Thing from Another World, The (1951): Howard Hawks’ Sci-Fi-Horror

Christian Nyby is formally credited with directing The Thing from Another World (aka The Thing), but rumors continue to persist that it was producer Howard Hawks who actually did most of the helming.

A seminal film, one of the first to combine sci-fi and horror, The Thing was produced by Edward Lasker for Howard Hawks’ Winchester Pictures, and released by RKO Pictures.

James Arness plays “The Thing,” but it’s impossible to recognize him due to low lighting and other effects that obscure his features.

The film stars Margaret Sheridan (who gets top billing), Kenneth Tobey, Robert Cornthwaite, and Douglas Spencer.

Based on the 1938 novella, “Who Goes There?” by John W. Campbell, writing under the pseudonym of Don A. Stuart, the plot concerns a U.S. Air Force crew and scientists who find a crashed flying saucer and a humanoid body frozen in the Arctic ice.

Returning to their remote research outpost with a body, which is still in a block of ice, the team members are forced to defend themselves against the still-alive, malevolent plant-based alien when it’s accidentally defrosted.

Christian Nyby began his career as an editor, cutting numerous films, including two of Hawks best-known features:  The Big Sleep (1946), starring Bogart and Bacall, and Red River (1948), starring John Wayne and Montgomery Clift.  Later on, he directed episodes of major TV series, such as “Gunsmoke” and “Wagon Train.”