NATURAL OR SUPERNATURAL?
A U.S. Air Force crew joins scientists at a North Pole base who have discovered evidence of a UFO crash-landing nearby; soon they’re all in peril. One of the classic sci-fi flicks of the 1950s is a little too campy for its own good (and includes an utterly pointless romance), but is still very entertaining. No memorable performances from the cast, but director Christian Nyby (or is it really producer Howard Hawks?) tells the story swiftly and includes one fiery scene that still looks pretty impressive. Clearly an inspiration for Alien (1979), and the filmmakers never allow us to get a close look at James Arness as the monster… which is for the better.
1951-U.S. 87 min. B/W. Produced by Howard Hawks. Directed by Christian Nyby. Screenplay: Charles Lederer. Story: John W. Campbell, Jr. (“Who Goes There?”). Music: Dimitri Tiomkin. Cast: Kenneth Tobey (Patrick Hendry), Margaret Sheridan (Nikki Nicholson), Robert Cornthwaite (Arthur Carrington), Douglas Spencer, James Arness, Dewey Martin.
Trivia: Remade as The Thing (1982).
Quote: “Watch the skies, everywhere! Keep looking. Keep watching the skies!” (The last lines, delivered by Spencer)
Last word: “Chris Nyby had done an awfully good job as the cutter on “Red River” and he’d been a big help to us too, so I let him do it. He wanted to be a director and I had a deal with RKO that allowed me to do that. I was at rehearsals and helped them with the overlapping dialogue – but I thought Chris did a good job.” (Hawks, “Who the Devil Made It?”)