"What is it, Bob? "
"It's about Lt. McPherson sitting in there with that thing in the block of ice."
"Well, he wouldn't want me to tell you, sir, but he's having kittens. I haven't heard him squawk like this since Rechenberg."
"You see, sir, the ice is clearing up, and we can see that thing pretty good. It's got crazy hands and no hair, and the eyes...They're open and look like they can see."
There's not a lot new or particularly insightful I can offer when it comes to discussing the seminal sci-fi flick, The Thing from Another World that hasn't been written about ad naseum elsewhere. One of the most famous and influential of all 1950s creature features, it kicked off more than a decade of alien invasion and bug-eyed monster movie mayhem, inspired a host of future filmmakers (one of whom, John Carpenter, would go on to direct his own version of the story in 1982), and remains one of the best-written and engaging films of its kind.
I've always had a liking for big, soft-spoken man-mountain Clint Walker - in part, because he reminds me quite a bit of my own father, another gentle giant. Walker's voice might be deeper, and his chest even broader, but both men are old-school guys that embody a certain kind of quiet dignity and honorable conduct that is appealing and, sadly, increasingly rare these days.
Known especially for his truly impressive physique (six-foot six and boasting a 48-inch chest) and calm, measured basso profondo voice, Walker rose to fame as the star of the early adult ("non-kiddie") western, Cheyenne, in the late 50s / early 60s, and parlayed that success into a modest big-screen career, mostly in westerns and family films. Night of the Grizzly straddles these two genres and isn't Walker's best, yet is a pleasant enough way to while away a few hours.
Walker plays Jim Cole, an ex-lawman who inherits some land and a run-down old ranch in California from a deceased relative and brings his wife, Angela (Martha Hyer), two kids, teenage niece and former deputy Sam Potts (Don Haggerty) with him to start a new, more peaceful life. But things aren't going to be easy for the Cole family. Not only does the ranch need a lot of work, but cagey local powerbroker Jed Curry (Keenan Wynn) has been after that particular parcel of land for a good long time and still has plans to get it, one way or another. As if that wasn't enough, Jim has to contend with Old Satan - a massive killer grizzly bear that stalks the area every summer, and has set his sights on the Cole's herd.
Night of the Grizzly is pretty episodic, wavering in tone between genial Disney-style family romp and brutal grizzly attack-filled thriller. Despite this unevenness of tone, there's still plenty to enjoy here, including Walker's dependable, charismatic presence, a rather sweet depiction of a stable marriage, enlivened by good chemistry between Walker and wholesome, pretty Martha Hyer, and some good, roughhouse action sequences.
Opinionated ramblings about new and old movies (mostly old, as that's the way I like 'em!)
Blogs of Note
Stuart Galbraith IV's World Cinema Paradise
Movie Morlocks (TCM's Classic Movie Blog)
50 Westerns from the 50s
Riding the High Country
Tipping My Fedora
Thrilling Days of Yesteryear
Laura's Miscellaneous Musings
Classic TV and Film Cafe
Just a Cineast
She Blogged By Night
Chess, Comics, Crosswords, Books, Music, Cinema
Out of the Past -
A Classic Film Blog
Pretty Sinister Books
They Don't Make 'Em Like They Used To
In So Many Words...
Greenbriar Picture Shows
My Love of Old Hollywood
Tales of the Easily Distracted
Another Old Movie Blog
Lasso the Movies
Kevin's Movie Corner
Films From Beyond the Time Barrier
Carole & Co.
Rupert Pupkin Speaks
Vienna's Classic Hollywood
The Lady Eve's Reel Life
ClassicBecky's Brain Food
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