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The Thing From Another World


Janet0312
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I have always wondered, and I am confident that my query will be answered here, about the dialogue in this picture. It's like non-stop! Everybody has something to say and it often times overlaps into other conversations. I've never seen this technique, if that's what it is, in any other movie that I can think of.

Want a cup of coffee, Joe, yeah, and pour one for Scotty, give me a donut, the thing is coming, the doctor is nuts, tie up the dogs, insulate that barrier, I've never seen anything like this before, wash out your shorts, more coffee please, don't spare the cream, are you on birth control, pick any card.

I mean the dialogue never ceases.

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His Girl Friday (also a Howard Hawks film) uses that technique. The voices of Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell overlap, and since the quality of their voices is similar, which I believe was intentional, it's quite fascinating and a bit musical. (Btw Hawks is not credited as director of The Thing, but he wrote and produced and certainly was a directorial influence).

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I have always wondered, and I am confident that my query will be answered here, about the dialogue in this picture. It's like non-stop! Everybody has something to say and it often times overlaps into other conversations. I've never seen this technique, if that's what it is, in any other movie that I can think of.

Want a cup of coffee, Joe, yeah, and pour one for Scotty, give me a donut, the thing is coming, the doctor is nuts, tie up the dogs, insulate that barrier, I've never seen anything like this before, wash out your shorts, more coffee please, don't spare the cream, are you on birth control, pick any card.

I mean the dialogue never ceases.

 

If you don't like it, you'll want to avoid other Howard Hawks movies, for it is one of his salient techniques.  It was his way of recreating the natural flow of conversation, part of creating an aura of realism.  On the other hand, if you do like it, you'll want to check out To Have and Have Not, Red River, and others of his movies.  Also, Robert Altman's movies, who copied the practice from him.

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Howard Hawks was known for overlapping dialogue ( the dialogue in His Girl Friday (1940) is machine-gun paced and demands more than one viewing to see and hear everything).   The overlapping dialogue in The Thing was meant as  a parody of that tendency, but I'm with you.  I just find it tremendously irritating & wish everyone would shut up for 5 minutes.  My source for the intent of the scene was Howard Hawks: The Grey Fox of Hollywood by Todd McCarthy.

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There is a scene about 15 minutes into The Animal Kingdom (1932) where Leslie Howard and Ann Harding occasionally interrupt each other and speak a few words at the same time. It's not overlapping dialogue, but perhaps a notable step in that direction.

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Yes, this is what Howard Hawks does, which proves that he did very much influence this movie even though Nyby is credited as director.  I think the overlapping dialogue adds realism.  People talk over each other all the time.  THE THING is at or near the very top of my list for sf/horror.  I've seen it countless times beginning when I was a kid and I still love it.  I love the John Carpenter remake, too, as I've said elsewhere on these boards, but the original is still the greatest.

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I noticed you have Thriller as your avatar pic. What's your favorite episode? Of the ones I've seen, mine is "The Incredible Doktor Markesan".

 

 

The Hungry Glass. And believe me, when this show came out on DVD, I scooped them right up. I hadn't seen the show in thirty years.

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I still find it incredible that the film is that NEW! ( released the same year I was born!) ;)

 

Of course, as you may recall I'M the one who also realized the "thing" was NOT played by Desi Arnaz's brother!  :lol:

 

Over the years, I've come to consider that of all the '50's Sci-Fi pictures that have come out at the same time, year or so, and all that followed, this one, and "The Day The Earth Stood Still"  remain the two with the more advanced concepts of story and execution than the others.  A being made up entirely of vegetable matter.  And mention of the concept, one that many then AND now believe, in the actual "intelligence" of plant life and other vegetation.  I first heard of it being referred to in a James Bond book( forget which one) in which Bond explains the theoretical concept after a girl he's with picks a flower, and Bond tells her, "You wouldn't have picked that flower if you knew it screamed."  Then went into an explanation of the belief.

 

TDTESS, gets the nod for it's quite advanced concept of space travel and spacecraft construction...

