Classic List: The Women of Howard Hawks

Greetings, all and sundry. After finishing my three post ‘arc’ highlighting the career of Jack Lemmon, I’ve decided to delve and poke around a bit in the arena of Classics. And cast some light upon the easily known and often unsung heroines. Who plied their beauty, moxie and craft to make their often secondary roles in films more memorable. Almost always opposite a strong leading man. And under the deft and knowing touch of a director who knew how to get the best and more from his leads and entire casts.

The director in question is Howard Hawks. To whom action and comedy were second nature. And often front and center. Tools to used to misdirect, while weaving a slow smoldering romance in the bargain. With the women in question being just as strong, witty and clever as their leading men.

To that end, allow me to introduce:

The Women of Howard Hawks


Katharine Hepburn: Bringing Up Baby (1938)

This is the film where I like to think that Mr. Hawks began developing his ear for rapid fire dialogue from both ends of the spectrum. With Cary Grant as a harried, engaged Paleontologist, David. Who wants nothing more than to assemble the skeleton of his Brontosaurus with the aid of the Inter-Costal Clavicle. Secure a huge donation to his museum. Marry the monied, not so girl of his dreams and live happily ever after.

That is, until David happens across Katharine Hepburn‘s Susan. Who’s a bit scatter-brained and irresponsible and rarely explains anything directly. Preferring to go the long way around while trading tee shots at a local golf course. Leaving David completely flummoxed and unprepared for another chance meeting later that night. At a very glamorous party. Where Susan accrues a tear in her gown and a hasty escape to madcap, screwball situations. A pet leopard named ‘Baby’. A wily fox terrier named George, (Asta from ‘The Thin Man‘ series) who steals and buries the Inter-Costal Clavicle. Chance encounters with Susan’s eccentric relations and friends. And a late run in with the local constabulary, while a second leopard escapes from a traveling carnival and makes itself known.

Overall Consensus:

Yes, there is a lot going on in this comedic gem. A given, as the film clocks in at just 102 minutes. The trick is to just sit back and let the magic happen under the deft touch of a proven master. Playing in the sandboxes of visual and aural humor. Using Ms. Hepburn’s elegant delivery and speeding things up, just a skosh, in a verbal game of Ping Pong. Where the serve, meter of the near musical volley and the out of left field slammed finish is under Ms. Hepburn’s control. With an unusually flustered Mr. Grant trying to keep up. It may take a while to find the rhythm between pratfalls and flawlessly timed sight gags. But it is definitely worth the effort!

Jean Arthur: Only Angels Have Wings (1939)

Here’s a great plot idea. Take a half dozen men flying for a fledgling, just scraping to get by mail service that flies over and around the Andes across Bolivia. In sometimes less than airworthy craft. Plying their craft from a close to inaccessible base called Barranca to other shanty towns just as desperate and desolate. Have the motley crew led by self assured, sometimes scruffy, leather flying jacketed and hip holstered Cary Grant and feel the Testosterone swirl and flow.

Into this boys’ club insert not one, but two women. The first, Bonnie Lee. A stranded cabaret singer. Magnificently and wisely brought to life by Jean Arthur. Who is first intrigued by Grant’s mysterious Geoff Carter and his daredevil band of merry men. Then slowly grows to understand who Grant is. What he does and why he does it. And more importantly, how Geoff gets his subordinates to do what they do. Like taking a Ford Tri-Motor up beyond 20,000 feet to test a new Oxygen system while finding a less dangerous path through mountain peaks.

In other word, business as usual. Maintaining an even strain in less that spartan conditions that would send other lesser mortals screaming back home to mother. Yet, Bonnie toughs it out. Trading quips and barbs with Geoff as more is revealed. Even when Barnstorming pilot, Bat Mac Phearson shows up. Evading a checkered past that involved the death of Geoff’s best friend. Seeking a job and acceptance with his wife, Judy (Rita Hayworth) in tow. A bad omen if there ever was one. Since Judy was once an old flame of Geoff’s. All the pilots refuse to fly with Bat. So Judy begs Geoff for a chance. Geoff cedes that Bat can fly, but only the most dangerous flights.

Bat starts to make good. Building some cred until fate intervenes. On a flight in the Tri~Motor, Bat tries to clear the Andes but needs to find another route. Right into a flock of birds that flies through the forward propeller and windshield and paralyzes the Co~pilot. The brother of the man that Bat had abandoned and killed. Bat hangs tough and brings the crippled plane back. At the cost of his co~pilot’s life, but redeeming himself in the eyes of his peers.

