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lairdfan

THEM! (1954)

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[*STEVE HAYES: Tired Old Queen at the Movies --- THEM!*|http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PTeoID3NkyY]

 

*THEM! (1954)*

THEM! THEM! the little girl screams and so begins one of the classic sci-fi /horror films of the Cold War period. Atomic energy from A-bomb experiments unleashes giant ants in the deserts of New Mexico and its up to James Arness, James Whitmore, and Oscar winner Edmund Gwenn as a kindly scientist, to warn the world of the oncoming invasion. This was Warner Bros.' highest grossing film of 1954. With its taut direction and superb performances, this film was the ALIEN of its day and resulted in decades worth of monster movies.

 

http://www.youtube.com/STEVEHAYESTOQ|http://www.youtube.com/user/STEVEHAYESTOQ

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"Them" scared the crap out of me when I first saw on TV. The first and probably best giant bug movie of the atomic age.

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> {quote:title=lairdfan wrote:}{quote}

> >

> *THEM! (1954)*

> THEM! THEM! the little girl screams and so begins one of the classic sci-fi /horror films of the Cold War period. Atomic energy from A-bomb experiments unleashes giant ants in the deserts of New Mexico and its up to James Arness, James Whitmore, and Oscar winner Edmund Gwenn as a kindly scientist, to warn the world of the oncoming invasion. This was Warner Bros.' highest grossing film of 1954.

>

This was Warner Bros.' highest grossing film of 1954? Everybody and his ant must have gone to see it!

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Absolutely! This is first rate fantasy and, undoubtedly, the best of the big bug movies. Anybody who hasn't had the pleasure should drop what they're doing and watch this terrific suspense film. I, also, recall watching it on TV at about ten years old. I was on the edge of my seat and it gets better every time.

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Yes, a great Sci Fi of the period. No truth to the rumor that Arness also played one of the ants... :D

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> {quote:title=ValentineXavier wrote:}{quote}

> Yes, a great Sci Fi of the period. No truth to the rumor that Arness also played one of the ants... :D

>

He could have played an uncle, but not an ant.

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> {quote:title=musicalnovelty wrote:}{quote}

> > {quote:title=ValentineXavier wrote:}{quote}

> > Yes, a great Sci Fi of the period. No truth to the rumor that Arness also played one of the ants... :D

> >

> He could have played an uncle, but not an ant.

 

 

You ewe you, you are missing a u!

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I was delighted to see that Sandy Descher ("the Ellinson girl") made Mongo's galleries for her birthday on Nov 30th.

 

THEM's beginning sequence is delivered so well, with Whitmore and Chris "Not Long For This Film" Drake answering a call to track down wandering Sandy. Then in the ambulance, when the "wind plays funny tricks" to some, it's Sandy who lifts up with that great, scared look on her shocked-to-silence face.

 

Over the many viewings, it's fun to locate all the now-famous faces. Of course, William Shallert's the ambulance driver. He's easy to spot. So's Fess Parker being left in the looney bin. And Dub Taylor who swears he didn't help black-marketeers steal 40 tons of sugar.

 

There's Olin Howland who was helping Quirt Evans send a telegraph in THE ANGEL & THE BADMAN, now singing, "Make me a sergeant and give me the booze!"

 

Isn't that Oscar Blanke in the bed next to Howland, who rises up and complains about the noise? "Please - my noives!" Isn't he one of the gunsels with George Raft in SOME LIKE IT HOT? The "We wuz at Riggoletti's wid you" fellow?

 

Those are the easy ones. Leonard Nimony, though, as a Air Force sgt? Boy. What a promotion he's going to get in a few years.

 

And Richard Deacon as a reporter? No wonder Morey Amsterdam picked on him for 5 seasons.

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THEM's beginning sequence is delivered so well

 

Absolutely superb staging.

 

 

"Make me a sergeant and give me the booze!"

 

My favorite character in American cinema!

