[box cover]

The Thing from Another World

This seminal classic from 1951 became the prototype for subsequent science fiction-horror hybrids such as Alien. Christian Nyby got the credit, but producer Howard Hawks did the lion's share of directing this Monster Among Us thriller set in an isolated Arctic base. As the plot's scientists and military men get picked off by an intelligent, blood-draining monster with no interest whatsoever in interspecies relations, the film's strengths are all pure Hawks — the snappy pace, strong scenes, rat-a-tat overlapping dialogue, and relaxed, natural performances from actors playing well-delineated professionals who must work together to get the job done. The women are smart and competent (a burgeoning romance is wittily handled), and the script comes peppered with crackling quotables. The result gives us an actioner that still displays greater panache than many of its contemporaries, sci-fi or otherwise. Its concluding pronuoncement — "Keep watching the skies!" — became sci-fi cinema's signature catchphrase.

Warner's DVD release of The Thing from Another World brings us a very good unrestored print of the uncut 87-minute version in its original full-screen aspect ratio. The transfer is sharp with fine definition and black-and-white contrast. Some dirt, scratches, and minor wear are visible throughout, but it's nothing serious. The DD 1.0 monaural audio displays the limited range of its vintage, but it's clean and clear and quite strong. The theatrical trailer is the only supplement. Snap-case.
—Mark Bourne

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