Overall Consensus:

One of the earliest and best of the type of film I like to describe as ‘Guy Flicks’. Focusing on the male cast members.Their abilities, faults and foibles. What makes them tick. Usually presented with a Herculean task where a woman may be either a help or a hindrance. In this film, the former is writ large. With Jean Arthur remaining completely feminine and beguiling while never coming close to taking on the ‘Mother’ or ‘Big Sister’ roles so predominant in films of this kind today. Also notable for a distinct lack of a cat fight between Bonnie and Judy. When more than a few key scenes could easily facilitate it.

Rosalind Russell: His Girl Friday (1940)

Hawks shifts gears upwards again in a fast paced, tatta-tat-tat of typewriter keys delivered ‘Battle of the Sexes’ comedy That pits its master of rapid patter, Cary Grant as editor, Walter Burns. Trying to keep up with events of the day amidst many inter office squabbles of The Morning Post. When freshly chapeaued Rosalind Russell shows up as his recently-divorced wife and best reporter, Hildy Johnson. Ready to turn in her resignation. Generally rub Walter’s face in her new found freedom and status with fiance and insurance man Bruce Baldwin. Steadfastly played by Ralph Bellamy.

A natural born schemer and conniver, Walter sees a situation that is tailor made for Hildy’s talents and nose for news. After weathering several machine gun delivered volleys. Walter dangles the bait ever so subtly. Convicted murderer, Earl Williams is due for execution and Walter wants Hildy to cover one last story. Hildy hesitates and Walter slyly slips away to have Bruce arrested over and over again. Keeping him out of the picture as he gives up and goes back to Albany and Hildy does what she does best. Asks rapid fire questions that leave many men flustered and stumbling and well in her dust.

Soon it is discovered that the Governor has issued a reprieve for Williams. But the local Mayor and Sheriff covet this execution for re-election and bribe the delivery man to go away until after the deed is done. Hildy and Walter follow leads and find the reprieve and an escaped Williams inside a roll-top desk in the press room of a local police precinct. Just in time to bring the curtain down on the crooked Mayor and Sheriff. And avoid a kidnapping charge for Walter.

All wrapped up in a Happy Ending. Almost. Walter asks Hildy to remarry him and spend their Honeymoon at Niagara Falls. On the way, they can cover a story about a strike in Albany.

Overall Consensus:

Not exactly a screwball comedy. More of a ‘What can possibly go wrong?’ comedy. Delivered by proven master, Grant. With the aid and assistance of Ms. Russell. Who had read the lines of Hildy Johnson for Mr. Hawks. Who liked her meter and quick delivery. Which created a re-write and made Hildy female, instead of male. Thus, a Classic was born.

This is another instance of Hawks heightening femininity. Near a wasted effort in Ms. Russell’s more than competent hands. Delivered in an opening salvo within seconds of her entrance in the Post’s City Desk and her first interdiction with Walter. Ms. Russell’s lines are lilting at first. Evolving quickly into a stepped on, verbal firefight. That ends with Walter easily ducking Hildy’s angrily thrown purse as his back is turned. A splendid bit of cinema well worth the price of admission.

The story just gets better once Hildy takes the bait and pursues the story. Looking like a million dollars in a different ensemble and hat as she quickly asks a second and third follow up question. When those she asks are stumbling with the first. Not only great examples of writing, timing and delivery, but superb glimpses into determined, yet subtle feminine wiles. Of a class and with style not seen in decades.

Barbara Stanwyck: Ball of Fire (1941)

Mr. Hawks takes a turn for the whimsical with an egg headed adaptation of ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarves’. Led by tall, stiff and often stoic Gary Cooper as Professor Bertram Potts. Who, with the aid of his seven learned colleagues desires to assemble an Encyclopedia of Human Knowledge. With a special addendum to contemporary slang to be penned by Potts.

At a loss for where to begin, Potts ventured off to a local Burlesque and becomes enamored of Miss ‘Sugarpuss O’Shea, a dancer of notable talent brought saucily to life by Ms. Stanwyck. On again, off again girlfriend of crime boss, Joe Lilac. Played with an inflated ego and a touch of slime by Dana Andrews. Who uses the Burlesque as a front for his various nefarious enterprises.

