Universal Monster Army

Cinematic Creeps => Classic Monster Movies => Topic started by: Creepy on June 16, 2018, 09:01:08 AM

Title: Them! - Revisited
Post by: Creepy on June 16, 2018, 09:01:08 AM
I posted this over at the CHB as well, but wanted to share my thoughts here.

I watched  Them! last night with my adult son. Every time I watch this classic I come away with a renewed sense of just how good the film is. Many modern Directors could do themselves a favor by watching this film to learn how to craft an amazing film on a limited budget.

The first thing this classic does well is craft a great story. The tension was palpable from the opening scene to the end. The story was simple, yet easily built upon. They stayed away from distracting side plots, like a love story (there were shades, but not much), and remained focused. This helped keep my attention from beginning to end.

The cast was amazing. Each actor/actress carried their roles and took them seriously. I can't think of any character that didn't work, with the possible exception of the drunk guy. The child actress who played the little girl in the desert sold the role! She was amazing and amped up the creep factor tremendously.

The writing was top-notch. For a B-Movie, the screen writers kept the dialogue crisp and to the point. The "science" was presented in a believable way, without drawing through needless exposition.

Finally, and this may be the most important thing a modern Director could learn, they did not rely on their effects. In fact, it appears that they knew the limitations of their "monsters" and used them sparingly, but effectively. The use of the ant's sound effect produced a much better sense of dread, then the big bugs themselves.

All in all, I love this film. It is easily in my Top 10 Sci-Fi films of all time. For the 50's, only Forbidden Planet, nudges it out. It's probably tied with Day the Earth Stood Still, for me.
Title: Re: Them! - Revisited
Post by: ChristineBCW on June 16, 2018, 10:56:15 AM
I'm a big fan, and our whole movie-going crowd is, too.  We saw it a few months ago at the downtown theater, and it was just terrific on the big-screen.

The opening scene is - as you said - CRAFTED. 

I will quibble with one point - the 'drunk guy' is Olin Howland and he IS the "over the top" character but a rather wonderful bit of comic relief.  And Olin's drunk-ward roommate is another favorite of mine, Harry Wilson, who would later be insisting he was with George 'Spats' Raft at Rigoletto's, instead of machine-gunning rival mobsters.

(Fans of John Wayne westerns should recognize Olin Howland from THE ANGEL AND THE BADMAN as the town's telegraph operator, and the one who stands at the bar, telling Bruce 'Laredo Stevens' Cabot that he wondered how many drinks it'd take before 'Laredo' faced John Wayne in the showdown.) 

My only quibble about acting comes from the Little Girl's Aunt, who stands behind her as Edmund Gwenn waves a beaker full of 'formic acid' under the girl's nose, driving her into hysterics.  The Auntie is a bit dawdling and mis-times her caring hug, I thought.  (TALK ABOUT NITPICKY!!  Yeah... that's my only quibble.)

Fess Parker's dropping hospital pants in the Psyche Ward was the other bit of comic relief, and I thought that was well-done in a ham-fisted way with Matt Dil - er, James Arness's well-timed warning to the doctor not to release Fess until DAVY CROCKETT, DANIEL BOONE and the color-TV hit the big-time. 

You addressed the rather crummy marionette monsters perfectly - their sound, their brief appearances and few human-vs-marionette scenes were done so well that all complaints of anti-realism are shrugged off.  It's an EFFECT - it doesn't have to be REAL.  And their effect is perfect.

I continually nominate THEM's opening scene (up to the point of the Deputy dying in a hail of gunfire, ant-sounds and his screams) for Best-Of lists. 

James Arness' whining "C'mon - speak English - we're all grownups here!" and Edmund Gwenn's stall-tactics with his beautiful daughter Joan Weldon in tow... another set of well-crafted relationships that work throughout the film.  Arness' elbow-to-ribs comment to Whitmore "I hope she's the kind of doctor who can fix sick people because I think I've got a fever coming on." 

