Friday, July 20, 2012

Them! (1955)

This is the atomic monster movie to end all atomic monster movies!  This is just pure movie monster madness and has suspense to spare.  There is nothing even remotely campy about the story or the film and one feels a serious gut wrenching fear for the children involved.  For me, it doesn't matter how many times I see it (and I've seen it probably around 100 times), the ants still make me uncomfortable, even though I am well aware that such "atomisized" creatures are basically an impossibility--that's master movie making!  This one was even nominated for an Oscar.

Release date:  19 June 1954 (I thought it was supposed to be Speilberg's release of Jaws in 1975 that kicked off the "summer blockbuster!")

Runtime:  94 minutes

Directed by:  Gordon Douglas

Screenplay:  Ted Shredman & Russel S. Hughes from a George Worthing Yates story.

Music:  Bronislau Kapeer

Aspect Ratio:  1.75:1 35mm

Sound:  RCA Sound System mono

Tagline:  Kill one and two will take it's place!


Despite that this went on to be Warner's highest grossing film in 1954, in the production phase the studio slashed the budget, nervous about putting so much money into an atomic themed film.  With that budget slash went the 3-D color that it's was supposed to be shot in.

The sounds that the ants are making as they find prey (ie: humans) is actually from tree frogs.

Walt Disney personally screened the film because he was interested in casting James Arness as Davey Crockett, but after seeing the film he decided that Fess Parker would actually be better for the part.

The B-25 Mitchell that transports the father/daughter doctors was actually the personal transport of a 2-star general.

The flamethrowers used were actually real combat throwers on loan from the Army, they were standard combat issue.

James Whitmore had to wear "lifts" to help correct the height difference between him and James Arness.

Leonard Nimoy makes a cameo appearance in this (actually I think at the time, it was hardly a "cameo," and more like a "bit part/").

The camera seen being used in the helicopter scene is a kind of product placement, it's a Stereo Realist 3-D camera.

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