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One of my favorites! Along with the (original) Thing, Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, King Kong, Frankenstein. I love the part in THEM where they are investigating the General Store (?) out in the desert with the wall pulled out. They are just standing there with the wind is gushing around them. There's the wind sound effect, then you hear the chirring of the ants. Very cool and effective. A must have. The regular DVD looks very good on a blue ray player and big screen. John

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I certainly agree. The movie in black and white gives it a more frightening effect than I think color would have. I love "THEM" because the giant mutated ants make my flesh crawl. They are so ugly and gross looking. In spite of that, I LOVE THIS MOVIE. I have it on DVD and whenever it comes on TCM I never miss seeing it. Glad to know that you're a fan!

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> {quote:title=bongoBill wrote:}{quote}

> Wasnt the actual movie originally going to be filmed in color?

 

Click on TCMdb at the top of this page and you can search the title on the database. When you get to the film, click on "notes" on the left of the page and you can read all about the film. Color was being considered as was shooting it in 3-D. Personally, I think black & white was the right call.

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Red, over Halloween we pulled the film out and I still get a kick out of Olin Howland's "Make me a Sgt" routine. Just hilarious. In comparison, Dan'l Boone's locked up in PJs just doesn't quite cut it!

 

It's no wonder Dan'l and Matt Dillon ended up in pretty different time-zones for their TV shows - "You'll talk to them for me, won't ya?" Yeah - ol' Matt'll talk to 'em for ya, buddy. You'll want a tomahawk the next time ya see him, though. Dirty, rotten, backstabbin'...

 

"Make me a sergeant and give me the booze."

 

I wonder how Olin described that day's work to his family, when he got home. "Just another small part..." Yeah well, six decades later, Olin, and you're still one of the great characters on-screen. Just another small part, indeed.

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Edmund certainly had bigger parts in more socially-acceptable films, but he's pretty great in this one. I wonder why the director inserted the one scene where Whitmore's adjusting Gwynn's goggles? That's obviously a "first time ever worn by this actor" type of scene, and it may have been included simply because the camera was rolling, no one said "Cut!" and they just tossed it in.

 

But it really flows with Edmund's character of being rather nerdish, AND with Whitmore's precision-help character, too.

 

I probably degrade Arness' performance as much as anyone's in this film - he probably turns in the most wooden moments on-screen. By that point, however, acting quality is moot - we've got Whitmore, we've had the great opening sequence... hook, line and sinker.

 

If Roger Corman's assertion that "all we need is a great film-name and a sexy poster-girl" is correct, then having a great opening sequence is all the more true.

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> {quote:title=Ollie_T wrote:}{quote}

>

> I probably degrade Arness' performance as much as anyone's in this film - he probably turns in the most wooden moments on-screen.

 

Yeah, he never turned in another performance to equal his playing the part of a giant alien two-legged carrot in *The Thing*. ;)

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I haven't seen this film in quite awhile, but I remember being quite impressed and liking it. I've recently purchased the DVD for my library and look forward to seeing it again.

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I'm just glad Arness didn't corner a giant ant and say, "Hold it right there!" He said that in about 100 GUNSMOKE shows. I like Parker's pajama clad pilot. His gentlemanly innocence (Beg your pardon, Ma'am!) is charming. Not a truly good actor, he had a winning personality that translated well.

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It's a wonder some big Hollywood producer hasn't thought of remaking this movie. With the FX that is avialable todays it would be awesome. However...a remake would have to follow the the original almost scene for scene..otherwise it would be a disaster..like the horrific remake of the Day Earth Stood Still.

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I think a remake was announce sometime in the 1990's but it was never done- the scrip is so terrific that with only a few minor adjustments it could take place now.

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If it was remade, we'd probably get to see ants devouring people, cutting them in half with their pincers... ummm

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In the remake of "Clash of the Titans"(2010) they did a terrific job with the CGI giant scorpions.

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