And the little digging comments from Whitmore who tells his office visitor, "He's with the FBI so watch yer language" and "I thought all you G-Men were whiz kids."  These are so well done, so perfectly timed and delivered. 

No one could have believed this would be a major film in any of the participants' careers.  None should claim this as their career highlight - but they all deliver spot-on, near-perfect performances.  All of them will have bigger, better roles in their career but this is ONE FINE FILM.

It's one that I'll very much look forward to it's 100th Anniversary (2054) and enjoy its likely successful celebration.  THIS is what '50s Monster Movies is all about.
Title: Re: Them! - Revisited
Post by: ChristineBCW on June 16, 2018, 11:06:59 AM
On a more succinct note, I used to think these '50s monster films would be perfect for CGI updates but after seeing Pus Van Zant's PSYCHO and the horrible remake of JASON & THE ARGONAUTS, I realize it's not CGI or the monsters that need updates - it's the humans behind the camera that are slimply AWFUL compared to the original filmmakers.
Title: Re: Them! - Revisited
Post by: Mike Scott on June 16, 2018, 11:09:49 AM
Fans of John Wayne westerns should recognize Olin Howland from THE ANGEL AND THE BADMAN

Fans of '50s sci-fi should recognize him as THE BLOB's first victim!

It's one that I'll very much look forward to it's 100th Anniversary (2054) and enjoy its likely successful celebration.

I'll be 101, so don't hold a seat for me.
Title: Re: Them! - Revisited
Post by: Creepy on June 16, 2018, 11:59:07 AM

James Arness' whining "C'mon - speak English - we're all grownups here!" and Edmund Gwenn's stall-tactics with his beautiful daughter Joan Weldon in tow... another set of well-crafted relationships that work throughout the film.  Arness' elbow-to-ribs comment to Whitmore "I hope she's the kind of doctor who can fix sick people because I think I've got a fever coming on." 

And the little digging comments from Whitmore who tells his office visitor, "He's with the FBI so watch yer language" and "I thought all you G-Men were whiz kids."  These are so well done, so perfectly timed and delivered. 

No one could have believed this would be a major film in any of the participants' careers.  None should claim this as their career highlight - but they all deliver spot-on, near-perfect performances.  All of them will have bigger, better roles in their career but this is ONE FINE FILM.

It's one that I'll very much look forward to it's 100th Anniversary (2054) and enjoy its likely successful celebration.  THIS is what '50s Monster Movies is all about.

I also chuckled when they were going into the original ant mound and Gwenn told them they needed to be sure the gas saturated the tunnels, and Arness mumbled "let's get this done, and I'll show how saturated I can get".
Title: Re: Them! - Revisited
Post by: ChristineBCW on June 16, 2018, 01:36:40 PM
So many excellent lines... this and THE THING were chockful of these quips, making their dialog one big factor in the rewatchability factor, I think. 

Another factor, I think, is that so many familiar character actors stock the "scenery" behind the lead actors.  Olin Howland, Fess Parker, even that short bit of Harry Wilson and Leonard Nimoy 'get their own clips'.  But those meetings around tables, filled with faces we see over and over...

Willis Bouchey, who is some nameless WashDC official in THEM apparently gets his MD in the next 8 years and becomes Mrs. Drysdale's doctor as she goes flying out the Beverly Hills hospital window. 

William Shallert may have driven his only ambulance in this film.  Or maybe he wasn't yet qualified as The Driver - he's on the passenger side, at the back. 

Richard Deacon's sister hadn't married Alan Brady yet, so he was a lowly reporter in Los Angeles, until she helped nab him the TV producer's job in New Yawk City.

Dub Taylor had the job as the railroad watchman until he 'lost' that train car full of sugar.  Oh well.  He'd had another 200-odd jobs afterwards, according to his IMDB listing.

