FILM

The Observer - The New Review - - FRIDAY 22 -

The Thing from Another World Movies4Men, 8.40am (Christian Nyby, 1951) This tale of ex­trater­res­trial vis­i­ta­tion is more re­strained than John Car­pen­ter’s hy­per-grotesque 1982 re­make The Thing. It’s a strik­ingly aus­tere early en­try in the 1950s Amer­i­can mon­ster movie stakes. The Thing is a be­ing thawed out of ice at the North Pole, which turns out to be more veg­etable than an­i­mal, and with mur­der­ous ten­den­cies. The fi­nal words, “Keep watch­ing the skies,” came to em­body the para­noid thrust of cold war sci­ence fic­tion. The film is also fa­mous for the long-run­ning de­bate over whether its pro­ducer Howard Hawks re­ally di­rected it. Di­rec­tor Nyby – pre­vi­ously Hawks’s ed­i­tor – said he made the film in em­u­la­tion of his boss and that it was no sur­prise if this felt like a Hawks pic­ture: “If you’re tak­ing paint­ing lessons from Rem­brandt, you don’t take the brush out of the mas­ter’s hands.” Jonathan Rom­ney

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