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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 38.71%
Average: 12.9%
Pretty Bad: 0%
Total Crap: 6.45%

1 review, 25 user ratings

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Thing, The (1951)
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by Rob Gonsalves

"The remake is scarier, but the original's a lot of fun too."
5 stars

James Arness, in bulging-forehead pre-Klingon latex, is the 'intellectual carrot' ('The mind boggles!') in this fast, witty, scary sf-horror classic based glancingly on the John W. Campbell Jr. story.

As Stephen King wrote in his excellent analysis in Danse Macabre, the script is a product of its time and therefore heavily reactionary anti-Communist, pro-military, anti-intellectual. If you can get past that (and you'll have to if you expect to enjoy 75% of the horror movies from any decade), you'll crack up at Charles Lederer's great speedball dialogue (one area where this film outdoes the John Carpenter remake), from an era when dead spots in the action were occasions for overlapping patter. (You can tell this is a Howard Hawks production; in fact, rumors abound that he directed much of it.)

When scientist Robert Cornthwaite attempts to communicate with the savage Thing and is cast aside, it's a defining moment in American science-fiction cinema, a declaration that the Unknown can't be trusted or reasoned with; it wouldn't be seriously challenged until Steven Spielberg's pair of good-alien films. Frequent collaborators Hawks and Lederer (His Girl Friday, I Was a Male War Bride, Monkey Business, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes) pretty much initiated the American sf-horror craze of the '50s but never returned to the genre.

A perfect popcorn movie.

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originally posted: 04/04/07 03:45:19
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User Comments

10/30/16 morris campbell entertaining 4 stars
2/13/16 JR A Classic film in every sense of the word. Spectacular entertainment. 5 stars
3/11/14 John One of the best sci-fi movies ever made. 5 stars
10/24/12 roscoe this sucks. Thank God for Carpenter's remake. Monster barely involved or used. 1 stars
9/14/12 darlene tisdale Excellent SCI-FI 1950s Flick. 5 stars
4/04/09 Jack Make no mistake: This is Hawks at his very best. A classic in every sense of the word. 5 stars
2/24/09 MP Bartley Some great moments, and technically superb, but slightly unsure tone at times. 4 stars
8/17/07 ahnold I highly recommend BOTH movies as they are excellent. 4 stars
8/18/06 David Cohen Forget Carpenter's gore fest, this version delivers the goods! 4 stars
10/29/05 ES Here's a thing that should have been left out in the cold 1 stars
4/24/05 JohnD Great Drive in movie 4 stars
11/20/04 Mark A Lot Better than the 1982 remake of The Thing 5 stars
10/15/04 Don Eckert An excellent movie but it has not aged well. 4 stars
7/07/04 Samuel As good as the remake if not better. 5 stars
7/04/04 Daveman Well in league with Alien and it's damn scary, far better than the remake. 5 stars
5/28/04 Me Buy the remake with Kurt Russel instead 3 stars
2/18/04 john that's right - the remake is actually better! - but this one is quite powerful on its own! 4 stars
11/02/03 American Slasher Goddess Not bad, but things get improved upon in the 82 remake. 3 stars
10/14/03 Erik Van Sant For an old, cheesy black n' white has some genuinely creepy moments. Funny, too. 4 stars
4/25/03 Jack Sommersby Some good moments, and it gets by, but isn't anything great. 3 stars
11/24/02 Charles Tatum For once, the remake is better 3 stars
7/16/01 R.W. Welch Semi-classic 50's sci-fi thriller, better than a lot of 90's stuff. 4 stars
6/24/01 John N. De Santis Good Drive in type movie. Watch it with someone you like to hold. 4 stars
3/08/01 Bucket Loved it 50 years ago. Scary at the time. Try to see it , then watch the remake. 4 stars
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  02-Jul-1951 (NR)



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