Joshua Rich
August 01, 2003 AT 04:00 AM EDT

The Thing From Another World

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
Unrated
performer
Kenneth Tobey, Margaret Sheridan, James Arness
director
Howard Hawks, Christian Nyby
distributor
Image Home Video
author
Charles Lederer
genre
Sci-fi and Fantasy, Horror

We gave it a B+

Credited to a fellow named Christian Nyby, this wispy schlock sci-fi B picture is commonly believed to have been directed by its producer, Howard Hawks. The reasoning? It’s just too good to have been made by a novice who spent most of his career in television — rather than by the great mind behind Red River and To Have and Have Not. Whatever his role, Hawks left his deft fingerprints all over this fable about a grunting alien (James Arness, pre-Gunsmoke) that terrorizes the denizens of an Arctic military base before they realize that, yes, he’s basically a walking carrot. (The movie was gorily remade by John Carpenter in 1982.) Sharing a breezy style with the sundry films that we know Hawks directed — the kookiness of Bringing Up Baby, the suspense of The Big Sleep, the wistful adventure of Rio Bravo — The Thing is a rare cautionary Cold War tale that’s also plain fun. Now if only the DVD featured extras beyond a lone, unrestored trailer…

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