And IMDB is a pretty interesting vehicle to measure a film's popularity - every year when I look over Full Cast Listing for THEM, I discover more and more "uncredited" roles being filled in with actors' names.  This is takes a lot of work and some pretty deep digging into records for the rest of us to enjoy.  I thank all those folks.
Title: Re: Them! - Revisited
Post by: Lunkenstein on June 16, 2018, 10:23:48 PM
This has always been one of my favorites.  I've seen it twice on the big screen in the last few years and both times the audiences have been thoroughly drawn in. A true classic that defines excellent film making and will stand the test of time forever.
Title: Re: Them! - Revisited
Post by: skully on June 17, 2018, 12:12:02 AM
Of all the "bug" type movies of the time, such as "Beginning of the End",  Tarantula, The Black Scorpion, The Deadly Mantis, The Monster that Challenged the World, Monster from Green Hell, Earth VS the Spider, with the possible exeption of "The Fly",  and others that I might have missed, such as Wasp Woman, "Them" does stand out as the best of the lot.
Title: Re: Them! - Revisited
Post by: Monsters For Sale on June 17, 2018, 05:55:30 PM

One of my favorite elements of the film is that they don't hit you over the head with the monster in the first 10 seconds of the story.

The movie allows the mystery to linger and the tension to build until the proper time to unveil the culprits.

Title: Re: Them! - Revisited
Post by: ChristineBCW on June 17, 2018, 10:10:34 PM
The question for me remains: "Why am I so willing to accept the silly effects yet I'll shred CGI films (like Peter Jackson's 2005 KING KONG because of its 1976-Atari style ice-skating effect)?" 

For one, there is a rewatchability fact, not just a factor.  I can rewatch these films any number of times, and will into the future.  I doubt I'll ever have the patience to rewatch Pus Van Zant films or Petey's exhausting, tiresome, boring KONG.  "Are they STILL falling down that 597-mile crevice?!!  Is Naomi STILL pretending she can do the Charleston?"

Why are these CGI entries so intolerable to my sensibilities when THEM or the giantized overlay monsters so silly?  Well... maybe at least they're not boring.  Is that it?  I don't know.  I know those fun films are filled with familiar character actors, and spotting them is almost a game beyond the film itself.  They are entertainment, therefore.
Title: Re: Them! - Revisited
Post by: Mike Scott on June 17, 2018, 11:39:46 PM
I would have loved it if the producers of THEM! had hired Harryhausen to do the effects!
Title: Re: Them! - Revisited
Post by: ChristineBCW on June 18, 2018, 07:51:22 AM
Or Willis O'Brien.  Three years later, his BLACK SCORPION was delivered with several of my most-favorite-est stop-action scenes.  Of course, my most-favorite is Harryhausen's rise of Talos...

(https://i.pinimg.com/originals/19/60/0c/19600c306b6abebcf2ecfaaab6600264.jpg)

But 'second best' is still an incredible achievement. 

(https://media.giphy.com/media/12Dh8xhI4SinII/giphy.gif)

Still... I continue to wonder, "Why can I tolerate the obviously-unreal effects so easily, whereas the far more realistic CGIs are practically a flag I can wave around, hailing some crummier film?" 

THEM's opening scene, I think, has some power (a treasure?) that grabs me and I am so immersed that all those silly details never shake me away from the goodness of the film itself.  Too much great dialog.  Too many excellent characters on-screen.  Too many more littering all the backgrounds.  Too many fun-to-watch scenes (even "Make me a sergeant in charge of the booze!" and "My noives!"). 

Heck, even the dreadful GIANT CLAW marionette is fun to watch as it swirls and pivots like a piņata but the actors scream and react sooo perfectly.  CREATURE WITH THE ATOM BRAIN, another silly costuming 'effect' but it's just perfect for that film. 

