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The Thing from Another World (1951)
Directed by Christian Nyby
John W. Campbell, Jr.’s novella Who Goes There?
has spawned at least two essential North Pole movies: John Carpenter’s unbearably tense and philosophically overdetermined The Thing (1982), and this, the comparatively easygoing directorial debut of editor extraordinaire Christian Nyby (who cut Howard Hawks's Red River, To Have and Have Not
and The Big Sleep
, to name but a few). Captain Hendry (Kenneth Tobey, decidedly less paranoid than Kurt Russell’s MacReady) endeavors to save Earth from an unwelcome visitor (an interstellar vegetable-vampire) while also doing his best not to get waylaid by Margaret Sheridan’s unrelenting come-ons. Hawks’s handiwork is indeed everywhere apparent, but this one is so much more than a mere object of auteurist intrigue. Dan Sullivan (Sep 22 at Moving Image, part of its The Complete Howard Hawks)