It seems that Sugarpuss is just as intrigued by Professor Potts as he is smitten with her. As events quickly unfold, there is a falling out between Sugarpuss and Joe. And she winds up on the Professor’s doorstep looking for a place to lay low. Potts objects at first. Slightly less than Kathleen Howard’s very set in her ways, Miss Bragg, the Housekeeper. But sees what a breath of fresh air and wonderment she is for his mainly bachelor, content to be cloistered colleagues. Teaching them the latest colloquialisms between impromptu Conga lines. While Potts starts to fall in love and soon proposes to Sugarpuss.

Sugarpuss says yes. But as luck would have it. Joe finds out about Sugarpuss being AWOL and sends some of his boys to find her and bring her home. Seems that Joe has marriage on his mind as well, but more to keep his activities quiet than marital bliss. With Sugarpuss on her way. A few of Joes’ hired help keep the Professor and his merry men in check and at gunpoint until the nuptials are over.

Determined to find a solution, Professor Potts begins a roundabout lecture with his colleagues to distract their keepers. That involves scientific theory, a bit of double talk, a reflecting magnifying glass and the slender cord holding a large painting above the head of pistol wielding, Duke Pastrami (Dan Duryea). Science wins the day and the Professor and his gang is off to save the day. Kind of, but yes.

Overall Consensus:

Ms. Stanwyck rules the day and the roost once she becomes the focus of attention. Easily taking Pott’s and his clowder of collegiate professors’ breath away with her insouciance and bold for its day, sexuality. Sugarpuss wows from a distance and close up. Turning a gaggle of aged egg heads into if not wide eyed boys, then not so clumsy teenagers.

A rare treat to watch, considering the treasure trove supporting Seven Dwarves. Familiar faces, shapes and sizes. With distinct, unique dictions and deliveries. From Oskar Homolka and S.Z. Sakall. To Richard Haydn and Aubrey Mather. All add something innocent and memorable. And Ms. Stanwyck has them all. Including Potts, wrapped around her little finger without even knowing it.

Joanne Dru: Red River (1948)

Take an iconic John Wayne Chisholm Trail Western. Add a quick on the trigger youngster who’s anxious to prove himself and put him under the Duke’s wing. Teach him everything there is to know about cattle, riding, horses and shooting. Send him off to college to return as Montgomery Clift. Just in time for the first major cattle drive from Texas to Kansas.

Fill out the hired hands for the drive with Walter Brennan, Noah Beery Jr., John Ireland and Harry Carey and his son. Add a thousand head of cattle, give or take. A few roving bands of Indians. A hand who has more than a sweet tooth for sugar. A cattle stampede. A cause for a flogging and a break up between John Wayne and Montgomery Clift. Who takes what cattle has been rounded up and head towards Abilene.

En route, a wagon train full of settlers in ambushed by Indians and Clift rides to the rescue. Staving off a second wave attack and then aiding Tess Millay (Joanne Dru). Gorgeous, worldly, with a spine of steel. Who doesn’t scream or panic when an arrow pierces her shoulder. Instantly intrigued by this handsome hero who removes the arrow and patches her up as the Indians retreat. Then using her discreet wiles, finds out more about Clift’s troubled Matt Garth. His life, dreams and tenuous relationship with his adoptive father, John Wayne’s Thomas Dunson.

Not even raising an eyebrow as Matt and the drive leaves and Dunson crosses her path a short time later. Going out her way to feed Dunson and pour some drinks. While secreting a derringer in the sling supporting her left arm. Dunson sees it and remains unimpressed as the ice is broken and Tess learns so much more.

Overall Consensus:

Red River is one of the rare films by Howard Hawks whose ending I thought was rather weak and could have stood some re-write and several more takes. That said, everything else is an expansive and wondrously executed example of what one should expect from a master.

The men are men. Sins, secrets, shortcomings and all. The few women in attendance are tough, because the environment demands it, but much more so in Tess Millay. Who can see through the rough exteriors of men and read them within moments of first meeting them. Where Tess is calm, curious and a bit demure with Matt Garth. As she looks through and weighs Matt’s unseen baggage and finds him worth her time.

Then turns the coin to cold, succinct and somewhat callous for her tete a tete with Wayne’s Tom Dunson. With a demeanor better suited for a saloon or brothel as she deals Black Jack single handed for Dunson as she decides whether or not to shoot him. Though it is there for only a few brief moments. It is great talent rising to the moment and pulling it off flawlessly!

