Movie Review: The Thing From Another World (1951)

Synopsis: A United States Air Force crew and a team of scientists discover a crashed UFO near the North Pole. They accidentally destroy the ship while trying to extract it from the ice but recover the frozen body of an alien passenger. When the creature is accidentally thawed out at their research station, the blood-sucking alien begins to threaten their lives and the team must find a way to kill it.

Who's in it? The movie stars Kenneth TobeyMargaret SheridanRobert CornthwaiteRobert NicholsDewey Martin and James Arness as the creature.

Review: I've lost count of the number of times I've seen the 1982 remake of this movie and, when I came across this version the other day, realized I had never actually seen it in its entirety. Partly out of curiosity, I decided to finally watch it and, while I still think the remake is the better version, have to say I enjoyed it.

I think the thing I liked best about this movie was the ongoing tension throughout the film. From the second the creature was discovered, there was a difference of opinion about what to do next with the military wanting to be cautious while the lead scientist, Dr. Carrington (Cornthwaite) wanting to examine the creature as soon as possible. It only escalated once the creature escaped and Carrington ultimately became a wildcard that was capable of preventing any attempts to kill the alien.

I also liked the overall hopelessness of the situation. The team was isolated by an intense storm and below-zero temperatures and was facing a creature that seemed to have few weaknesses and, since it was plant-based, could reproduce at a rapid rate. As a result, I wasn't sure if this would be a movie that would end with them finding a way to survive or if it would end up with a tragic ending instead.

As far as the creature itself goes, I thought the movie did a good job representing the alien. The costume, combined with some helpful work, made the creature menacing without crossing a line that would have made it a little too unrealistic. It probably wasn't the creepiest alien I've seen but I still wouldn't want to be cornered by it.

My only real complaint about the film is I thought the ending could have used some sort of last-second surprise. In fact, I was actually expecting some sort of twist and was a bit disappointed when the movie ended without one. I don't want to give too many details, but the last couple minutes of the movie probably could have been cut out and nobody would have noticed.

Final Opinion: As I said, the 1982 version is better. However, this is still a very good science fiction film that is worth taking the time to watch if you have an opportunity to do so.

My Grade: A-


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