John W. Campbell Jr's short story Who Goes There? has been made into a movie three times. This is the first version. I'll review the other versions from 1982 and 2011 later.
An Air Force captain and a journalist are sent to the North Pole to investigate an explosion and a magnetic disturbance. They find a crashed flying saucer under the ice and a frozen being a few meters away from it. The block of ice containing the creature is cut and taken to a nearby science base, however the creature escapes and starts killing people...
Final Verdict ★★★☆☆
This movie's storyline is quite different from the later versions as The Thing doesn't assimilate and imitate it's victims. Instead it's a humanoid shaped plant being which makes seeds and feeds on blood. It's proximity can be detected with a Geiger counter.
This movie has a lot of dialogue and is paced very differently from modern movies. It starts very slowly and gathers momentum steadily. If you can sit through the first half hour you'll be rewarded with an electrifying climax. Special effects include people fainting, fire, and electricity arcs!
There is also a scientist who doesn't recognise The Thing as a threat, but wants to befriend it. He thinks it's more important to preserve The Thing for scientific investigation than to save their own lives.
This movie plays on that era's paranoia and is taken to have an anti-Communist message. It warns viewers that an invasion has been narrowly avoided and to watch the skies.
Part II of this article series - The Thing (1982) vs The Thing (2011)