 

A bunch of us at work, after production was done, and we were up on the roof of the plant imbibing on some kind of South American Smoking preparation, attempted to come up with ideas on how WE would "remake" the movie, perhaps using modern-day Sci-Fi effects.  Like Klaatu's spacecraft constructed to resemble those designs seen in then recent Sci-fi films like "Close Encounters", and "Star Wars", you know---with all the ambiguous plumbing and other pipework all over it's surface.  And after bandying about several ideas, we decided the original concept was outstanding.

 

A "seamless", smooth bodied craft made of a material that puzzles all Earth metalurgists.  The interior was also a design that was unheard of in hose times, as far as Sci-Fi spacecraft interiors go.  All that plexiglass, "touch-free" operation of it's functions.  KUDOS to whomever was on the set design team for this one! 

 

Sepiatone

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The fifties was the test bed decade for sci-fi films all brought about by the fear of atomic weapons and communistic fears.

I have felt that the following films were some of the best of the genre. The bolded films ar emy favorites:

 

The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)
The Thing From Another World (1951)
When Worlds Collide (1951)
It Came From Outer Space (1953)
The War of the Worlds (1953)
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954)
Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954)
Them! (1954)
It Came From Beneath the Sea (1955)
This Island Earth (1955)
Earth vs. The Flying Saucers (1956)
Forbidden Planet (1956)
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)
The Blob (1958)
The Fly (1958)
Journey to the Center of the Earth (1959)
On the Beach (1959)

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On the Beach (1959)

 

That last scene in the film really got to me, with the sign..... "THERE IS STILL TIME ... BROTHER".

 

The sign was a religious one, designed by a street preacher to attract converts.

 

But in that last scene, everyone in the world is dead. Then the director does something brilliant. He shoots a close up of that sign, and all of a sudden we realize it has become a message to the theater audience, with a different meaning...... meaning it is still not to late to stop an atomic war.

 

This actually puts the audience right into the film itself and we become part of the plot.

 

beach8.jpg

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A bunch of us at work, after production was done, and we were up on the roof of the plant imbibing on some kind of South American Smoking preparation, attempted to come up with ideas on how WE would "remake" the movie, perhaps using modern-day Sci-Fi effects.  Like Klaatu's spacecraft constructed to resemble those designs seen in then recent Sci-fi films like "Close Encounters", and "Star Wars", you know---with all the ambiguous plumbing and other pipework all over it's surface.  And after bandying about several ideas, we decided the original concept was outstanding.

 

The old streamlined look for space craft was for traveling through "air", which there is none of in deep space.

 

The new plumbing design came from looking at real deep-space space craft which do not need to be streamlined in deep space.

 

 

apollo_lm.jpg

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The fifties was the test bed decade for sci-fi films all brought about by the fear of atomic weapons and communistic fears.

I have felt that the following films were some of the best of the genre. The bolded films ar emy favorites:

 

The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)

The Thing From Another World (1951)

When Worlds Collide (1951)

It Came From Outer Space (1953)

The War of the Worlds (1953)

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954)

Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954)

Them! (1954)

It Came From Beneath the Sea (1955)

This Island Earth (1955)

Earth vs. The Flying Saucers (1956)

Forbidden Planet (1956)

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)

The Blob (1958)

The Fly (1958)

Journey to the Center of the Earth (1959)

On the Beach (1959)

 

Good list.

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The old streamlined look for space craft was for traveling through "air", which there is none of in deep space.

 

The new plumbing design came from looking at real deep-space space craft which do not need to be streamlined in deep space.

 

 

apollo_lm.jpg

 

We just figured that a technicologically "advanced" world would do better, design-wise.  Science fiction movie designs, based foolishly on present day technology, when the story is placed either in the future, or about an "advanced" society, doesn't work for me.  Like basing the design of spacecraft from some other planet, and built by a technilogically advanced race on what we know within the limits of OUR times, also seems out of kilter. 

 

It's like saying "Time travel isn't possible".

 

Well, as far as WE know, it isn't.  But, IF we're doing science FICTION, then our present technilogical limits DON'T COUNT!

 

Like, when the discussion is figurative, then being literal is out of place.  ;)

 

 

Sepiatone

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