Before I start let me state that I have only watched the German version of the movie. Likely, the US original differs somewhat, but except for the occasional translation error I had the impression the German version can’t be too far off target. I’m still waiting for this movie to make it to DVD.
The action: The Arctic, early 1950s. A small flight crew is sent to a remote outpost to check out reports of a meteorite or plane crash in the area. So, they discover that it wasn’t a plane: It was a flying saucer. But there’s more: The scientists and soldiers uncover a space alien, frozen into the ice! They bring it back to the outpost, where the alien escapes, putting everybody in grave danger.
To make it short, I love this movie. It’s simply a joy to watch. I enjoyed the characters and the dialogs, the interaction between them. There are some occasional funny moments, and there’s lots of conflict, mainly between the soldiers and the scientists. The alien stays in the background for most of the time: They are fighting it, but never face to face. Thus, the movie is suspenseful and thrilling even 50 years after its creation. Had they shown the alien any more than they do, the movie would have lost a lot of it’s appeal because quite frankly a 1951 space alien looks just like a guy with some makeup.
The Thing from Another World was re-made in 1982 by John Carpenter. I didn’t see the remake yet, but I hear it’s more a splatter kind of horror movie and key elements of the plot were changed, so you could probably watch both versions without getting bored.
To sum up, I can only recommend The Thing From Another World to anybody who enjoys suspenseful science fiction movies, or who has a flair for old horror flicks. This one is probably one of the best of the flock. Watch it late on a Friday night, you won’t be disappointed.
_Update, June 3rd 2003:_ I was able to find an English version of The Thing from Another World. Having watched most of the movie in English, I have to say that the dubbing – while inaccurate in some places – is still pretty charming. A rare case. So, whether you get the English or German version, I can recommend this movie wholeheartedly.