Movie Review – The Thing From Another World (1951)

Director: Christian Nyby

Stars: Margaret Sheridan, Kenneth Tobey, Robert Cornthwaite, Douglas Spencer, James Young, Dewey Martin, Eduard Franz, James Arness

A fallen spacecraft is discovered at a remote Arctic outpost. As they examine it they discover the frozen pilot and take him back to the outpost where they hope to learn where he came from, but he thaws and seeks to escape his captivity.

Strange alien life form at the arctic? Sounds familiar right? Well it turns out that The Thing From Another World is actually the film that The Thing is based on. They’re different beasts entirely though, as the 80s movie focuses on the tension and paranoia of being isolated, whereas this film is very much an us vs them scenario, although there is infighting as the military personnel and the scientists have different goals.

I really liked the dynamics of the characters. The dialogue had a modern sensibility to it with a lot of quips. A lot of films from this period have stilted, stagey dialogue but this flowed naturally. I liked the tension that came from the monster attacking them, and how they tried to strengthen their defenses. The monster itself had the same lurching aura as Frankenstein’s monster and had an eerie alien quality to it.

It’s a pretty good monster movie with some modern sensibilities that would probably make it easier to watch for people who find the old movies somewhat cheesy. I thought it was pretty cool, the only thing I found hard to follow was that a lot of the characters, especially the military personnel, were quite similar looking and sounding, so it was hard to keep track of them and remember who was who.

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