Are the films themselves so superior?  I think Peter Jackson's KONG has some good portions.  I love that first hour of the back-story; but jeepers, rewatching it?  I never have... I'm glad it was included, but it's sooo long and drawn out, sooo slow.  But, considering the scenes that will soon be delivered, none of those are much more compelling.  Hence, my rewatchability desire for his KONG is exceedingly low.   I've seen Willis O'Brien's original three times on the big-screen since, and another time or two on TV.  But I've never rewatched Jackson's except for a few isolated scenes. 
Title: Re: Them! - Revisited
Post by: skully on June 18, 2018, 12:39:19 PM
Well, I sort of feel the same way here.  Using "Kong" as an example, the special effects are great, but, I remember years ago when Jurassic Park just came out, went to the local movie house and was "floored" by the special effects, however afterwards, I felt that the "top" has finally been reached and probably all subsequent future movies would all be the same in terms of (again) special effects. It's a little tough to explain, the older movies had a lot of mystery to them (the good ones anyway), and you couldn't wait to see the monster, it was the anticipation that helped build up the viewing pleasure (or horror) and it was usually always something different which led to a startling (or laughing) event.  I guess to put it simply, we now know sort of what to expect with the newer movies as far as "visual" effects. As I mentioned, they all use the same techniques now, but with the younger movie viewers, if they were never really exposed to the earlier flicks, it's tough for them to really compare (which is probably why a lot of them just say that early horror flicks are dumb).  Just take, for example, one of my favorite movies like "The Haunting", the original from 1963. Actually no real special effects were used, but if it doesn't scare the crap out of you while watching it alone in a dark room late at night, then there's something wrong!!
Title: Re: Them! - Revisited
Post by: ChristineBCW on June 18, 2018, 01:26:02 PM
Now that's an interesting concept... "Has my realism quest been satisfied, it's no big deal so therefore I can't be impressed over and over?"

Take a look at the original STAR WARS that Luas re-edited new CGI effects into.  They were, well, interesting but I considered their add-on value to be negligible.  ET - where political correctness had an edited-out gun in one of the later scenes replaced by a cigar in that hand.  Did anyone truly yell for joy over this oh-so-gracious polite nod?

I suspect we have not seen the ultimates in dino's because I doubt we've seen The Real Skin of dinosaurs depicted yet.  I think, in a hundred years, dino discoveries will yield yet another type.  (No... I have strongest doubts about Vegas Showgirl costumes but, heck, who knows!  "Give me that feather boa or ELSE!!"  Yeah... tux & tails, maybe, though... top hat... "Puttin' on the ritz...")

I'm not sure where gore will go.  With autopsy-TV scenes taking us into blood systems and body parts, with gut-splatterings and gunshot-to-an-eye-for-boys, I'm not sure today's zombie gorefests are substantially different than the original FRIDAY THE 13th or HALLOWEEN scenes.  I vividly recall one little girl using a mason's trowel on her stumbling mother in a darkened basement more than any of modern gore's scenes. 

Because it was The Scene that was completely imprinted on me.  Not just a recipe for goo and bits.

I still can't discount the impact that First Ever Viewings has on our memories and that, now, with so many gory or jump-out-of-the-dark scenes, they can only be temporarily set inside my head, soon to be shoved aside by parade of others. 

"Have I seen The Most Realistic so I'm no longer impressed by all of these follow-on's?"  Hmmm...

