Author Topic: Them! - Revisited  (Read 3294 times)

Lunkenstein

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Re: Them! - Revisited
« Reply #15 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.
Paul

skully

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Re: Them! - Revisited
« Reply #16 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!!

ChristineBCW

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Re: Them! - Revisited
« Reply #17 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.

skully

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Re: Them! - Revisited
« Reply #18 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.

ChristineBCW

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Re: Them! - Revisited
« Reply #19 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.


skully

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Re: Them! - Revisited
« Reply #20 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.

Monsters For Sale

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Re: Them! - Revisited
« Reply #21 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.
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Creepy

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Re: Them! - Revisited
« Reply #22 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.
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Lunkenstein

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Re: Them! - Revisited
« Reply #23 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.
Paul

Robert W

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Re: Them! - Revisited
« Reply #24 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.

ChristineBCW

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Re: Them! - Revisited
« Reply #25 on: July 18, 2018, 07:22:25 PM »

skully

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Re: Them! - Revisited
« Reply #26 on: July 19, 2018, 12:43:35 AM »
"Superb"!!!!

Doh!

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Re: Them! - Revisited
« Reply #27 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...

LugosiFan25

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Re: Them! - Revisited
« Reply #28 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.

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ChristineBCW

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Re: Them! - Revisited
« Reply #29 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!"