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Monday, November 23, 2009

THEM! (1954)

A combination of radioactive fallout & Cold War anxiety has worked like steroids on some Southwest ants, causing giant genetic mutations in this archetypal ‘50s Sci-Fi pic. And, paradoxically, it works better than most thanks to the lack of imagination in the blunt prosaic functionality of Gordon Douglas’s megging. It plays like a deluxe DRAGNET show with humongous on-the-lam ants as perps. (‘Just the ants, ma’am. Just the ants.’) Edmund Gwenn is a standout as the professorial expert and the rest of the cast (including James Whitmore and James Arness, who looks as big as the monsters) hit just the right flat, laconic tone. These films are more fun than scary (the wobbly antennae really give the game up), but check out those hideous two-toned police uniforms worn by James Whitmore & Co. Now, that’s scary!

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