This would explain why I can shrug off Effects so easily - because those are just effects.  Not scenes.  Anyone making marinaro sauces can attest to the nature of Splatters.  But having dear ol' dad come stumbling down the stairs, seeing his li'l girl eat her mother and fail to defend his dying self, well... that's why Duane Jones comes down those steps later and sees the little girl eating Daddy's arm like a giant beef rib.  Mmm mmm...
Title: Re: Them! - Revisited
Post by: skully on June 18, 2018, 02:27:45 PM
You "nailed" it pretty good!  After Jurassic Park, as I mentioned as an example, you already know what the effects will be, for the following sequences for the other Jurassic movies that followed. Kind of like a "been there-done that" situation. It's like a thought like, OK, what can really "wow" me now??  Same goes for practically all the other movies that follow now a days with these same movie effects. It took a lot of unique writing and camera work, along with the process of creating and "displaying" in different ways the monsters or other criteria in the older flicks.
Title: Re: Them! - Revisited
Post by: Lunkenstein on June 19, 2018, 12:07:38 AM
I gotta agree. Don't think any special effects have truly wowed me since THE ABYSS and JURASSIC PARK first premiered.  I try to look for good, overall film making now instead, which isn't exactly in over-abundance. Sometimes a newer film comes aong that I enjoy, but I too always wind up going back to the movies I grew up on and will love the rest of my life.
Title: Re: Them! - Revisited
Post by: skully on June 19, 2018, 02:33:59 AM
Lunkenstein, yes!!  As a bud who remembers Double Chiller Theater in our youth, remember the thrill of seeing "Not of this Earth, Frankenstein, Dracula, The Wolfman, The Mummy, Creature, Caltiki, Invasion of the Saucer Men, Brain from Planet Arous, Night of the Blood Beast, The Werewolf, Night Monster, all the Hammer horror flicks, some great Italian flicks with Barbara Steele, First Spaceship on Venus, The Angry Red Planet, Killer Shrews, all the other Universal flicks, Attack of the Crab Monsters, Ghost of Dragstrip Hollow, The Colossal Man, and Beast, The Beast with a Million Eyes, The She Creature, Tormented, Horrors of the Black Museum, Wasp Woman, Dracula's Daughter, Brain that Wouldn't Die, Fiend without a Face, Monster from the Ocean Floor, Phantom from Space, The Giant Gila Monster, and all of the many, many others, I would still rather watch one of these than Jurassic Park over and over again!!
Title: Re: Them! - Revisited
Post by: ChristineBCW on June 19, 2018, 11:12:22 AM
This brings up my second curious behavior: "Why do I see so many old films on the Big Screen and so few new ones?"   In my teen years, I'd see 300-400 films a year.  All new.  (Of course at the time, retro-theaters were almost never found.  Now, my location gives me 2 theaters and 4 chains that show classic films constantly.)

Our kids want to see THEM! or TARANTULA instead of FROZEN or FINDING NEMO (which is now making retro-theater playlists).  They'll see Robin Williams' ALADDIN now, but shrug off all the blockbuster modern animation films.  They'll see CREATURE FROM BLACK LAGOON or SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL SHERIFF over just about anything else.   

So will I.  And all those other films - MALTESE FALCON, GREEN FOR DANGER, we even went to see FLYING LEATHERNECKS and BATTLEGROUND. 

Why am I willing to pay money to see films I've seen many other times, but unwilling to pay for the newst blockbusters? 

During my mass-film-watching years, I didn't see too many awful films.  Worse - I saw too many forgettable ones.  They weren't terrible - they were BORING.  That became the kiss-of-death for me - the unmemorables. 

I suspect that I'm actually paying for "known quality" entertainment.  I'm not paying to see a movie I've seen before: I'm paying for guaranteed entertainment. 

