The Thing from Another World, sometimes referred to as just The Thing, is a 1951 American black-and-white science fiction–horror film, directed by Christian Nyby, produced by Edward Lasker for Howard Hawks‘ Winchester Pictures Corporation, and released by RKO Radio Pictures. The film stars Margaret Sheridan, Kenneth Tobey, Robert Cornthwaite, and Douglas Spencer. James Arness plays The Thing, though he is difficult to recognize in costume and makeup due to both low lighting and other effects used to obscure his features. The Thing from Another World is based on the 1938 novella “Who Goes There?” by John W. Campbell (writing under the pseudonym of Don A. Stuart).
The film’s storyline concerns a United States Air Force crew and scientists who find, frozen in the Arctic ice, a crashed flying saucer and a humanoid body nearby. Returning to their remote arctic research outpost with the body still in a block of ice, they are forced to defend themselves against the still alive and malevolent plant-based alien when it is accidentally thawed out.
In 1950, Lederer and Hecht convinced Hawks to buy the rights to “Who Goes There?”. The cost ended up being $1,250.
In an unusual practice for the era, no actors are named during the film’s dramatic “slow burning letters through background” opening title sequence; the cast credits appear at the end of the film. Appearing in a small role was George Fenneman, who at the time was gaining fame as Groucho Marx‘s announcer on the popular quiz show You Bet Your Life. Fenneman later said he had difficulty with the overlapping dialogue in the film.
The scene where the alien is set aflame and repeatedly doused with kerosene was one of the first full-body fire stunts ever filmed.
The film took full advantage of the national feelings in America at the time in order to help enhance the horror elements of the film’s storyline. The film reflected a post-Hiroshima skepticism about science and prevailing negative views of scientists who meddle with things better left alone. In the end it is American servicemen and several sensible scientists who win the day over the alien invader.
The Man from Planet X is a 1951 independently made American black-and-white science fiction horror film, produced by Jack Pollexfen and Aubrey Wisberg, directed by Edgar G. Ulmer, that stars Robert Clarke, Margaret Field, and William Schallert. The film was distributed by United Artists.
The story concerns a humanoid who lands on Earth in a spaceship from a mysterious planet and makes contact with a small group of humans on an isolated, fog-shrouded Scottish moor.
The film went into production on December 13, 1950, at Hal Roach Studios in Culver City, California, and wrapped principal photography six days later. In order to save money, the film was shot on sets for the 1948 Ingrid Bergman film Joan of Arc, using artificial fog to change moods, plot locations, and to hide the lack of backdrops and staged landscapes for the outdoor scenes.
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