Which leaves room for Dessert and….

Honorable Mention:

Margaret Sheridan: The Thing from Another World (1951)

In order to create a round half dozen in chronological order. I’ve tacked on this actress and film. Even if Mr. Hawks is noted as its producers. There’s too much of his trade craft and trademark fingerprints all over this offering to think that was all he added.

The story circles around a group of Quonset Hut bound scientists who discover something has crashed to Earth near their station at the North Pole. A cargo plane and its crew arrive to explore further and bring back another something frozen in a long block of ice. That thaws and releases the Thing inside. Who has a taste for human blood and sprouts seed pods that can create more Things.

Nearly invisible in this pond of Testosterone and superior gray matter is Ms. Sheridan‘s Science Assistant and stenographer, Nikki. For whom there are few secrets. An extremely good listener who occasionally offers off-hand comments and advice that are bankable. As well as taking note of details that others quickly miss.

Easily holding her own amongst the Brainiacs and Poindexters of Polar Expedition-6. While never dallying in the realm of panic and ‘Scream Queen’.


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Well, what do you think of the women of Howark Hawks? Do share your thoughts about this list in the comments.

Classic Review: The Thing from Another World (1951)

Greetings all and sundry! A few weeks ago, Ruth suggested I take a look at the ‘Classics’ and come up with an appropriate critique of a film from yesteryear. My mind virtually tumbled with titles as one continuously rose from the cinematic landscape to give pause and grab attention. As it had more than fifty years ago. To that end. I present you:

Loosely based on the very short story, Who Goes There? by John W. Campbell Jr. and comprised of a snug, compact 87 minutes. This film is the epitome of cinematic story telling. With a beginning, middle and end all under the deft, masterful touch of Howard Hawks. Even if Christian Nyby is credited as the director. Mr. Hawks‘ fingerprints are all over this minor masterpiece!

The story begins in the middle of a blustery snow storm wreaking havoc on one corner of an Air Force Base and its Officers’ Club outside of Anchorage, Alaska. The howling wind blows reporter Ned Scott into the club to thaw out and stumble across the crew of C-47 assigned to the base trading quips and playing poker. Pleasantries are exchanged as Captain Pat Hendry. Marvelously played with a nonchalance that would set the tone for countless other ‘Red Scare’ Science Fiction films, by Ken Tobey;  is told to report to General Fogarty right away.

It seems that Polar Expedition Six, a small outpost up near the North Pole has reported an anomaly that bears closer investigation. Not much more to go on. Take your plane, some sleds and a dog team and check it out. Cut to the C-47 in flight. With sheet metal skis wrapped around its extended landing gear as the crew and Ned Scott ponder what the mystery is all about. A clue is revealed as the plane’s navigator notices the magnetic compass is off. That initiates a radio call to the expedition so the plane can follow its signal.

The plane lands and is bedded down for the night and the crew meets the scientists of PX6. Headed by Dr. Arthur Carrington. Egghead extraordinaire and recipient of countless kudos and awards. Arrogantly played with a heavy dash of elitist smarm by Robert Cornwaite. Who lords over a clutch of lower tier, like minded individuals. Including Drs. Redding (George Fenneman, emcee of You Bet Your Life),  Vorrhees (Paul Frees), Wilson (Everett Glass), Chapman (John Dierkes), Laurence (Norbert Schiller) and Ambrose (Edmond Breon). All aided by Nikki Nicholson. Resplendent and smartly played by Margaret Sheridan. Who Captain Hendry has more than a subtle interest in.

Discussion is quick, jumbled and often stepped upon as this trip further north is discerned. Something large, fast, heavy and metallic passed through the arctic atmosphere several hours earlier. Close enough to set off time delay cameras and seismographs miles away to catch what could be a meteor, but isn’t on film. And its location determined through the math of sound traveled to sensitive microphones. Cue the scary, way ahead of its time Theramin track as another flight is put together to find out what fell out the sky.

The mission lands not far from a flaw in the ice that is visible at altitude. The scientists, crew and dog sled teams are assembled and head off to discover a few feet of what looks like vertical stabilizer poking up through the ice. Samples are filed off and collected as the explorers peel off in all directions and find that they are standing in a circle above the unknown intruder! Picks, shovels and axes are discarded in favor of  quicker, easier to use Thermite. Charges are placed and spectacularly set off. And whatever it was sinks below the polar ice. But not before something is ejected away and much closer to the surface and found by the always clever Crew Chief, Dewey Martin behind a handy Geiger Counter.

