Welcome, children of the night! This Blog is for fans of vintage horror films as well as those who are just beginning to discover the joy of these classic movies. I'd love to hear from you!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Them! (1954)

"When Man entered the atomic age, he opened a door into a new world. What we'll eventually find in that new world, nobody can predict." says Dr. Medford in the Sci-Fi classic Them!  This film plays into the fears of 1950s America.  The plot is simple but effective: early atomic bomb tests in New Mexico cause ants to mutate into giant monsters that threaten civilization as we know it.  The script is well written and believable, taking the viewer on a a fun ride through beautiful desert landscapes as well as the storm drains of Los Angeles.   The cinematography is a bautiful and the special effects work rather well, including the giant killer ants.  Them! was actually nominated for an Oscar in 1955 for its special effects but lost to the Disney spectacular 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.  [Them! didn't stand a change against that behemoth of a film.]
The acting in the film is first rate.  Standouts include James Whitmore, a veteran character actor, as Police Sergeant Ben Peterson.  He embodies the character with great warmth, empathy and enough "manly toughness" to get the job done.  Joan Weldon is fantastic as Dr. Patricia Medford.  Self confident, empowered, intelligent women were not seen very often in 1950s films. [Surprise!]  It's great to see one portrayed here.  James Arness [T.V.'s Gunsmoke] is probably the most well know actor to modern audiences.  He plays Robert Graham, an FBI agent and fits the part nicely.
Them! can be seen for free online on YouTube and you can also watch it instantly on Netflix.  If anyone out there has a favorite DVD of this film, let me know.  Don't miss this Sci-Fi/Horror classic.  It's a fun ride from start to finish.
RATING: Excellent.
For more info check out the film's entry in IMDB.

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