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Hyla avivoca: Bird-voiced Treefrog – Hylidae – Early wildlife recordings – Environment and nature British Library. Sounds. 1947-04-11
In the 1950sE.C. Comicsparody comic,
American science fiction horror films
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The elder Medford gives a briefing on ant aggressiveness to a government task force; they covertly begin to investigate all reports of any unusual activity. One shows that a civilian pilot (Fess Parker) has been committed to a mental hospital after claiming that he was forced down byUFOs,shaped like giant ants. Next, the Coast Guard receives a report of a giant queen hatching her brood in the hold of a freighter at sea in the Pacific; giant ants attack the ships crew, and there are few survivors. The freighter is later sunk by U.S. Navy gunfire.
Parish, James Robert and Michael R. Pitts.
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. New York: Disney Press, 2012.ISBN978-1-4231-7857-6.
General store owner Gramps Johnson is found dead, a wall of his store having been partially tornout. After a quick look-around, Sgt. Peterson leaves trooper Blackburn behind to secure the crime scene. Blackburn later goes outside to investigate a strange, pulsating sound; gun shots are fired, the sound grows faster and louder, and Blackburns scream is heard.
Keep Watching The Skies, American Science Fiction Movies of the 50s
New Jersey punk band theMisfitshas a song titled Them!, with lyrics directly inspired by the film, on their release
The giant ants, painted a purplish-green color, were constructed and operated by unseen technicians supervised by Ralph Ayers. During the climactic battle sequence in the Los Angeles sewers, there is a brief shot of one ant moving in the foreground with its side removed, revealing its mechanical interior.This blunder has been obscured in the DVD releases of the film.
Them!was nominated for anOscarfor its special effectsand won aGolden Reel Awardfor best sound editing.
A nest ofis discovered in theNew Mexicodesert; they quickly become a national threat when it is discovered that two young queen ants and their consorts have escaped to establish new nests. The national search that follows finally culminates in a battle withThemin the concretespillwaysand sewers ofLos Angeles.
For other uses, seeThem (disambiguation).
. London: Octopus Books Limited. 1976.ISBN0-7064-0470-X.
From contemporary reviews, theMonthly Film Bulletinstated that despite the science fiction film genre being new it had developed several sub-divisions including the other-worldly, the primaeval-monstrous, the neo-monstrous, the planet-ary-visitant, etc. and thatThem!is a well-built example of the neo-monstrous, less absurdly sensational than mostDiscussing the ant monsters in the film, the review referred to them as reasonably horrible–they do not entirely avoid the impression of mock-up that is almost inevitable when over-lifesize creatures have to be constructed and moved, while noting that they were considerably more conceivable than those prehistoric remnants that have recently been emerging from bog and iceberg.The review commented on the cast as like most science-fiction, [the film] is on the whole serviceably rather than excitingly cast and the crew was noted, stating the direction was smoothly machined and the film has decent writing though more short cuts might have been [taken], finding that the start of the film was too slow.The New York Timesreview noted …from the moment James Whitmore, playing a New Mexico state trooper, discovers a six-year-old moppet wandering around the desert in a state of shock, to the time when the cause of that mental trauma is traced and destroyed,Them!is taut science fiction.The reviewer inVarietyopined it was a top-notch science fiction shocker. It has a well-plotted story, expertly directed and acted in a matter-of-fact style to rate a chiller payoff and thoroughly satisfy the fans of hackle-raising melodrama.
When casting his plannedDavy Crockettepisode of the
. London: A&C Black, 2010.ISBN978-0-8264-2976-6.
, Vol. I: 1950 – 1957. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, 1982.ISBN0-89950-032-3.
Although Warner Bros. was dissatisfied with the color results, the films titles were printed in a vivid red-and-blue against a black-and-white background in order to give the films opening a dramatic punch. This effect was achieved by anEastman Colorsection spliced into each release print.The 1985VHStape release, the subsequentLaserDiscand laterDVDrelease have retained this black-and-white-with-two-color title effect.
TheWilhelm scream, created three years earlier for the filmDistant Drums, is used during the action sequences: when a sailor aboard the freighter is grabbed by an ant, when James Whitmores character is caught in an antsmandibles, and when an overhead wooden beam falls on a soldier in the Los Angeles storm-drain sequence.
At the Ellinson campsite, Pat encounters a giant, eight-foot-long foraging ant. Following instructions from the elder Medford, Peterson and Graham shoot off the ants antennae, blinding it; they then kill it with theirThompson submachine gun. Medford reveals his theory: a colony of giant ants, mutated by radiation from the firstatomic bombtest near Alamogordo, is responsible for the killings.
Other actors who appear in small parts includeJohn BeradinoWillis BoucheyBooth ColmanRichard DeaconLawrence DobkinAnn DoranWilliam SchallertDouglas SpencerDub TaylorDorothy GreenandHarry Wilson.
