The Thing from Another World Blu-ray Review

Thing #1

Much as it may divide us, fear drives the USA. It’s terrorism for some, climate change for others, immigration for more. Post-World War II, in peacetime and economic restoration, enter communism and UFOs. The two intertwined; that flying object might have come from the Ruskies.

The Thing from Another World is the perfect amalgamation of a distinctive American paranoia. It’s of the ‘50s, sure, but adept, intellectual, and suitably fearsome. Nearly 70 years since James Arness donned a mask and thorned gloves to portray an alien invader, this remains quintessential sci-fi for its ability to generously dig into the faults of aggressive, militaristic behavior. Before the era of radioactive mutants, Thing from Another World and Day the Earth Stood Still took our national behavior and threw it back in our face. When asked if everyone listened, the two films replied in unison, “No.”

That the threat comes from another planet acts as a cover. When a UFO is discovered buried in ice, men of a North Pole military base carelessly use thermite as a thawing agent. That sets off a chain of explosions, destroying the evidence. When the occupant is found, encased elsewhere in the ice, he thaws and escapes. The immediate response is to shoot.

Few films of this ilk make such an impassioned plea for science. The Thing from Another World casts Robert Cornwaite as the base’s sense of scientific reasoning, attempting to unravel a bullying attitude toward the visitor. “There are no enemies in science,” he says, devaluing the use of weapons, begging to attempt communication. Rather than fear, use understanding and empathy.

Of course, he ends up being wrong. It’s still an American-produced sci-fi movie.

Thing from Another World builds it thrills out of observation of errant, near-sighted behavior

Thing from Another World fights against naivety and derangement. The military seeks to kill the alien being outright, slipping into a state of raw McCarthyism. This certainly is a movie of the Hollywood blacklist era.

Cornwaite notes the unidentified being is scared, lost, and cold. Instead, the base’s soldiers project their own fear – their hate – against an enemy they know nothing about. Before taking shape as a contained monster-on-the-loose tale, Thing from Another World builds it thrills out of observation, noting errant, near-sighted behavior of a country that didn’t seem to want war to end.

Produced by Howard Hawks, the enthusiastic, energetic, and influential dialog is the best in its class. Characters interact with overlapping and interrupting dialog to sustain a dizzying pace. That speed generates panic, offset by witty comedy. Thing from Another World takes its shots at journalists too. Ned Scott (Douglas Spencer) just wants his photo and a story, neither of which he can secure. He’s ribbed by higher ups who laugh at his effort.

Horror/comedies owe everything to this ingenious script. The sarcasm is out of time, and playful flirtation from star Kenneth Tobey and Margaret Sheridan exhibits a maturity seen in no other genre offering of the ’50s. As a whole, the sci-fi genre needed Thing from Another World to feed.

Video

After taking over a decade to see HD release, Warner Archive sends this classic to Blu-ray in a beautiful presentation. At its peak, Thing from Another World displays beautiful, rich grain structure. With a high resolution source, detail flourishes. All of the wool, leather, and furs worn in the cold weather show immaculate texture. Scenes of Arness never allowed this much sharpness or visibility on the make-up.

Bright and pure without damage, the print hardly looks its age. Brilliant gray scale finds elegant balance between light and dark, both used to perfection. Pure gradients don’t endure any banding. Encoding handles the grain minus any artifacts.

When Thing from Another World shows its age, this comes from nasty chemical dissolves. The process here is worse than most, lowering the quality to sub-DVD resolution and murkiness. Sadly, this is common given the pace and frequency of edits. Given how fantastic this looks everywhere else, Thing from Another World comes from a fine source, and it’s a wonder if there’s room to improve later down the tech line.

Audio

Utilizing a theremin for parts of its score, the DTS-HD track mixes well. Those screechy highs suffer no distortion. Even the low-end pieces feature clean bass.

Dialog isn’t as lucky. The scratchy quality loses out. A little less than top-tier remasters from this time, at least nothing is lost. Thing from Another World’s chatter is the movie’s lasting, integral quality. Thankfully, every piece of it is audible, even with some coarseness.

Extras

One HD trailer (that’s pretty beat up) and another SD trailer make up the bonuses. This one deserves more.

The Thing from Another World
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras

Movie

A masterpiece of its type, The Thing from Another World is as much a movie about aliens and UFO paranoia as it is reflecting the USA’s obsession with fear.

Overall
5
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User Review
5 (1 vote)

The 15 unaltered images below represent the Blu-ray. For an additional 17 Thing from Another World screenshots, early access to all screens (plus the 19,000+ already in our library), 60+ exclusive 4K UHD reviews, and more, support us on Patreon.