The foreign object is exhumed, but kept in a block of ice that is loaded on a dog sled. Loaded on the plane and brought back to the gaggle of Quonset huts that make up PX-6. The block of ice is kept in a freezer and a guard posted. Messages are sent southeast to Anchorage and General Fogarty. The ether virtually sings with far too many questions that have no answers. Orders given that makes Dr. Carrington smugly happy as Captain Hendry and crew plan for many long days ahead. Though Hendry does manage some quality time with Nikki that involves alcohol and rather tame rope bondage found in the film’s restored footage.

As the visitor in the frozen block of ice scares the posted guard silly. The guard wraps himself in an electric blanket. Then puts the blanket on the block of ice to cover the Thing’s creepy eyes that the guard swears are following him! The blanket questionably melts the ice and the Thing escapes, but not before taking a few rounds from the guard’s .45 before making its getaway.

Surprisingly, panic does not ensue as the crew, eggheads and Nikki discuss what the Thing is and what its plans may be. Carrington is all for abiding by General Fogarty’s orders to keep whatever it is alive at all costs, but Hendry and his crews have their doubts. A search is  conducted, both inside and outside. An arm and its hand are recovered and examined. Remaining perfectly still throughout the discussion and dissection. Then slowly begins to move and add its two cents. Notes are taken by Nikki as a consensus is arrived  upon. The Thing isn’t human, but vegetable! Impervious to most any kind of damage. So, what does one do with or to an alien, radioactive vegetable?

“Boil it. Cook it. Or fry it?” Nikki suggests whimsically as Hendry and his crew run with the idea. Moving from the Greenhouse throughout. Gathering whatever implements of destruction they can while nailing down and barricading doors with whatever is handy. An idea is hit upon by the Crew Chief as clumsy sounds of breaking and entry echo through empty connecting hallways. Kerosene is poured into a bucket. Lights are turned off and a Flare Pistol unwrapped as the Day Room plunges into darkness. Its door is flung open and the Thing makes its entrance.

Silhouetted and back lit, the Thing shambles in. To meet an axe from the Co-Pilot. A large splash of Kerosene and an igniting flare. The Thing bursts into flame. Its arms swing and catches Nikki’s protective mattress aflame before the Thing retreats and dives through a nearby window as the storm wails and billows outside. Damage control is assessed as wounds are tended to and the Thing’s steps retraced and dead, drained of  blood sled dogs are discovered stuffed in a cabinet. Reassessment is called for and repairs are made as an inventory of medical supplies is made and a question arises. One of the scientists was injured in the latest fracas, but is not being given plasma. Hendry asks Nikki about it and she reveals that the injured scientist in being transfused by others of his own blood type. The plasma is being used by Dr. Carrington. Who’s quickly sliding into Mad Scientist territory. With an IV of plasma feeding the Thing’s discarded, pod seed sprouting appendage in the Greenhouse.

Now the panic, though low keyed begins to rear its ugly head. As Nikki notices kibbitzing exhaled breaths starting to mist in the chilling air. The Thing has cut off the oil to the connected Quonset Huts’ heating system! A more elegant trap is thought up involving wire fencing, a wooden pallet walkway and arcs of high voltage, high amperage electricity. The question remains, will the Thing fall into the trap? The Geiger Counters watched by scattered guards start climbing and seem to hint so. The Guards retreat to the compound’s main generator as the Thing makes its presence known. Lights are extinguished along the way as the generator suddenly goes off line, courtesy of the now mad Dr. Carrinton. Who has a Mexican Stand-off before being rushed and supposedly subdued.

The power comes back on, but the Thing is leery. Uncertain what do do as he ambles off the pallet walkway. Picks up a heavy wooden 4X4 and leaps back on to avoid a tossed axe. Dr. Carrington dashes out and lets his liberal, scientific heart bleed as he tries to coax the Thing into understanding and cognizance of its superiority over humans. Which appears boring and doesn’t much  impress the Thing. Who blithely knocks Dr. Carrington aside and steps into three curling arcs of electricity. That elicit strange sounds from the soon smoldering, eventually melting, collapsing Thing.

Captain Hendry wants to keep the arc running until there’s nothing left as focus shifts to the dining hall. As the outside storm abates enough for communication back to Anchorage. Now inundated with reporters the world ’round. As Ned Scott puts the best possible spin on the situation
with a final urgent plea to everyone listening “To Watch The Skies!”.

