Film (1954). Warner Bros. Directed by Gordon Douglas, starring Edmund Gwenn, James Whitmore, James Arness, Joan Weldon. Screenplay Ted Sherdeman, based on a story by George Worthing Yates. 93 minutes. Black and white.
Unexplained deaths occur, but it is some time before we learn that atomic tests in the US desert have created gigantism (> Great and Small) in a species of ant, whose strength is only enhanced by their vastly increased size – a Scientific Error frequently encountered in sf cinema. Their nest is located and destroyed, but a queen ant escapes and lays her eggs in a storm drain beneath Los Angeles (> California), which becomes the setting for the final battle between giant ants and humans. Along with The Thing (1951) and The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953), Them! was a template for a series of similar Monster Movies that followed in the 1950s. It is well made, and handles its scientifically untenable premise with an austere but vivid documentary style, thus standing out from most of the cheaper and more sensational variations that followed on the theme. The giant ants were not animated miniatures but full-scale mock-ups. [JB/PN]
see also: Hive Minds; Mutants.
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