The Thing From Another World

From Academic Kids

The Thing From Another World is a 1951 science fiction film which tells the story of scientists at a remote Arctic outpost who fight an alien being. It stars Margaret Sheridan, Dewey Martin, Kenneth Tobey, Robert Cornthwaite and Douglas Spencer. James Arness plays The Thing, in unrecognizable costume and makeup. Oddly, no players are named during the otherwise-complete opening credits; the only cast credit is at the end.

The movie was loosely adapted by Charles Lederer from the story "Who Goes There?" by John W. Campbell, Jr.. It was directed by Howard Hawks (uncredited) and Christian Nyby for Hawks' Winchester Pictures, which released it through RKO Radio Pictures Inc.. The screenplay changes the fundamental nature of the alien as presented in Campbell's short story: Lederer's "Thing" is a humanoid monster whose cellular structure is closer to vegetation although it must feed on human blood to survive. One character describes it as an "animated carrot". In the original story, the "Thing" is a lifeform capable of assuming the physical and mental characteristics of anyone it chooses.

When American Movie Classics was showing the movie in the 1990s, the introduction related a story about the creation of the creature's makeup. The makeup artist supposedly went through several revisions of the creature's face. He would test each one by putting the full makeup on Arness and taking him for a drive through Los Angeles. At one point, a woman in the next car screamed and fainted upon seeing the creature. The makeup artist "knew he had a winner" and used that face in the movie. Not mentioned by AMC was the fact that the creature's face is never clearly seen in the film.

In 1982, John Carpenter made a more faithful version of the story "Who Goes There?" under the remake-suggestive title The Thing.

In 2001 the United States Library of Congress deemed the original film "culturally significant" and selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry.

In 2003 it was released on DVD.

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