What Makes This Film Good?

Less than an-hour-and-a-half loaded to the brim with superbly executed story telling in glorious, shadowy, claustrophobic B&W. With no excess fat or time devoted to sub-plots or extraneous nonsense. Evenly distributed over a cast of familiar, though unknown faces. Who stalwartly maintain the film’s B-Movie mystique. As more and more is discovered about the crew and expedition’s unwanted guest.

Ken Tobey is the absolute definition of a post WWII, 1950s savvy military officer. Calm and often humorous in the face of unknown adversity. Near fatherly in his patience with his wise cracking crew and the slowly unraveling, effete Dr. Carrington. Willing to listen to the good Doctor at first. Less so when his crew and the expedition and its compound are threatened. Mr. Tobey sets the bar very high for many, distinctly of its time, ‘Us versus Them, Red Scare’ Science fiction films.

The ensemble of actors and their assorted lesser scientists, egg heads and Poindexters  in attendance are all spot on. From George Fenneman and his Varsity sweatered Dr. Redding to Eduard Franz’s whiz kid Dr. Stern. To Nicholas Byron’s tall and laconic, radio operator ‘Tex’ Richards. All deliver admirably in their short times on screen.

Robert Cornwaite’s elegant, arrogant, elite Dr. Carrington. Absolutely brimming with  condescension towards Captain Hendry and his crew. Who would dare sully his arctic resort of pure science with their military sidearms, carbines and narrow thinking. The absolute embodiment of post war, effete, bleeding heart liberal whom Senator Joseph McCarthy would soon be warning people about.

Last but not least, the Thing itself! Future Marshal Matt Dillion. James Arness in high fore headed, near silent alien drag. Deliberately left out of the picture until those times when fully needed and rarely long enough (Inset Jaws reference here!) for recognition.

What Makes This Film Great?

Once you get past the Winchester Pictures/RKO Radio Pictures start up. Hawks lets you know that you are not in Kansas, anymore. As a blank scree slowly catches fire to eerie, unearthly sounds provided by a Theramin. A musical instrument that creates sound without being touched.
Also used by Edward Hermann in The Day the Earth Stood Still the same year. Check out the first twelve bars of The Beach Boys’ Good Vibrations to get an idea of its sound as the fire burns and reveals the film’s title and sets up the story.

The stepped on dialogue and plethora of unfinished thoughts and sentences that abound in the film. Yet move it along in an easily understood way. The elongated scene when Captain Hendry and his crew meet the scientists and staff of PX-6 is wonderful to step tentatively into. Then slowly, comfortably bask in.

The lush, sometimes shadowy B&W cinematography by Russell Harlan adds a deft touch of suspense and seems to heighten the inherent claustrophobia in many shots. Coming to a head when the Thing invades the Day Room. Is ambushed and set ablaze. A wonderful piece of action on a blackened set. With only the back lighting from an open door illuminating the scene until the Thing is lit ablaze. Wreak havoc and escapes in a stunt that would be hard pressed, sans CGI to be accomplished today.

Dimitri Tiomkin’s mysterious, often Theramin infused soundtrack keeps the tension and fear of the unknown percolating as more and more of the Thing’s handiwork is laid bare. Especially when the deceased sled dogs are discovered and when Hendry and his crew stumble across and unload on the Thing moments later.

The chemistry between Ken Tobey’s Captain Hendry and Margaret Sheridan’s Nikki is palpable and fun. Though it is Nikki who subtly steals every scene she’s in. Making more than the most of a role that creates the prototype for Sigourney Weaver’s Warrant Officer Ripley in Ridley Scott’s Alien, decades later.

The Film’s Mystique:

Though initially and for years after regarded as a B-Movie. The Thing from Another World does fill many categories in that style of film, but is so much more. Due basically to having a proven master in Howard Hawks. Calling the shots while delving into a genre of film not attempted before. And obviously having a ball in the process as his exceptional artisans and cast exceed all expectations. While making a gift of the title of director to Christian Nyby, who had edited The Big Sleep and Red River for Mr. Hawks.

The film’s overall mystique and ability to hold up so well through the years may have been a large part of its being nominated to the National Film Registry in 1951 and inducted in 2001.


Check out Jack’s profile page and links to his other reviews


Thoughts on this film? Do share ’em in the comments.