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Them! (1954)
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Krel
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2016 10:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Robert (Butch) Day wrote:

Gordon Douglas, the director:


Are you sure that, that isn't Tennessee Ernie Ford? Laughing

David.
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2016 10:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Robert (Butch) Day wrote:
Bud, your posted picture of Joan Weldon in the gas mask hugging a co-star (also in gas mask) has the wrong "huggee". Jim Arness is waaay taller than Joan. Look at the hair styling on the man. That's Jim Whitmore.

Seriously, Butch? You think a tall man with a woman sitting on his lap is still going to be taller than her, just because he's taller when they're standing up?

And as for the man's hair style -- well, I present exhibit A and B.

__

That's Arness, sir. No doubt about it.

One thing I'm sure we agree on, however, is the odd way that some of the Spanish posters for the movies we love are better than the American ones!

Here's one of the posters for Them. Frankly this just doesn't impress me.



But here's the Spanish version! Cool! Cool



So I made an English version myself, using the artwork for the one above.



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Last edited by Bud Brewster on Mon May 27, 2019 1:12 pm; edited 4 times in total
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scotpens
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2016 1:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bud Brewster wrote:
But here's the Spanish version! Cool! Cool


That's Italian, actually.

According to IMDb, Them! was released as La humanidad en peligro in Spain and El mundo en peligro in Mexico.
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Pye-Rate
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 11, 2016 4:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My favorite scene in Them! is when the Doc "brown pants" the general by telling him that they have to go down into the nest and search it. An early indicator of the change in the relationship of science and the military.
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orzel-w
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 11, 2016 7:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bud Brewster wrote:
Wouldn't it have been great if the FX guys had left the ants hairless, instead of making them look like woolly mammoths?

Seeing Butch's posted image, it occurred to me that they may have been trying to make the ants look a little "spiderish".

. . . . . . .

Movies like Tarantula and The Incredible Shrinking Man would follow in quick succession, and they featured hairy spiders. So Hollywood thinking was probably geared to "hairy is scary".

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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 11, 2016 8:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

________________________________

Hey, Joan Weldon's head is higher than the head of the man she's hugging! Jim Arness is waaay taller than Joan!! And look at the hair styling on the man. The "huggee" MUST be Jim Whitmore!!!! Shocked

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Last edited by Bud Brewster on Wed Jul 13, 2016 8:20 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Robert (Butch) Day
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2016 3:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not only that, but apparently they had at least two different sizes of the ants. We are all familiar with the ones that the actors worked with (see virtually any frame of the movie).

But look at this gi-ant from the desert scenes. Much larger than the act-ant:



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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2016 8:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

________________________________

I must respectfully disagree, Butch.

The ant is close to the camera, while the men behind it are working on the hydraulics that stuck out of the ant's butt and moved it around. The article where this picture is located says this about the picture itself.
________________________________

Here's an outtake from Scene 56 from Them! This scene appears to show technicians working on or rigging one of the giant ants. That looks to me to be a large (about as big around as a man's thigh) hydraulic cylinder supporting the ant's thorax.

This gives us a glimpse that the ants were at least partially manipulated through the use of hydraulics. Technician Bob Mattey, by contrast moved the giant squid tentacles and arms by way of pneumatics in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954).

________________________________

So, the ant in your picture is the one we see in this familiar scene.



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Last edited by Bud Brewster on Thu Mar 01, 2018 11:31 am; edited 2 times in total
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Brent Gair
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 14, 2016 12:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I finally got around to obtaining this on Blu-ray and it arrived today. Just watched it. Of course, I've seen it a thousand times before. This was the first time I've seen it in widescreen HD glory.

As usual, I spent an hour and a half praying that James Whitmore would live. Damn.

For all the cool cameos, it's odd that I never noticed William Schallert as the ambulance attendant. Also, I noticed something interesting in the scene where Arness, Weldon and Whitmore are descending into the initial ant hill...as we look up while they prepare to descend, we can see faint shadows of the actors moving on the "sky"; indicating that the sky is a backdrop that is very close to the actors.
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MetroPolly
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 12, 2016 9:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I really love this movie. The only problem I have with it is, after all the buildup and seriousness, the ants look.... well, silly close up.
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Mon May 08, 2017 6:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

________________________________

It's no surprise that this classic movie has interesting IMDB trivia items, shown in blue text below.
________________________________

The flamethrowers used in the movie were standard World War 2 weapons and were loaned by the US Army. The actors handling the weapons were WW2 combat veterans who had actually used them in battle.

Note from me: What a great thing for the director of a movie to do! I love it.

Walt Disney screened the movie because he was interested in casting James Arness as Davy Crockett. However, he was so impressed by Fess Parker as the "Crazy Texan Pilot" that he chose him for the part.

Note from me: As much as I love James Arness, I think Fess Parker was perfect as Davy Crockett. I own the box set of the series from Disney. Very Happy

In 1998 Joan Weldon revealed that during shooting, the temperature reached 110??F and both she and Edmund Gwenn were wearing wool clothing. It was even more insufferable for Gwenn, who struggled with advanced arthritis. Although unnoticeable to audiences, he was in pain and was helped off set by his valet.

Note from me: Call me crazy, but why would a film's director be so incentive to the feelings of the actors to subject them to this kind of discomfort?

It was also supposed to be in 3-D. Some elements of the 3-D effects, such as the ants having extreme close-ups and the flame throwers shooting straight into the camera, were used in the film. Although the second eye print was filmed, it was never struck and likely destroyed later.

