Greetings, one and all, and welcome to the Cinema Narcs liveblog of Them!, the 1954 classic sci-fi flick as presented on Turner Classic Movies. For those not in the know, Them! is the story of giant radioactive ants created by the A-bomb tests deep within the deserts of New Mexico.
MOVIE – “Them!” (1954)
DIRECTOR - Gordon Douglas
WRITERS – Ted Sherdeman, Russell S. Hughes, and George Worthing Yates
SIX DEGREES OF CAST & CREW
- Director Gordon Douglas started out as a child actor, then transitioned to directing comedies like “Our Gang” and various Laurel and Hardy shorts. He is the only director to have ever worked with both Elvis Presley (“Follow That Dream”), Frank Sinatra (“The Detective”), and the whole of the Rat Pack (“Robin and the 7 Hoods”).
-”Them!” was originally slated to be shot in both 3D AND color. Obviously, that didn’t happen. Still, “Them!” was Warner Brothers’ top-grossing picture for 1954.
- Be on the look-out for a very young Leonard Nimoy SOMEWHERE in this picture!
- Walt Disney personally screened “Them!” to watch the acting of James “Gunsmoke” Arness. However, a young man named Fess Parker caught his eye. Fess Parker would go on to play the role of Davy Crockett. Parker also played another frontier hero, Daniel Boone, in the TV series of the same name. Take THAT James Arness!
- Director Douglas also shot the film “Up Periscope” with James Garner, AKA Maverick. That means Gordon Douglas has essentially cornered the market on Western heroes, both real and fictional.
CinemaNARCs LiveBlog – “Them!”
We’ll be getting underway shortly, folks, so don’t get ants in your pants just yet!
Wait, did I really make that joke? Oh well, too late…
MacArthur Park gets antsy after dark
Grumpier Old Men : the Drunk Tank Days
“Is my head shaped like these microphones by coincidence?”
Meanwhile, in Chicago, Peter Graves applies lie detector tests to giant grasshoppers
Britain contributes a giant magnifying glass to the war effort
Either this hazy picture is realistically implying it’s humid in the sewer, or they’re secretly influencing a young Steven Spielberg
“Where DOESN’T it go, huh!”
Well, here it is, 54 minutes into the movie, and there’s only been one post on the liveblog. Right now, there’s some stock footage of ants fighting being narrated by a pseudo-British professor. In case you can’t tell, this whole idea was a bust because I set my alarm for 7:45, then slept through it for an entire hour.
Apparently, the guy talking a few minutes ago with the giant ears was Leonard Nimoy. Andrew caught it, I didn’t.
Not one, but two Wilhelm Screams in less than 5 seconds during a giant ant attack! I love you, 1954!
Only a skeleton crew remained on watch; now, only a crew of skeletons remains on watch.
James Arness’s very short tie is distracting me from what is actually a good movie.
Burt’s cousin, Alcoholic Ward, didn’t get much work in movies or in television, but he was very popular with future first lady Betty Ford.
“These ants live in a VAN down by the RIVER!”
If this dirty concrete culvert looks familiar, it’s the LA River (where they filmed the chase in Terminator 2).
It’s also where the car drag-race in Grease was shot.
I really like this shot; there are concerned looking people standing and watching military vehicles drive towards the ants, and behind them in the store window is a shot of a flickering television featuring newscaster exposition. Very nicely done.
This might be the best Jeep commercial ever filmed and inserted into the middle of a movie.
Interesting fact about these military guys using the flamethrowers: these are all WWII vets using actual WWII flamethrowers like the kind they used during the war. From flame-throwing Nazi machine guns to flame-throwing giant radioactive ant eggs had to have been a pretty weird transition.
“Hey General, where ya goin’?”
“Goin’ to Drain 267, shoot that egg-layin’ sonofabitch!”
Willhelm Scream #3.
Wilhelm Scream #4!
I count four Wilhelm Screams in this movie so far
That’s right, Andrew. We’ve officially heard all four Wilhelm Screams in the movie.
MAN them bugs is loud. I’d complain, but it does actually imply the immense size of the ants, and the severity inherent therein.
The incredibly obnoxious ant noise sounds very familiar to me for one reason; it’s the recorded croaking of the bird-voiced treefrog that infests the entirety of the southeastern US.
Might we predict… FIRE ANTS?
Might we predict… FIRE ANTS?
Well, that was the end of Them! Kind of a random ending, but I guess with the ants dead, there’s no reason to stick around. However, we’ll be sticking around, because Andrew and I have decided to liveblog Cosmic Monsters next. Whoo!
RATING – 4 giant ants out of 5