The Thing from Another World

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The Thing from Another World (often referred to as The Thing before its 1982 remake), is a 1951 science fiction film based on the 1938 novella "Who Goes There?" by John W. Campbell, Jr. It tells the story of an Air Force crew and scientists at a remote Arctic research outpost who fight a malevolent plant-based alien being. It stars Kenneth Tobey, Margaret Sheridan, Robert Cornthwaite and Douglas Spencer. James Arness appeared as The Thing, difficult to recognize in costume and makeup. No players are named during the opening credits; the only cast credit is at the movie's end.

In 2001, the film was deemed "culturally significant" by the United States Library of Congress and was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.

Contents

Plot

A U.S. Air Force re-supply crew is officially dispatched by General Fogerty (David McMahon) from Anchorage, Alaska at the unusual request of Dr. Carrington (Robert Cornthwaite), chief of a group of scientists working at a North Pole base, Polar Expedition Six. They have evidence that an unknown flying craft of some kind crashed nearby. Ned Scott (Douglas Spencer), a reporter in search of a story, tags along. A minor romantic sub-plot involves Captain Patrick Hendry (Kenneth Tobey) and Carrington's secretary, Nikki Nicholson (Margaret Sheridan).

Doctor Carrington briefs the airmen, and Doctor Redding (George Fenneman) shows high speed photos of an object moving downward, up and on a straight line - not the movements of a meteor. Hendry wonders to the doctor, "Twenty thousand tons of steel is an awful lot of metal for an airplane." "It is for the sort of aeroplane we know, Captain," Carrington responds. From Geiger counter readings, Hendry's crew and the scientists fly to the crash site aboard the supply team's ski-equipped C-47. The craft is buried in the ice, with a vertical stabilizer protruding from the surface. They are shocked to discover that the shape of the craft is that of a flying saucer. They try to free it with thermite heat explosives, but in doing so accidentally destroy the craft. Crew Chief Sergeant Bob's (Dewey Martin) geiger counter locates a body nearby, frozen in the ice.

They excavate the tall body, preserving it in a large ice block and return to the research outpost as a major storm moves in, making communication with Anchorage very difficult. Some scientists want to thaw out the creature immediately, but Hendry orders everyone to wait until he receives orders from Air Force authorities. Feeling uneasy guarding the body, Corporal Barnes (William Self) covers the ice block with a blanket, not realizing it is an electric blanket, and the creature thaws out, revives and escapes to the outside cold.

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