Hollywood Magic:THEM! (1954)
Originally intended as a "3D color sensation" from Warner Brothers,
this last-minute slashed budget sci-fi film about giant ants proves to
be ahead of its time with an excellent script and inspired acting.
Ironically, the cheaper b/w print serves to enhance the mood and fear
surrounding unusual deaths in the Mohave Desert. The script and
character portrayal make a strong social comment on the folly of
nuclear weapons. Camera angles and ant robotics (intended to enhance a
3D effect) also serve the director skillfully, in spite of visual
restraints. This film is unforgettable and stands up today as a
chilling morality play about the fruits of man's darker side. The movie
is also a comment on how artistic vision should most often overrule the
business office. A must-see for any fan of movie magic!.
The Best of the 50's Sci Fi's
It "annoys me that some people call the special effects in this film
"bad" or "good for its time". For its time, they were state of the art
and personally I can't imagine any better ants on the screen. They look
and act real. and they're pretty creepy, enough to keep you looking
over your shouldar But what I really love about this movie is the
script, which is unusually good for a sci fi of this period and the
fact that it all sounds so scientifically possible. I have since
learned that it's impossible for insects to grow to a large size even
with radiation because they lack lungs to support their bodies, but who
knew back then? We didn't know what atomic energy could do and this
movie expresses our fears in such a homey way.
And it may just be the only sci fi where the woman does more than
scream and get rescued. She is a scientist and she's no one's fool and
she manages to put James Arness in his place when he tells her the ant
hill is "no place for a woman". I love it! And every time I watch it, I
just feel so bad when James Whitmore dies saving those two kids. He's
been with us since the beginning of the movie and he gives his life to
rescue them, finally able to right the scales a little over the death
of his partner. I just hate that he dies. It's horrifying.
A great flick..