Note from me: To me, 3D was just a gimmick in the 1950s, and it just didn't add a great deal to the audience's enjoyment. I love the 3D in modern movies like Avatar, but 3D movies in the 1950s was more of a distraction than a enhancement.

Was originally supposed to be filmed in color. Two days before shooting began, a nervous studio cut the budget, and the film had to be made in black and white. However, in the opening credits, the title is shown in bright red against a black-and-white background.

Note from me: I love well-photographed B&W movies, and I've never seen a "colorized" B&W movie that looked better because of the alteration. Harryhausen's colorized films look horrible. So, I don't feel that a version of Them! in color would have been better.

Sandy Descher, the little girl who screams "Them!" at the beginning of the film, played the little girl Susan Taylor in a television version (Hour of Stars: The Miracle on 34th Street (1955)) of Miracle on 34th Street (1947). Edmund Gwenn, who played the Kris Kringle role in the film, plays the professor in this film.

Note from me: I'm puzzled by the fact this trivia item omits the fact the Sandy Descher plays a major role in The Space Children. She is very impressive as "Eadie Johnson" in that move.

And All Sci-Fi's youngest member Eadie is named after this character when her God Father, Robert "Butch" Day, told me she wanted to join on December 14th, 2013, and he asked me what here user name should me.

I suggested "Eadie", the girl in The Space Chidren, and the young lady loved the idea! Very Happy

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Gord Green
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PostPosted: Mon May 08, 2017 8:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's the EC's PANIC spoof of this movie by the great Wally Wood !!













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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 09, 2017 2:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

________________________________

Bulldogtrekker and I watched Them! today while chatting on Facebook. BDT was watching a DVR from a recent Turner Classic Movies airing, while I watched my DVD.

To our dismay, Bulldogtrekker discovered that TCM did the same shameful thing with this movie they did with The Thing from Another World a year or two ago.

They zoomed in on the picture to make it fill the HD TV screens of their viewers — thereby chopping off portions of the top and bottom of the frame! Shocked

It angers me that TCM would do this after airing short promos for years about how important it is to show widescreen movies in letterbox format.

Cropping 4:3 movies to fill HD TV screens is outrageously hypocritical of them! Sad

On a happier note, I Googled a question about whether or not ants used sounds to communicate, the way the professor claimed in Them!. I wondered it they'd just made that part up.

They did.

But a new study has verified that it's true! From Science Magazine comes this.

Several years ago, researchers began to notice that adults in some ant genuses, such as Myrmica, which contains more than 200 diverse species found across Europe and Asia, made noise.

These types of ants have a specialized spike along their abdomen that they stroke with one of their hind legs, similar to dragging the teeth of a comb along the edge of a table. Preliminary studies seemed to indicate that this noise served primarily as an emergency beacon, allowing the ants to shout for help when being threatened by a predator.


So, all those high pitch "chirping" sounds aren't bogus after all! Very Happy

And I was impressed anew by the fact that James Arness and James Whitmore are great together. Two he-man heroes, large and in charge!

(Arness is large, and Whitmore is in charge. Laughing )

FYI: I just added this trivia item to IMDB. Hopefully it will be approved and displayed in a day or so.

During the battle with the ants in the storm drains, James Whitemore and all the soldiers wear WWII combat helmets, complete with the lightweight plastic "liners" that fit under the steel helmets. But James Arness only wears the plastic liner! His large head in the smaller liner (which is only meant to be worn under a steel helmet) makes his head look ridiculously large!






Arness is only wearing his undersized-looking plastic liner. Whitemore seems to be holding a liner in this shot, but he's shown wearing a full helmet (briefly) when he finds the missing boys.





But of course, if you're going to wimp out by not wearing the heavy steel helmet, you've got to tilt it at a cocky angle to look cool. Cool





Notice that the liner doesn't have the "lip" on the back like the steel helmet does, causing it to be closer to the back of his head.





And the final insult is the fact that the plastic liner is dull rather then somewhat shiny like the helmet on the soldier's head, and the smaller size and shape makes Marshal Dillon look like he's got a pinhead! Laughing



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Last edited by Bud Brewster on Thu Mar 01, 2018 11:31 am; edited 2 times in total
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orzel-w
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 09, 2017 4:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

scotpens wrote:
According to IMDb, Them! was released as La humanidad en peligro in Spain and El mundo en peligro in Mexico.

I suppose those titles were considered to be more impactful than Ellos! in 1954. By 2006, however, such sentiments had apparently changed.

I'm wondering, however, what became of the exclamation mark in the original poster.

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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 11, 2017 5:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

orzel-w wrote:
I'm wondering, however, what became of the exclamation mark in the original poster.

Frankly I've never liked the title of this beloved classic for two reasons.

The first reason is simply that the pronoun "them" is a weak title for a movie about giant ants. Practically anything would have been better, including hokey titles like "The Crawling Death" or the "Attack of the Insect Mutations".

Well, okay, those really suck. too . . . but you get the idea. Rolling Eyes

The second reason is that putting a punctuation mark after the title annoys me because when you write a sentence with the title in the middle, you end up with two of what we teachers call "end marks" (periods, question marks, and exclamation points). Like this.

"Does anyone else love the movie Them!, which was released in 1954?"

For a published writer who takes grammar and punctuation very seriously, that just goes against the grain! Sad

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Last edited by Bud Brewster on Mon Oct 30, 2017 4:56 pm; edited 2 times in total
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