Them! (1954)

USA,
94m
35mm film, black and white, 1.37:1
mono, English

An American science fiction film directed by Gordon Douglas.

Plot Summary

In the of the American South West, an army of gigantic have been spawned as the result of pollution from nuclear testing. A group of and troops try to contain the menace, but when some of the ants arrive in Los Angeles, the stage is set for the ultimate showdown between Man and Nature.

Credits

Crew
Directed by: Gordon Douglas
© MCMLIV [1954] by Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Warner Bros. Pictures presents a Warner Bros.-First National picture
Produced by: David Weisbart
Screen Play by: Ted Sherdeman
Adaptation by: Russell Hughes
Story by: George Worthing Yates
Director of Photography: Sid Hickox
Film Editor: Thomas Reilly
Music by: Bronislau Kaper
Sound by: Francis J. Scheid
Wardrobe by: Moss Mabry
Makeup Artist: Gordon Bau
Giant Ant Models: Dick Smith [uncredited]
Art Director: Stanley Fleischer

Cast
James Whitmore (Sergeant Ben Peterson)
Edmund Gwenn (Dr Harold Medford)
Joan Weldon (Dr Patricia “Pat” Medford)
James Arness (Robert Graham)
Onslow Stevens (Brigadier General O'Brien)
Sean McClory (Major Kibbee)
Chris Drake (Trooper Ed Blackburn)
Sandy Descher (the Ellison girl)
Mary Alan Hokanson (Mrs Thomas Lodge)
Don Shelton (Trooper Captain Fred Edwards)
Fess Parker (Alan Crotty)
Olin Howlin (Jensen)

Extracts included in
78/52 (2017)
Eight Legged Freaks (2002)

See also
It Came from the Desert (2017)

Press

1954
Films in Review vol.5 no.5 (May 1954) p.244
Whereas science-fictioneers once concocted their panics out of fantasies about the earth's collision with an asteroid, of the “death” of the sun, they now construct lavish Armageddons simply by pointing vaguely toward the H-bomb. Considerable imaginative virtuosity has been devoted in this direction in Them […] In tracking the queens down and exterminating them, erotica is unexpectedly provided in the form of discussion on the nuptial flight of queens and consorts, concomitant, of course, with a routine romance between Arness and Weldon. […] Chase sequence in the underground storm of Los Angeles, where the last colony of ants has its headquarters, is genuinely exciting, but Whitmore's rescue of a couple of leads to a sententious anti-climax: Gwenn intoning the Biblical prophecy “There shall be destruction and darkness and the beasts shall reign over the earth. – from a review by Nicolas Monjo

1984
Starburst no.68 (April 1984) pp.30-33
[P]erhaps the best film of the Giant Monster sub-genre […] Even as late as 1972, the basic plot formula was being used in such films as Night of the Lepus and much of the imagery seen in the storm drain scenes in 1982's Alligator is derived from Gordon Douglas' 1954 classic. But as always, the original is still the best. – from an article by Phil Edwards

2003
Starburst no.297 (April 2003) p.65
The science is shakey- giant ants just couldn't look like that – but the commitment by everyone involved in front of and behind the camera gives rise to a movie that has many eerie moments with the tension piled on at every opportunity. The black and white photography with the howling wind of the desert and the strident music of Bronislau Kaper all give this that extra touch. – from an illustrated DVD review by Jan Vincent-Rudzki

References

Periodicals

  • Cinefantastique vol.3 no.4 (December 1974) pp.23-27 – article
  • Empire no.166 (April 2003) p.152 – illustrated DVD review (RWD by KN [Kim Newman])
  • Fangoria no.217 (October 2002) p.63 – DVD review (DVD Dungeon: Them! by Michael Gingold)
  • Filmfax no.45 pp.26, 97 – review
  • Filmfax no.57 (August 1996) pp.61, 62 – illustrated article
  • Films in Review vol.5 no.5 (May 1954) p.244 – review
  • The Hollywood Reporter vol.129 no.1 (8 April 1954) p.3 – review
  • Image et Son no.256 (January 1972) pp.130-131 – article
  • Kine Weekly no.2456 (22 July 1954) p.22 – review
  • Monthly Film Bulletin vol.21 no.248 (September 1954) p.131 – review
  • Motion Picture Herald vol.193 no.2 (10 October 1953) p.26 – review
  • Motion Picture Herald vol.195 no.2 (10 April 1954) p.2253 – note (Hollywood Scene by William R. Weaver)
  • Radio Times vol.256 no.3348 (30 January 1988) p.14 – review
  • Starburst np.68 (April 1984) pp.30-33 – illustrated article (Them! by Phil Edwards)
  • Starburst no.297 (April 2003) p.65 – illustrated DVD review (Them! by Jan Vincent-Rudzki)
  • Starlog no.258 (January 1999) – illustrated interview with Joan Weldon (A human's life by Tom Weaver)
  • Supernatural no.1 (January 1969) pp.29; 44-46 – note (Round the cinema's zoo of horrors with Supernaturalist); illustrated article (Television fantasy by Stan Nicholls)
  • Today's Cinema v83 no.7059 (21 July 1954) p.13 – review
  • Variety 14 April 1954 – review

Books

  • Aurum Film Encyclopedia: Science Fiction by Phil Hardy (ed.) pp.148-149 – illustrated credits, review
  • BFI Screen Guides: 100 Science Fiction Films by Barry Keith Grant pp.159-160
  • Escape Velocity by Bradley Schauer pp.47, 81
  • Horrorshows: The A-Z of Horror in Film, TV, Radio and Theatre by Gene Wright p.122 – credits, review
  • Nuclear Movies: A Filmography by Mick Broderick p.46
  • by Walt Lee p.486 – credits
  • Silver Screen Saucers: Sorting Fact from Fantasy in Hollywood's UFO Movies by Robbie Graham pp.65, 336 
  • Trick Cinematography by R.M. Hayes pp.129, 131
  • Variety Science-Fiction Movies by Julian Brown (ed.) p.111 – illustrated credits, review