A Few Words About A few words about...™ The Thing from Another World -- in Blu-ray

Robert Harris

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The 1951 version of The Thing was an interesting production for RKO.

Produced by Howard Hawks, shot by Russell Harlan, and with a score by Dimitri Tiomkin, it was a big deal.

James Arness, at 6'6", and not quite settling upon a screen name, played the alien creature. He would still occasionally go by Jim Arness, and had gone by James Aurness for a time.

It would be another few years, until he made his mark as the lead in TV's Gunsmoke.

With various cuts of the film, anywhere from 87 down to 81 minutes, reconstruction from secondary elements was necessary for Warner Archive's new Blu-ray. While there are many dupe sequences, astute viewers should be able to delineate between dupe footage and the pick-ups for the missing shots and sequences.

Bottom line, the film looks as good as can, as RKO elements were never kept in the best of shape.

An extremely important sci-fi film, it belongs in ever serious library, and Warner Archive is to be commended for their work in bringing the film back from the depths.

Image - 3.5

Audio - 4.5

Pass / Fail - Pass

Upgrade from DVD - yes

Very Highly Recommended

RAH
 

Robert Crawford

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My video image grade is 4.0 considering the history and film element conditions. I'm extremely happy with this BD release. What a great film especially considering its influence on the sci-fi genre. It was basically the first of its kind and came out just before "The Day the Earth Stood Still" back in 1951.

People who see it today for the first time might be disappointed, but you have to recognize the ground-breaking status in grading this film in fair manner.
 
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Robert Crawford

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Josh Steinberg

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I had never seen the movie before and just got the new disc. I really enjoyed the movie, and I thought it looked great. Visually, I’d give whats on the disc 4/5, but I’d give it a 5/5 for effort since it’s clear that they did the very best that they possibly could.
 

John Sparks

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It looks like the WB BD was squeezed slightly compared to the DVD.
 

Dick

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Bottom line, the film looks as good as can, as RKO elements were never kept in the best of shape.
But, damn, CAT PEOPLE and its sequel, KING KONG, MIGHTY JOE YOUNG (1948), OUT OF THE PAST, SHE WORE A YELLOW RIBBON (I haven't viewed MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS yet)...these and more look pretty splendid to me. The quality of negative and print storage must have vastly varied from title to title.
 

Robert Crawford

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But, damn, CAT PEOPLE and its sequel, KING KONG, MIGHTY JOE YOUNG (1948), OUT OF THE PAST, SHE WORE A YELLOW RIBBON (I haven't viewed MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS yet)...these and more look pretty splendid to me. The quality of negative and print storage must have vastly varied from title to title.
Those other films in bold weren't cut either.
 

Dick

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Those other films in bold weren't cut either.
Well, KING KONG was based on a reconstruction, albeit from many years ago, and included a bunch of cut scenes that had been reinstated. But the result, while still noticeable, was close to seamless on the latest Blu-ray. Also, I wasn't trying to imply that I didn't get the differences in visual quality between the remastered reissue material (81 minutes) and the recovered 6 minutes. I do. It showed up in my 87-min. super 8mm print from the UK also. I am merely suggesting that each RKO title must have been treated differently in terms of preservation, which is a shame. Probably the locating of cut material and efforts to re-incorporate it into video presentations has been hell on Earth for WB, and maybe that is why we haven't yet had a Blu-ray of THE DEVIL AND DANIEL WEBSTER from Criterion.
 

Lord Dalek

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King Kong was a 35mm nitrate master positive found at the BFI, not a reconstruction.
 
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Douglas_H

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My video image grade is 4.0 considering the history and film element conditions. I'm extremely happy with this BD release. What a great film especially considering its influence on the sci-fi genre. It was basically the first of its kind and came out just before "The Day the Earth Stood Still" back in 1951.

People who see it today for the first time might be disappointed, but you have to recognize the ground-breaking status in grading this film in fair manner.
FWIW, I concur with CrawDaddy's image rating & with the rest of his assessment.
I would add that The Thing was more than just a Sci-Fi film with an intelligent, interesting premise.
To me it was very reflective of the time in a non-anti-red way & was more so a character study in reacting to the unknown.
Yeah, in some ways it's a corny 50's Atomic Fear Film, but that is it's essence.

Like all great Sci-Fi films, it is much more than a Sci-Fi film.
 

kinzoels

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just watched the new blu ray of The Thing From Another World. I think a rating of 3 out of 5 stars for quality is fair..I felt the blacks were a just a little strong at times, preferring the grey scale look of the DVD.The jumping in and out of the originally excised footage is somewhat jarring in this respect.The film has been cleaned up of pinholes and such and this helps. The Sound however is another matter... I never heard this film sound so good.All the instruments sound...well. sound like instruments..a true first for this wonderful and imaginative score (DimitriTiomkin) on video. It's a bit sharper than the DVD for sure, but not with a wow factor. One of my favorites of all time..and Ken Tobey was a great guy!!
 
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kinzoels

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speaking of the score to The Thing From Another World, Film Score Monthly (as I am sure many of you know) released Tiomkins' personal acetates of the entire original soundtrack on CD. A few are even in stereo, and the fidelity is not bad at all. It's great to hear the stuff that was buried under dialog too. Tiomkin was harmonically the most complex (just try singin' some of his melodies) of the great Hollywood movie composers, (Steiner, Rosza, Hermann, Bernstein, Newman etc.) and this is considered a very difficult one to perform as per musical directors of other re-recorded.Suites of it.. I also like to A/B it with Hermanns' The Day The Earth Stood Still, another classic and totally different...If you don't have it, Highly Recommended!!!
 

Richard Gallagher

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FWIW, I concur with CrawDaddy's image rating & with the rest of his assessment.
I would add that The Thing was more than just a Sci-Fi film with an intelligent, interesting premise.
To me it was very reflective of the time in a non-anti-red way & was more so a character study in reacting to the unknown.
.
Agreed. There is one passing reference, early in the film, to the idea that the UFO might be a Russian aircraft, but it is never mentioned again.
 

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