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''The Thing From Another World'' is the first movie based on Creator/JohnWCampbell's novella ''Literature/WhoGoesThere''[[note]]the second being ''Film/TheThing1982''[[/note]], directed in 1951 by Christan Nyby (and produced by Creator/HowardHawks).

The setting is one that will become familiar to viewers of horror films; A small group of people are cut off from the rest of humanity - in this case because they are at the North Pole and the weather is horrible, even interfering with radio communications.

Our hero, Captain Pat Hendry (Kenneth Tobey), and his aircrew along with a stray reporter, fly to the Arctic outpost manned by a scientific expedition under Dr. Carrington (Robert Cornthwaite) to investigate an apparent air crash. It proves to be a FlyingSaucer that is accidentally destroyed when the crew attempt to recover it. However they do discover the body of the presumed pilot frozen in the ice. Needless to say he/it (played by a young [[Series/{{Gunsmoke}} James Arness]]) is not dead, and once defrosted wreaks havoc until stopped by 'an arc of electricity'.

While Hawks' actual role in the film's production has long been debated, ''The Thing'' exhibits his trademarked overlapping dialogue and assertive female characters who neither scream, faint or become hysterical at any point in the proceedings. All screaming, fainting and hysteria is supplied by the male cast - and with good reason. The script is a quick patter of wisecracks and one-liners with minimal exposition that keep the plot moving at breakneck speeds. For what it's worth, the cast members have offered conflicting reports, with some saying he effectively directed nearly all of it and others claiming he only supervised the production. Of course, it could just be that Nyby was so influenced by Hawks he merely imitated his style to the hilt.

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!!Tropes contained within this work:

* AntagonistTitle: The Thing From Another World is the monster.
* ArtisticLicenseGunSafety: Averted. When a panicked, shock-stricken Barnes comes running into the main room and tries to describe what he saw while gesticulating at Hendry's midsection with his sidearm, Hendry quickly takes it away from him.
* BillingDisplacement: Margaret Sheridan (Nikki) somehow got top billing, despite having a less important role - and less film experience - than Kenneth Tobey (Hendry).
* CameFromTheSky
* TheCaptain: Captain Hendry, [[CaptainObvious of course]].
* DeadpanSnarker: Everybody, but especially the reporter Scotty.
* {{Fainting}}: Scotty again!
* FollowTheLeader: ''The Thing From Another World'' influenced Creator/JohnCarpenter in a ''big way'', as well as Creator/RidleyScott.
* ForScience: The cry of Dr. Carrington, who thinks it is the expedition's duty to die to the last man rather than destroy "a source of wisdom". The others dissent.
* ImmuneToBullets: The Thing, of course; what self-respecting alien isn't?
* JamesBondage: Nikki (the love interest) ties up our hero on their second date. Seems he grew octopus hands on their first.
* JumpScare: [[spoiler:Is anyone in the audience ready to see a fully regrown Thing standing [[OhCrap right at the doorway]] when Hendry opens it?]]
* JumpingOffTheSlipperySlope: Dr. Carrington again. He knowingly puts colleagues in harm's way and tries to grow little Things. Nikki kindly suggests he is not himself due to sleep deprivation.
* KarmaHoudini: [[spoiler:Dr. Carrington]]
* KillItWithFire: Hendry: "What do you do with a vegetable?" Nikki: "Cook it." Which leads to -
** InfernalRetaliation: They set a whole room on fire but the Thing gets away. The crew eventually decides to Kill It With Electricity instead.
* MadScientist: Dr. Carrington becomes one.
** More like WellIntentionedExtremist: Carrington only sees a being capable of space travel and other advanced capabilities. Which is why even up to the end he tries ''talking'' to the Thing like it was capable of understanding English... or the concept of mercy...
*** He starts ''off'' as a MadScientist. He wants to defrost the presumed-dead Thing ''right away.'' It's rather clear that they've not got the proper equipment for a necropsy, no less to preserve samples. Cold, meanwhile, preserves rather well.
* ManOnFire: The first time this particular effect was attempted in a movie.
* ManInARubberSuit: Probably the only disappointment about this movie for those who got introduced to the story in ''Film/TheThing1982''.
* MysteriousAntarctica: Except of course this is the Arctic.
* NothingIsScarier: We rarely get to see The Thing, either hidden behind doors [[spoiler:until it's time for a JumpScare]], waiting in the shadows, or running about in the snow with the blizzard covering the view. Making it scarier was that the only way you could tell The Thing was approaching was with [[SensorSuspense Geiger counters]] (it was giving off a low radioactive buzz) that [[OhCrap start clicking faster and faster]]...
** [[spoiler:A good reason we don't get a clear view of The Thing is because the [[SpecialEffectFailure makeup effect]] was pretty obvious]].
* OhCrap: Barnes, when he sees the shadow of the Thing emerging from the block of ice behind him.
* PlantAliens
* PluckyGirl: Nikki keeps her head throughout the crisis.
* PragmaticAdaptation: The original novella used a [[StarfishAlien shape-shifting creature]] that ''ate its victims'' and [[ReplicantSnatching created copies of them]] that could then consume and alter others. The effects of the era made it impossible to film, so the producers changed the Thing into a blood-sucking shambling monster. The [[Film/TheThing1982 remake by Carpenter]] - when [=SFX=] was able to make effective-looking monsters - was more faithful to the novella.
* RecycledInSpace: Thanks to John Carpenter being a ''huge'' fan of the film, the entire SerialKiller genre sprung from this film (thanks to ''Film/{{Halloween 1978}}''), not to mention films like ''Film/{{Alien}}'' and, of course, ''Film/TheThing1982''.
* TheReveal: The [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome scene where the rescue party fans out]] to get an idea of the shape of the crashed airplane... which they quickly recognize is in the shape of a FlyingSaucer!
** The brief moment [[spoiler:when we get a clear view of The Thing... when Hendry opens a door with it [[JumpScare standing RIGHT THERE]].]]
* SealedEvilInACan: Or rather, [[HumanPopsicle Inhuman Popsicle]] evil.
* ShoutOut: Asked if he knows how to use a gun, [=McPherson=] responds, "I saw Gary Cooper in ''Sergeant York''." (Producer Hawks had directed that earlier film.)
* SignatureLine: "KEEP WATCHING THE SKIES!"
* TheSquad: Hendry's gallant flight crew. It is however admittedly difficult to tell one from the other.
* TagalongReporter: Ned "Scotty" Scott.
* YouHaveGotToBeKiddingMe: Scotty's reaction when Dr. Carrington informs them that 'the Thing' is essentially an intelligent carrot.
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