When a UFO crashes near an arctic research station, an Air Force
captain is sent to investigate. A saucer is found under the ice.
A frozen alien guy, thrown clear of the saucer, is taken back
to the station in a block of ice.
A careless technician absentmindedly puts an electric blanket
on the ice block, melting it. It escapes outside, killing two
sled dogs, losing an arm in the process. The scientists examine
the severed arm, discovering that the Thing is actually a vegetable.
The thing kills two scientists, draining their blood.
The scientists burn the Thing, but that doesn't kill it. Then
they electrocute it, which both cooks and kills it.
Director Christian Nyby's THE THING is the grand-daddy of Sci-Fi
monster on the loose movies. It is considered a classic by all
true Sci-Fi fans and we are correct!
The action is set into motion when Captain Patrick Hendry, Kenneth
Tobey, is sent to the North Pole research station the Pentagon
to investigate the crash of an identified air craft. Tobey, who
went on to high profile roles in TV's "The Whirlybirds"
and the cult feature hit "Billy Jack" (remember the
dad who slapped his daughter for sleeping around?) lends the appropriate
brisk, American can do spin on the role.
When Captain Hendry, his men, and the scientist go the the crash
site, they find a huge saucer under the ice. They also find the
thing, apparently thrown from the saucer, frozen in the ice.
Once they get thing back to research station, and it thaws, two
battles take place. One a philosophical battle between the military,
represented by Hendry and his men and pure unbridled science,
represented by the bearded, sinister Dr. Arthur Carrington (Robert
Cornthwaite) The other battle, a real one, is between the literally
blood thirsty Thing and the small band of scientists and military.
In between the interesting philosophical and violent, brief, encounters
with the Thing, we get some vintage sexual banter between Hendry
and Nikki (Margaret Sheridan), the only woman in the group. Sex,
(muted, 50's style), violence, and philosophy! Who said the classics
have to be stuffy?
James Arness (Gunsmoke) impersonates the Thing, and the fact that
he went from this to TV immortality proves that America is indeed
the land of opportunity.
As far as Arness' performance, I can honestly say that Dustin Hoffman could not have given a more convincing portrayal, since
towering height (Arness is well over 6 feet) seems to have been
the primary requirement for the role.
One of the highlights of the film is when The Thing/Arness is
zapped by electricity, shrinking in size. A midget was used towards
the end of this sequence, to show how much The Thing had shrunk.
Many people believe Producer Howard Hawks Directed this picture,
and not Nyby. It has been the subject of great debate in film
THE THING should be highly watchable for many Sci-Fi viewers.
James Arness (Gunsmoke) fans may be particularly entertained.
BEST BETS: THE
THING (82) and THE BLOB.