still people can borrow bit and pieces here and there. Plus this thing is usually residing in a dark area just like the creature from Alien too.
The scientist even tries to stop the soldiers from killing this thing and approaching it trying to be reasonable which keeps you watching to see what will happen as you know it won't be good. In fact really dangerous on what the results will be.
To top the story off too there's a brief romance between the two lead characters Nikki and Captain Patrick Hendry which seemed heartwarming and necessary for the story.
Also thrown in for the story trying to deliver alot of horror into it are the odd shocking moments like when someone opens up something almost preparing for the thing a dead dog is revealed or the thing trying to attack others in their headquarters by trying to break through a door in which this can certainly make people jump or scare the hell out of you during the time period it was in cinema's. Nowadays it looks very harmless.
There's also a discussion on carrots and how unusual they grow and acting almost lifelike by hearing others communicate as this was a nice twisted bonus to the film which by this time period filmmakers were creating all sorts of corny horror and sci-fi flicks and having characters portray a human carrot and other things too. This moment did seem corny but at the same time mysterious.
Bottom line is I saw clips of this film in the movie Halloween and finally I found it selling at a store. I was overly entertained by watching it and it also reminds me as one of those old fashioned horror radio plays by how the plots were made. The black and white really added a nice old fashioned horror to it since during this time period there was no colour in TV or film. In fact TV was slowly being created when this flick was being released.
A remake by John Carpenter was made over 3 decades later but it was a bit different than this one. Still I love this even if it wasn't overly original since it remains even to this day a cult classic.

The acting was good for it's time in which lead actress Margaret Sheridan (Nikki Nicholson) brought out alot of nice characteristics with her flirtatious behavior. She also showed good serious expressions along with acting cheerful too. She was very clear with her speaking which came across very sharp. Her looks for the film was another plus since she had that nice girl type which works for a horror film.
Kenneth Tobey (Captain Patrick Hendry) showed a good seriousness to his role and came across powerfully as the head captain in which he really studied this part incredibly well having a nice firmness in certain parts of the story. He really delivered his lines quite powerfully and showed a great amount of energy into what he did throughout the whole film. Plus he has that great rough look to him which was a plus too. All in all he was a worthy character actor.
Robert Cornthwaite (Dr. Carrington) brought on a terrific eccentric attitude with his role as a scientist. He kinda came across as almost a mad scientist with his obsessions on the alien creature plus showed alot of great intimidating expressions whenever he started speaking seriously about a situation. He did a great job acting anxious in certain spots too. A great anxious moment on him preventing them to shoot which looked intense as well as a good moment on him trying to talk to tthe creature in which he shows great emotions towards this thing. All in all he never let an ounce of energy go out of place.
Douglas Spencer (Ned 'Scotty' Scott) had a great tall like feature to him in which he really stood out the most out of the whole cast. Plus he was great by having a bubbly sarcastic attitude as well. He was great by perfoming cocky and blunt in certain spots making his role a real attention getter.
James R. Young (Lt. Eddie Dykes) showed a great young man type of charm to his role in which he came across as very energetic in what he did throughout the whole scenerios. He was certainly a great talent and really brought it out to everything that he did. Proving himself to be a worthy supporting character actor.

There was a cut off arm from the alien which was probably the first ever gory scene in a movie.

The film was brought together perfectly by a classical orchestra with suspenseful trumpet playing and quivering sounds which was effective for the opening scene in this flick along with good cymbals clashing and heavy drum beats too. Plus there's the odd organ sounds in other scene's too which also works well which was all put together by Dmitri Tiomkin

Ned "Scotty" Scott: So few people can boast that they lost a man from Mars and a flying saucer all in the same day! What if Columbus had discovered America, then mislaid it!

Ned "Scotty" Scott: An intellectual carrot. The mind boggles.

Dr. Arthur Carrington: There are no enemies in science, only phenomena to be studied.

Dr. Arthur Carrington: Knowledge is more important than life.

Dr. Arthur Carrington: [about the carrot] Its development was not handicapped by emotional or sexual factors.

[last lines]
Ned "Scotty" Scott: Watch the skies, everywhere! Keep looking. Keep watching the skies!

Ned "Scotty" Scott: Please doctor, I've got to ask this. It sounds like, well, just as though you're describing some form of super carrot.

Lt. Ken McPherson: I wonder if this thing can read minds.
Eddie: Well, if it can, it's gonna be real mad when it gets to me.

[referring to McPherson's gun]
Ned "Scotty" Scott: You sure you know how to use that thing?
Lt. Ken McPherson: I saw Gary Cooper in "Sergeant York."

Ned "Scotty" Scott: Think of what it means to the world!
Hendry: I'm not working for the world. I'm working for the Air Force.

Ned "Scotty" Scott: Dr. Carrington, you're a man who won the Nobel Prize. You've received every kind of international kudos a scientist can attain. If you were for sale I could get a million bucks for you from any foreign government. I'm not, therefore, gonna stick my neck out and say you're stuffed absolutely clean full of wild blueberry muffins, but I promise my readers are gonna think so.

Dr. Chapman: Find anything, Captain?
Hendry: Not a sign. We poked into every snowbank within miles.
Bob, Crew Chief: Barnes flushed a polar bear.
Cpl. Barnes: Sure did.
Dr. Chapman: Scare you?
Cpl. Barnes: Not after I saw it was only a bear.

Nikki: Say that again!
[She observes cold breath coming out of Scotty's mouth]
Ned "Scotty" Scott: Oh Nikki, not you, too!
Nikki: No, silly, your breath!
Ned "Scotty" Scott: Well, I'm sorry, but I've been under a great deal of strain lately!
Nikki: Oh, you ninny, look!

Dr. Arthur Carrington: We owe it to the brain of our species to stand here and die... without destroying a source of wisdom.

[after a quick encounter with the Thing]
Hendry: Did you get your picture?
Ned "Scotty" Scott: No, you were in the way and the door wasn't open long enough.
Hendry: You want us to open it again?
Ned "Scotty" Scott: NO!