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Movie Review: Them!

Radiation in the White Sand A bomb testing area has produced some monster ants that go on a rampage. The State Police can’t stop them, the FBI can’t stop them… can the military prevent them from becoming the dominant species on Planet Earth?

This week’s Classic Sci-Fi Movie selection was another great example of the 1950’s creature features, except this one stands head & shoulder above its brethren.  Movies like Beginning of the End, Creature From the Black Lagoon, Monster From Green Hell, The Giant Gila Monster prove entertaining  in a “so bad they’re good” fashion.  But, despite its Saturday Matinee style title, Them! delivers a crisp and witty script, high quality performances from the actors and some decent special effects – considering that this film was made in 1954.
The premise involves ants in an A bomb testing area that have mutated over the years from the residual radiation to become enormous.  When they begin attacking people on the fringes of this desert area the State Police are baffled by the carnage of what they assume is a homicidal maniac.  A cast of an odd imprint at one scene is sent to the FBI, the FBI in turn sends a pair of scientists to assist in the investigation.  This father-daughter PHD team identify the marauders as giant ants and we’re off on a thrill ride that involves an attempt to exterminate the nest then chasing rogue queen ants across the country in attempt to prevent them from establishing more colonies, producing more queens and threatening humankind as the dominant species on planet Earth.

The stereotypical ‘absorbed scientist’ (Edmund Gwenn) injects wit into several scenes.  And of course the pretty daughter scientist (Joan Weldon) provides some love-interest for the FBI man (James Arness).  There is a climactic battle scene, and a satisfyingly happy ending culminating with the elder Dr. Medford’s warning that as man moves onto the atomic age, he may well encounter more unknowns.  This may not be over.

As would be expected of a vintage movie, there is no excessive gore, no profanity, nudity or sexual situations that would make it unsuitable for viewing with the whole family.  There are a few scenes where, faced with a tense situation, the characters light cigarettes.

For more information, check out the Internet Movie Database listing for Them!  To watch the movie, you can rent it from Amazon as an Instant Download or buy it on DVD.  Either way it’s a great choice for some Saturday afternoon Sci-Fi fun.

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