I seem to be unwilling to spend the time or money on new films because I suspect I've seen the best parts in previews, and those can't 'grab me' like a classic film does.  I mean, no one can claim all those first 20-odd James Bond films are 'great entertainment' but we pay to see those, week after week.  Big screen.  Big crowds that are enthusiastic and knowledgeable.  All of those have midnight showings, too, and I understand those are 'full costume' events, similar to the Rocky Horror Picture Show-ings.
Title: Re: Them! - Revisited
Post by: skully on June 19, 2018, 03:37:34 PM
OK.  This one might be a bit more difficult.  It could very well be because of the memories that those older movies bring, sort of like remembering your youth while watching these and remembering days gone by that you cherish, sort of like those of us here that collect older earlier monster toys, the ones from our youth, and as you mentioned, it's guaranteed entertainment, at least for you, and those that can truly appreciate the film that you are viewing.  It's great that your kids like the classics.  I have opened up the door to classic movies with my son, he actually never knew of some of the great classics, be it monster,horror,war flicks,or anything else,and he truly enjoys them much better than most newer flicks of today. Of course there are a few exceptions, but he really does like a ton of the older movies.  As with seeing the older flicks that I grew up with, some I actually viewed in downtown movie houses, some on the drive-in screen,and the majority on tv. However, it could also be that seeing a great vintage flick on a big screen has more impact than remembering watching it on a tv screen also. I could say the same thing about music too,  my son can't believe some of the tunes that existed during my youth growing up, he listens to them regularly, to him they are just so cool, but that's a whole different story.
Title: Re: Them! - Revisited
Post by: ChristineBCW on June 19, 2018, 04:09:08 PM
Skully, the Nostalgia Factor is something I can't separate out of other factors that weigh for enjoyability but, if I segregate out a desire to re-watch a film, Nostalgia is somewhat minimized after the 3rd-4th viewing in, say, a year's time.

The rewatchability factor is especially noticeable among our kids who'll select THEM as an intro to B&W monster movies for their friends.  From Age 6 on.  They have zero Nostalgia Factor involved, only fun.  Then, hand them a stack of good '50s monster films and their favorites percolate to the top.  No nostalgia - like your son's view of 'your' music, "it's cool."

I don't understand how this formula works, or how that stew of emotions work.  I know that seeing these on the Big Screen offers something else entirely: a big, enthusiastic audience, a shared emotional 'high' and then to walk out, listening to people talk about "remembering it" and "just like the first time" and "I'm so glad you kids got to see it like this." 

For CREEPY, if I can call him back in here, another question looms: "Would THEM! rank high on a list of introductory films for '50s monsters?" 

IT CAME FROM BENEATH THE SEA... THE THING... DEADLY MANTIS... dozens others, listed in above posts. 

We did not consciously use THEM as an intro-film, but it might have been.  The kids and friends have seen so many and when they sit around on rainy days, they invariably run searches for "50s" "monsters" and start the popcorn going.

Title: Re: Them! - Revisited
Post by: skully on June 19, 2018, 05:15:11 PM
Our brains are wired for repetitive pleasure.  If we don't like something, we're not going to bother with it. Watching favorite flicks, collecting favorite toys, listening to favorite music, and anything else that brings a smile or pleasant memory, going to a certain store, driving a certain car, eating favorite foods(good and bad), and even as you mention about the nostalgia factor being minimized after a while,  it's still something that you like to do.
Title: Re: Them! - Revisited
Post by: Monsters For Sale on June 19, 2018, 06:59:32 PM
Our brains are wired for repetitive pleasure. ...

It's innate.  Ever try to get a toddler to let you read them a new story?

No way.  They drag out the same old ragged book with worn pages, "Read this one", they demand, for what seems like the 100th time.
Title: Re: Them! - Revisited
Post by: Creepy on June 20, 2018, 06:03:41 AM

For CREEPY, if I can call him back in here, another question looms: "Would THEM! rank high on a list of introductory films for '50s monsters?" 

IT CAME FROM BENEATH THE SEA... THE THING... DEADLY MANTIS... dozens others, listed in above posts. 

We did not consciously use THEM as an intro-film, but it might have been.  The kids and friends have seen so many and when they sit around on rainy days, they invariably run searches for "50s" "monsters" and start the popcorn going.

This film works great as an introductory film because it's story is so tight and engaging, and the tension is dialed to 100 the whole time. These elements make it a completely enjoyable film for any audience, be it classic movie fans, or modern movie goers.

Some of the films we cherish miss an element or two mentioned above and slip into cheesiness with can turn the uninitiated off, or worse make them scene only as something to riff on. That diminishes such a film to entertainment only through ridicule.

While I am sure that people can and have subjected Them! to such a treatment, you can't deny the film making, solid story, and characters.

