There’s one reason why there’s no decent Bluray of Howard Hawks and Christian Nyby‘s The Thing From Another World (’51), and that’s because 97% of those who support the Bluray/streaming market care only about John Carpenter’s 1982 version. The Carpenter is cool but I’ve seen it twice in my entire life (partly because the physical effects suck), and I’ve watched the Hawks/Nyby at least 15 or 20 times. I think this many have something to do with the latter’s social-political undercurrent (early ’50s paranoia about commies and flying saucers) plus that wonderful overlapping Hawks dialogue.
In any event I was about to complain again about the absence of a Hawks/Nyby Bluray (don’t even mention the discredited Japanese disc) when lo and lo and behold I discovered that an HD streaming version of the ’51 version (and running a full 86 minutes) is now available to rent or buy. In my book that’s as good as a Bluray — problem solved.
3:20 pm update: Forget it! I’ve just looked at the Amazon high-def version and some ignorant asshole decided to crop this 1.37 film at 16 x 9. Amazon occasionally sells/rents films with the wrong a.r. and this is one such occasion.
Sci-fi geeks who swear by the ’82 Carpenter version never mention that it was a box-office bust. It cost $15 million and earned a whopping $19.6 million in North America, which put it in the minus column. Wikipage rationales: “In a 1999 interview, Carpenter said audiences rejected The Thing for its nihilistic, depressing viewpoint, at a time when the United States was in the midst of a recession. When it opened, it was competing against the critically and commercially successful E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial ($792.9 million), a more family-friendly film [that] Carpenter described it as the complete opposite of his film. The Thing also opened on the same day as Ridley Scott‘s Blade Runner, which debuted as the number two film that weekend with $6.1 million and went on to earn $33.8 million.”