The Thing from Another World (1951)
Directed By: Howard Hawks, Christian Nyby
Starring: Margaret Sheridan, Kenneth Tobey, Douglas Spencer, James Arness, Robert Cornwaite
Subgenre: Science Fiction
Synopsis: A group of military researchers uncover a “flying saucer” imbedded in the ice in the North Pole. Alongside the UFO, the researchers find a tall alien body. The body eventually thaws out and it is up to the group to thwart the alien menace.
Thoughts: Fans are probably more aware of the 1982 John Carpenter remake than they are of this original version, and probably more so than the original written story as well (Who Goes There?). This one is more of a science fiction movie, but still has some pretty solid suspense.
There are unanswered questions about who did the majority of the directing. Christian Nyby receives the credit, but it was either directed by Howard Hawks or he had considerable input into the filming. Either way, this is one of the better science fiction movies from the 50s and the direction and cinematography are a big part of that.
I remember seeing this when I was much younger on one of those Saturday afternoon monster movie showings that ran all the time in the 80s, and the monster seemed a whole lot more frightening than it does today. Still, the lumbering alien is pretty imposing and more than a little reminiscent of Frankenstein’s Monster.
While this isn’t for all you horror fans, if you enjoy the older Universal films and want to see the genre segue into the science fiction filled 50s, this is a great example. Not only that, but also would inspire John Carpenter to remake it as The Thing in 1982.