Them!was released in June 1954and by the end of that year had accrued $2 million (US) indistributorsdomestic (U.S. and Canada) rentals, making it the years 51st biggest earner.[Note 1]According to an article inThe Slate, this wasWarner Bros.highest-grossing film that year.However,1954 In Filmlists two other films from Warner Bros. that earned more in gross.
The entrance to the ants final nest was shot along the concrete spillways of theLos Angeles River, between the First and Seventh Street Bridges, east of downtown. The depiction of theChihuahuan Desertof southern New Mexico is actually theMojave DesertnearPalmdale, California. Mercy Hospital was a real institution and is now Brownsville Medical Center.
. Vol.21 no.240.British Film Institute. 1954. p.131.
John Waynesaw the film and, impressed with Arness performance, recommended him for the role of Marshal Matt Dillon in the new
Waldman, Katy (31 January 2013).The Nuclear Monsters That Terrorized the 1950s.
had a secret four-part mini-campaign called
. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, 2007.ISBN978-0-78642-755-0.
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Dorothy Greenas police matron (uncredited)
Them!is one of the first of the 1950s nuclear monster films, and the firstbig bugfeature.
Articles with unsourced statements from April 2018
. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, 1977.ISBN978-0-81081-029-7.
The FBI assigns Special Agent Robert Graham to New Mexico to investigate. After having analyzed a strange print found near the Ellisons trailer, the Department of Agriculture sendsmyrmecologistsDr. Harold Medford (Edmund Gwenn) and his daughter, Dr. Pat Medford, to assist in the investigation. The elder Medford exposes the Ellinson girl to formic acid fumes, which revives her from her catatonic state; she screams, Them! Them! His suspicions are validated by her reaction, but he will not reveal his theory prematurely.
Since its original release,Them!has become generally regarded as one of the best science fiction films of the 1950s.Bill Warrendescribed it as …tight, fast-paced and credible…[T]he picture is suspenseful.Phil HardysThe Aurum Film Encyclopedia: Science Fictionnoted, Directed by [Gordon] Douglas in semi-documentary fashion,Them!is one of the best American science fiction films of the fifties.Danny Pearybelieved the film Ranks withThe ThingandInvasion of the Body Snatchersas the best of the countless 50s science fiction films.In theTime Out Film Guide,David Piriewrote, By far the best of the 50s cycle of creature features…retains a good part of its power today.Thereview aggregatorwebsiteRotten Tomatoesreported a 100% approval rating with an average rating of 7.6/10, based on 26 reviews. The websites consensus reads, One of the best creature features of the early atomic age,Them!features effectively menacing special effects and avoids the self-parody that would taint later monster movies.
Peterson finds the two missing boys alive, trapped by the ants. He calls for reinforcements and lifts both boys to safety, just before being attacked. Graham arrives with reinforcements and kills the ant, but Peterson dies from his injuries as others swarm to protect the nearby nest. Graham and the soldiers fight off the ants, but a tunnel collapse traps Graham. Several ants charge, but he is able to hold them off with his submachine gun just long enough for troops to break through the collapse. The queen and her hatchlings are discovered and quickly destroyed withflamethrowers. Dr. Medford offers a philosophic observation: When Man entered theAtomic Age, he opened the door to a new world. What we may eventually find in that new world, nobody can predict.
; the primary antagonists are giant ants.
Van Morrisons bandThemwas named after this film.
WhenThem!began production in the fall of 1953, it was originally conceived to be in3Dand Warner Color. During pre-production, tests were to be shot in color and 3D. A few color tests were shot of the large-scale ant models, but when it was time to shoot the 3D test, Warner Bros. All Media 3D camera rig malfunctioned and no footage could be filmed. The next day a memo was sent out that the color and 3D aspects of the production were to be scrapped; widescreen black-and-white would now be the films presentation format. Warner Bros. hoped to emulate the effective shock treatment effect of its previous science fiction thrillerThe Beast From 20,000 Fathoms; ultimately, however, the film was never shot in widescreen. Because of the preparation of certain scenes, many of the camera set-ups for 3D still remain in the film, like the opening titles and the flamethrowers shots aimed directly at the camera.
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James Arnessas FBI Agent Robert Graham
Greenberg, Allen.It Came from Out of the Disk Drive.
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Hymns to the Silence: Inside the Words and Music of Van Morrison
White, Armond (A.W.).Them (1954); Warner Brothers chiller at Paramount.
The sounds the giant ants emit in the film were the calls ofBird-voiced tree frogsmixed in with the calls of awood thrushhooded warblerandred-bellied woodpecker. It was recorded at Indian Island, Georgia, on April 11, 1947 by theCornell Lab of Ornithology.
