The Thing from Another World (aka 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 Pictures.
The story is about a U. S. Air Force crew led by Captain Patrick Hendry and a group of scientists led by Dr. Arthur Carrington who find a crashed flying saucer in the Arctic ice. They try to get the flying saucer out of the ice with explosives, but they accidentally destroy it. After that they find a frozen humanoid body nearby and get it out of the ice.
Returning to their remote research outpost with the humanoid body in a block of ice, the alien accidentally becomes alive when they accidentally warm it up. After that this creature escapes and begins to kill people and animals in order to take their blood away after their deaths.
Additionally they discover that the creature species is plant based and devours mammal blood for survival like certain plants on Earth do. Therefore they come to the conclusion that this creature must have been a scout sent as part of a plan of the creature´s species to conquer Earth and use humans as food for their own and their offspring.
Because of this and against Dr. Carrington´s wishes, who fanatically wishes to understand the creature and the knowledge it posesses, they decide to kill the creature before it endangers the human species to the advantage of his own species. A fight to death begins, in which they cannot use guns against it for being immune to them thanks to its plant structure. Finally they set up a trap and kill it with huge amounts of electricity, turning him that way into ashes.
After that they report to the world what has happened and give the world the stern warning to watch the skies in order to prepare humanity for the eventuality of another event like this one.
- Kenneth Tobey as Captain Patrick Hendry
- Margaret Sheridan as Nikki Nicholson
- Robert Cornthwaite as Dr. Arthur Carrington
- Douglas Spencer as Ned Scott (Scotty)
- James Young as Lt. Eddie Dykes
- Dewey Martin as Bob (Crew Chief)
- Robert Nichols as Lt. Ken MacPherson
- William Self as Corporal Barnes
- Eduard Franz as Dr. Stern
- James Arness as The Thing
The movie is based on Who Goes There?, a terrific short story by John W. Campbell, though it hasn´t been portrayed in an accurate way in the film (the monster is telepathic, changes form and it plays in the Antartic).
Although Christian Nyby is officially credited as director, there can be no doubt, that producer Howard Hawks is primarily responsible for the structure of the film because of the lightning pacing, overlapping dialogue and a concentration of group dynamics, all trademarks of Howard Hawks.
The movie became a box office success, was praised by the critics and, in time, it even became a classic in the film category science fiction horror to the extent that its formula was repeated again and again since then.
Because of all of this, in 2001, this film was finally deemed as "culturally significant" by the United States Library of Congress and was therefore selected for preservation in the National Film Registry that year.