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Them!
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Them!

4.3 12
Director: Gordon M. Douglas

Cast: James Whitmore, Edmund Gwenn, Joan Weldon

 

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Unlike most of the "giant bugs" sci-fi programmers of the 1950s, which are good for little more than a campy laugh today, Them! remains a compelling and entertaining thriller with an unusually intelligent script, strong performances from a fine cast, and tense, well-paced direction that knows how to play this material seriously. While the special effects

Overview

Unlike most of the "giant bugs" sci-fi programmers of the 1950s, which are good for little more than a campy laugh today, Them! remains a compelling and entertaining thriller with an unusually intelligent script, strong performances from a fine cast, and tense, well-paced direction that knows how to play this material seriously. While the special effects technology is not especially impressive by today's standards, watch Them! after such anti-classics as Beginning of the End or Earth vs. the Spider and you'll realize how striking this film's giant ants must have looked in 1954. More important, Them! generates a palpable tension from the start, never overplaying its hand as it gradually develops the unreality of the mutated insects, well after establishing that a real and deadly menace is terrorizing the desert. James Arness and James Whitmore are capable and credible lawmen, Edmund Gwenn keeps his "lovable" eccentricities to a minimum as Dr. Medford, and the charming but all-business Joan Weldon lifts her character above the usual sci-fi token woman. Fess Parker and Dub Taylor make the most of their bit parts, and, if you keep an eye peeled, you'll notice Leonard Nimoy using the teletype machine. Them! blends the lean and efficient construction of a B-picture with the craft that studios usually reserved for more expensive efforts, and the result is one of the best sci-fi films of its era.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Mark Deming
Unlike most of the "giant bugs" sci-fi programmers of the 1950s, which are good for little more than a campy laugh today, Them! remains a compelling and entertaining thriller with an unusually intelligent script, strong performances from a fine cast, and tense, well-paced direction that knows how to play this material seriously. While the special effects technology is not especially impressive by today's standards, watch Them! after such anti-classics as Beginning of the End or Earth vs. the Spider and you'll realize how striking this film's giant ants must have looked in 1954. More important, Them! generates a palpable tension from the start, never overplaying its hand as it gradually develops the unreality of the mutated insects, well after establishing that a real and deadly menace is terrorizing the desert. James Arness and James Whitmore are capable and credible lawmen, Edmund Gwenn keeps his "lovable" eccentricities to a minimum as Dr. Medford, and the charming but all-business Joan Weldon lifts her character above the usual sci-fi token woman. Fess Parker and Dub Taylor make the most of their bit parts, and, if you keep an eye peeled, you'll notice Leonard Nimoy using the teletype machine. Them! blends the lean and efficient construction of a B-picture with the craft that studios usually reserved for more expensive efforts, and the result is one of the best sci-fi films of its era.

Product Details

Release Date:
10/27/2015
UPC:
0883929458837
Original Release:
1954
Source:
Warner Home Video
Time:
1:32:00
Sales rank:
594

Special Features

Behing-the-scenes archive footage montage on the design and operation of giant ants; Theatrical trailer

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
James Whitmore Sgt. Ben Peterson
Edmund Gwenn Dr. Harold Medford
Joan Weldon Dr. Patricia Medford
James Arness Robert Graham
Onslow Stevens Brig. Gen. O'Brien
Sean McClory Maj. Kibbee
Chris Drake Officer Ed Blackburn
Sandy Descher Little Girl
Don Shelton Captain of Troopers
Fess Parker Crotty
Olin Howland Jensen
Richard Bellis Mike
John Beradino Ryan
Robert Berger Sutton
Willis B. Bouchey Actor
Walden Boyle Doctor
Marshall Bradford Actor
Alexander Campbell Official
James B. Cardwell Officer
Roydon E. Clark Jeep Driver
John Close Pilot
Booth Colman Reporter
Walter Coy Actor
Richard Deacon Actor
Eddie Dew Actor
Lawrence Dobkin Engineer
Ann Doran Psychiatrist
Cliff Ferre Lab Man
Norman Field General
Frederick J. Foote Dixon
Joe Forte Coroner Putnam
Russell Gaige Coroner
Dorothy Green Matron
Mary Ellen Hokanson Mrs. Lodge
Gayle Kellogg Gunner
Hubie Kerns Actor
John Maxwell Dr. Grant
Charles Meredith Actor
Jack Perrin Army Officer
Charles Perry Soldier
Victor Sutherland Senator
Harry Tyler Actor
Dick Wessel Cop
Joel Smith Ben's Driver
Otis Garth Admiral
Janet Stewart WAVE
Dean Cromer M.P. Sergeant
Chad Mallory Loader
Warren Mace Radio Operator
Leonard Nimoy Sergeant
William Schallert Ambulance Attendant
Dub Taylor Watchman
Ken Smith Actor
Harry Wilson Actor
Douglas Spencer Reporter

