Christian Nyby & Howard Hawks – The Thing from Another World (1951)


A spaceship lands in Arctic wastes, its only passenger a six-and-a-half-foot-tall frozen vegetable with a brain. (“An intellectual carrot — the mind boggles.”) That spells trouble for the small troupe of soldiers and scientists, plus a reporter and the token fabulous babe. Directed by Christian Nyby, The Thing has the hallmarks of movies by producer Howard Hawks: taut, snappy camaraderie and a preference for men of action over men of thought. Whereas 1951’s other big spaceman movie, The Day the Earth Stood Still, took the liberal view that a visitor from another world would be benign, superior and peace-loving, this one suggests an interplanetary Cold War, with a creature (played by James Arness, later Sheriff Matt Dillon of Gunsmoke fame) who’s angry, hungry and hard to reason with. Humankind’s only logical response to this vegetable invader: cook ‘im! (But don’t eat ‘im.) –Richard Corliss, TIme Magazine Continue reading