(listing of Box Office (Domestic Rentals) for 1954, taken from
New Mexico State Police Sgt. Ben Peterson and Trooper Ed Blackburn discover a little girl wandering the desert in a state of shock nearAlamogordo. They take her to a nearby recreational trailer, located by a pilot in a spotter plane. They find evidence that the little girl had been in the trailer when it was attacked and nearly destroyed by someone or something. Later, it is discovered that the trailer was owned by a FBI Special Agent named Ellinson, who was on vacation with his wife, son, and daughter; other members of the girls family cannot be found at the trailer site. After being placed in an ambulance to be taken for hospital treatment of her catatonic state, the child briefly reacts to a strange, pulsating high-pitched sound from the desert by sitting up in the stretcher. No one else notices her reaction, and when the noise stops, the girl lays back on the stretcher.
, edited by Don Willis, Garland Publishing, Inc., 1985,ISBN0-8240-6263-9.
episode The One Where Rachel and Ross… You Know.
James Whitmore wore lifts in his shoes to compensate for the height difference between himself and James Arness. It has also been noted that Whitmore employed bits of business (hand gestures and motions) during scenes in which he appeared in order to draw more attention to his character when not speaking.
needs additional citations forverification
Rentals refers to the distributor/studios share of thebox officegross, which, according to Gebert, is roughly half of the money generated by ticket sales.
Varietys Complete Science Fiction Reviews
Olin Howlinas Jensen, the alcoholic
. London: Fireside, 1986.ISBN0-671-61081-3.
Opening title card with the background inblack-and-whiteand
This page was last edited on 24 May 2018, at 17:25.
Petersons New Mexico boss points out that Gramps had time to fire all his ammunition, and Trooper Blackburn was a crack shot, eliminating the possibility of a homicidal maniac. More puzzling is the coroners report on Johnsons death: he died from a broken neck, back, skull fracture, crushed abdomen, and enoughformic acidin his body to kill 20 men.
The Aurum Film Encyclopedia: Science Fiction
, Bela Lugosi (Martin Landau) explains to Ed (Johnny Depp), Nobody wants vampires anymore. Now all they want is giant bugs. The scene takes place in 1952, but the actual movie came out two years later.
The 1960s Remco toy line titled Hamiltons Invaders featured giant bugs versus military defenders. One of the larger mechanical bugs was designed after the giant ants in
, 2nd Edition. London: Penguin Books, 1991.ISBN0-14-014592-3.
features the film on a TV thatLiloStitchNaniandDavidwatch along withJumbaandPleakley.
Pages using div col without cols and colwidth parameters
, there is a parody of this film titled Them! There! Those! featuring art byWally Wood.
The Overlook Film Encyclopedia: Science Fiction
. London: Overlook Press, 1995.ISBN0-87951-626-7.
Leonard Nimoyhas a small, uncredited part as a U.S. Army Staff Sergeant in the communications room.
General OBrien orders a helicopter search, and the skeletal remains of past victims are discovered near the ants nest.Cyanidegas bombs are tossed inside, and Graham, Peterson, and Pat descend into the nest to check for survivors. Deep inside, Pat finds evidence that two queen ants have hatched and escaped to establish new colonies.
television series,Walt Disneyviewed the film to see James Arness, who had been recommended for the role. However, Disney was more impressed by a scene with Fess Parker as an inmate in a mental ward of the Texas hospital. Watching Parkers performance, Disney realized he had found his Davy Crockett.
, a companion to the highly successful
, which takes place in a post-apocalyptic irradiated wasteland, has a side-quest involving giant mutated fire ants titled Those! in homage to the film.
Them!is a 1954 AmericanfromWarner Bros. Pictures, produced byDavid Weisbart, directed byGordon Douglas, that starsJames WhitmoreEdmund GwennJoan WeldonandJames Arness.The film is based on an original story treatment byGeorge Worthing Yates, which was then developed into ascreenplayby Ted Sherdeman andRussell Hughes.
features a scene in which sequences from the film are included.
Joey and Chandler watch the film on TV in the 1995
Disney Trivia from the Vault: Secrets Revealed and Questions Answered
. London: Aurum Press, 1984. Reprinted as
Screenwriter Neil Ruttenberg and producerRichard Donnerpitched a remake in which the ants would be intelligent and terrifying. Warner Bros. decided instead upon onBob Gales pitch, which included mechanical effects.
at theAmerican Film Institute Catalog
Them!, a cautionary tale about giant irradiated ants, was Warner Bros. highest-grossing film in 1954.
Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch Has a Glitch
A third report leads Peterson, Graham, and Major Kibby to a large sugar theft at arail yardin Los Angeles. Analcoholicin a hospitaldrunk tankclaims he has seen giant ants outside his window. The mutilated body of a father is recovered, but his two young sons are missing. Peterson, Graham and Kibby find evidence that they were flying a model airplane in theLos Angeles Riverdrainage channel near the hospital.Martial lawis declared in Los Angeles, and troops are assigned to find the ant nest in the vast storm drain network under the city.
TV series, a role that Arness went on to play from 1955 to 1975.
Don Shelton as Captain Fred Edwards
, The Spooky Spider, even though the creature sports only six legs. Another creature in this line also featured a giant bug designed after the giant wasps from the 1950s sci-fi feature
magazine). New York: St. Martins Paperbacks, 1996.ISBN0-668-05308-9.