Another film that shares this distinction and adds the magic of color is Forbidden Planet.

Both of these films work because everyone from the Director to the cast take them seriously.
Title: Re: Them! - Revisited
Post by: Lunkenstein on June 22, 2018, 11:24:07 AM
Lunkenstein, yes!!  As a bud who remembers Double Chiller Theater in our youth, remember the thrill of seeing "Not of this Earth, Frankenstein, Dracula, The Wolfman, The Mummy, Creature, Caltiki, Invasion of the Saucer Men, Brain from Planet Arous, Night of the Blood Beast, The Werewolf, Night Monster, all the Hammer horror flicks, some great Italian flicks with Barbara Steele, First Spaceship on Venus, The Angry Red Planet, Killer Shrews, all the other Universal flicks, Attack of the Crab Monsters, Ghost of Dragstrip Hollow, The Colossal Man, and Beast, The Beast with a Million Eyes, The She Creature, Tormented, Horrors of the Black Museum, Wasp Woman, Dracula's Daughter, Brain that Wouldn't Die, Fiend without a Face, Monster from the Ocean Floor, Phantom from Space, The Giant Gila Monster, and all of the many, many others, I would still rather watch one of these than Jurassic Park over and over again!!

Oh Yes, Skully! I remember how I couldn't wait for Saturday night. Double Chiller introduced me to so many films I love to this day.
Title: Re: Them! - Revisited
Post by: Robert W on July 01, 2018, 04:22:15 PM
I think the main reason Them! is just so damn good is that like the original Gojira the filmmakers assembled a very believable cast that was able to convincingly keep things serious.

For me, the two scenes that really stick out are the hastily assembled conference scene for the army brass where they're told mankind had maybe months to live if the ants weren't stopped and the scene where Whitmore's character sacrifices himself to save the trapped kids. Of course the fact that the ants looked great and still hold up to this day didn't hurt either. ;)

Also, I'm really glad the decision was made to make the film in b&w instead of color.
Title: Re: Them! - Revisited
Post by: ChristineBCW on July 18, 2018, 07:22:25 PM
(https://i.pinimg.com/736x/7f/18/76/7f1876eaa2f12697d20a751ff7a20b36--scary-things-funny-things.jpg)
Title: Re: Them! - Revisited
Post by: skully on July 19, 2018, 12:43:35 AM
"Superb"!!!!
Title: Re: Them! - Revisited
Post by: Doh! on July 20, 2018, 01:15:44 AM
LOVED this movie as a kid, but haven't seen it in 12 years or more. As I recall, it still held up. Very little fat on it, and not bogged down by pushing a love story between the two leads (and I don't mean Edmund Gwenn).

Do any of you have it on Blu-ray? How's it look? Might get it...
Title: Re: Them! - Revisited
Post by: LugosiFan25 on July 23, 2018, 02:55:14 PM

Do any of you have it on Blu-ray? How's it look? Might get it...

The Blu-Ray looks excellent. A must buy.

Title: Re: Them! - Revisited
Post by: ChristineBCW on July 23, 2018, 04:52:37 PM
Very little fat on it, and not bogged down by pushing a love story between the two leads...

This seems like a valid observation, too... there are a few dull moments (meetings with generals and the military, the 8mm screening of the ant-colony action) but that dullness seems to exist only on frequent rewatchings.  And Edmund Gwenn's narration seems compelling enough to make even Santa Claus listen again and again.

"Very little fat" indeed.  It skips along nicely, including those change-of-pace ward-visit scenes. 

This film may have too many compelling voices, too: James Arness is a compelling voice and figure.  Edmund Gwenn - while not issuing ten commandment-like dictates, does deliver attention-getting dialog.  And of course James Whitmore simply commands attention with his presence and voice.  At least one of those three is in just about every scene, right? 