Technical Credits
Gordon M. Douglas Director
Ralph Ayres Special Effects
Gordon Bau Makeup
Gustav Bernsten Set Decoration/Design
G.W. Berntsen Set Decoration/Design
Stanley Fleischer Art Director
Edith Head Costumes/Costume Designer
Ray Heindorf Musical Direction/Supervision
Sidney Hickox Cinematographer
Russell S. Hughes Screenwriter
Bronislau Kaper Score Composer
Moss Mabry Costumes/Costume Designer
Thomas Reilly Editor
Russ Saunders Asst. Director
Francis J. Scheid Sound/Sound Designer,Special Effects
Ted Sherdeman Screenwriter
David Weisbart Producer
George Worthing Yates Original Story

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Them! 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The bluray "Them" should be labeled "image cropped to simulate wide screen". I compared the expensive bluray that I purchased at Barnes and Noble in Union Sq. N.Y. with the older full screen DVD version and discovered that the wide screen version is nothing but the full screen version with the top and the bottom cropped off. The result is a disgraceful deception for serious collectors who pay extra for the most faithful rendering of the favorite films. I discovered that this is not the only bluray on which they pulled this scam.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm not a big fan of sci-fi. I am a big fan of james Arness from his Gunsmoke days so had to see this movie. I was not at all disappointed in it. The cat including James Whitmore, and James Arness among others was wonderful. The storyline was easy to follow and the movie very enjoyable. There were comedic scenes as well as dramatic. I thoroughly enjoyed the movie and would recommend it to anyone
CalCollegeGal More than 1 year ago
When most Fifties sci fi movies depicted invading aliens or space ships, this classic sci fi horror went below ground to find horror in monstrously gigantic ant warriors ripping off the limbs and snapping the bodies of helpless humans who were unlucky enough to invade their cavernous ant hills. Unforgettable scene: young survivor of an attack who lost her entire family gets a whiff of the test draught of formic acid held up to her nose, her face contorted in hysteria, yelling "THEM! THEM!" The heroic actions of actors James Whitmore, James Arness and even scientist Edmund Gwynn are always straight up and never played for laughs, thus intensifying the horrible premise that a nuclear mutation could transfer those pesky kitchen ants into our worst nightmare.
Guest More than 1 year ago
An ABSOLUTE classic, THEM has stood the test of time. In a time when Sci-Fi movies were a dime a dozen THEM finds itself as one of the leaders (by far). This movie has a feel that only few others of its day reached. It draws you in immediately with special effects well ahead of its day. It also has a cast of characters that display great teamwork in refecting the seriousness of the iminent danger. THEM has a more 'real possibility' feel then some of the corny Sci-Fi flicks of the 50's. This is what sets a good Sci-Fi movie apart from the rest. Only The Day the Earth Stood Still, The Thing from Another World and Invasion of the Body Snatchers leave a similar emotional effect. In a time when we were unsure of the after effects of atomic energy, THEM had viewers wondering 'just what if.'
Guest More than 1 year ago
Despite its age, Them! still has one of the most eerie and effective opening sequences of any science fiction film, and gets my vote as the best SF film of the fifties, and that¿s saying something. The plot development up to the moment the giant ants are revealed is a minor masterpiece of understatement and dramatic tension. I¿ve seen this film at least a dozen times and the scene where the catatonic girl sits up in the ambulance, unseen except by the film audience, never fails to thrill. Yes, the giant ant effects are extremely dated and almost always suffer the indignity of comparison to modern techniques, but they probably weren¿t that scary even in 1954. They certainly aren¿t as scary as the search through the shattered, wind-blown general store, or as chilling as Dr. Medford¿s observation that ¿we may be witnesses to a biblical prophecy come true¿ (echoing Dr. Robert Oppenheimer¿s famous comment during the Trinity testing, ¿I am become Shiva, Destroyer of Worlds¿). This movie really isn¿t about giant ants, it¿s about little people, winningly represented by the likes of James Whitmore¿s Sgt. Ben Peterson and Edmund Gwenn¿s Dr. Harold Medford, who quite literally save the population of earth from itself. In another humanistic touch, Them! has a wealth of truly comedic moments, frequently through the expertise of Edmund Gwenn, and most memorably through the character of Olin Howlin, the drunk who keeps singing ¿make me a sergeant, gimme the booze!¿ The military suffers a few light jabs in the movie, probably because much of the adult male population, including moviemakers, was less than 10 years away from serving during WW ll and remember their experience with something less than complete adoration. And in the end, it¿s not military might that saves the earth, it¿s individual initiative and sacrifice---a valuable lesson for today¿s times.
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