And Joan Weldon's script is pretty taught as well, where she berates the men with her "that Old Man as you refer to is..." speech early on.  She delivers that kick and no one is dismissive to her again.   "You can't go down there!  It's too dangerous for a woman."  "But we don't have time for me to teach you years of ant- recognition.  I am the only one who can do that."  Yes'um.

Not much fat at all.  While this dialog probably won't be on Best Of lists like THE THING (1951), it is filled with distinctive voices and dialog.  "Make me a sergeant in charge of the booze!"
Title: Re: Them! - Revisited
Post by: Doh! on July 24, 2018, 02:16:13 AM
Welp, I'm sold! Gonna for sure get that Blu-ray now.
Title: Re: Them! - Revisited
Post by: ChristineBCW on July 31, 2018, 09:32:17 AM
We watched THEM on TCM July 30th, and I was reminded that film also has klutzy dialog, too. 

In the 'second boardroom scene' where Doctors Medford are explaining Flying Ants, Edmund Gwenn says, "There could be a hundred, a thousand more, out there..."

The generals start wobbling at the thought, and then say, "You mean, a thousand more like the giant one we killed yesterday?!!"

And Edmund Gwenn woodenly says, "Now now, gentlemen, you're jumping to conclusions." 

Uh.  Doctor Edmund - YOU just said "hundreds, a thousand".  The generals are ONLY jumping to YOUR conclusive statements. 

This is a very poorly-written dialog scene, or else a scene filmed over different days without any continuity checks.  Still, despite these occasional technical hiccups, the film breezes along fast enough to skip over those and enjoy so many more better scenes.  (I love the freighter-at-sea scenes, where the giant claw smashes into a hugely-windowed radio-shack, grabs the screaming radioman as he's tap-tap-tapping out his final SOS.  What nice windows!!  What a great view he had!)   Then the 'boardroom' scene features a step-by-step check of the freighter's stay in Acapulco, leaving a forward cargo hatch open with only a skeleton crew aboard.  "The freighter was swarmed over by giant ants, and sunk" says the Admiral. 

And that gory "bones, ribcage, skulls" scene at the bottom of another ant mound.  New Mexico state trooper's gunbelt.  Clearly visible from a helo 500 feet away.  Boy.  What sharp eyes.

There are so many scenes that are fit for elbow-chucks to kids sitting around me.  "See?  See?  You should be able to see that, too!"
Title: Re: Them! - Revisited
Post by: Rex fury on August 01, 2018, 11:24:19 AM
I got a kick out of the short clip from this film in Ant Man and the Wasp. My favorite part of  Them is the scene featuring the destroyed trailer; for whatever reason that moment gave me the willies.
RF
Title: Re: Them! - Revisited
Post by: Doh! on August 01, 2018, 10:47:52 PM
I would not be offended by a remake of this -- if they treat the material seriously and make convincing effects.


...unlike the ones found in this stinker:

! No longer available (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DiEhWDt_bWU#)
Title: Re: Them! - Revisited
Post by: Doh! on September 06, 2018, 02:10:26 AM
I went ahead and bought the Blu-ray -- great print! Cheesy effects aside, I think the story still holds up. It definitely remains the best giant bug picture to date.
Title: Re: Them! - Revisited
Post by: Monsters For Sale on September 06, 2018, 02:23:04 AM
I went ahead and bought the Blu-ray -- great print! Cheesy effects aside, I think the story still holds up. It definitely remains the best giant bug picture to date.

I saw it in the theater when I was 10 (Yeah, like in the picture).  It was scary back then.

All these years and repeated viewings later it is no longer scary.  But, I still love it.  Especially the mysterious beginning.

Title: Re: Them! - Revisited
Post by: marsattacks666 on May 14, 2019, 08:56:32 AM
I saw it in the theater when I was 10 (Yeah, like in the picture).  It was scary back then.

All these years and repeated viewings later it is no longer scary.  But, I still love it.  Especially the mysterious beginning.

Just watched Them!, today. Great film. Have not watched the film in a long time.