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December 28, 2011

Get on with it!

by DMWood

Sometimes words are not on the page but spoken by others in performances.  We think of the plays of Shakespeare or Ibsen or maybe the songs of the Beatles whose words transport us to places never imagined or considered.  Words that move us also appear in movies.  The following clips from Them illustrate not only strong writing but depict an even stronger woman, Pat(ricia) Medford, a PhD in biology.  She, Joan Weldon, is the love interest to Robert Graham (James Arness), the FBI agent assigned to the case, in this movie.

She demonstrates her no-nonsense and take-charge attitude in the first two clips.  When I first watched this movie, I was very surprised to see a beautiful woman not only have a science doctorate and only screams once, but also orders the male stars around.  They don’t argue with her; they just do as they are told.

There are many other instances of strong writing by Ted Sherdeman, who wrote the screenplay, and Russell S. Hughes, who adapted the original story by George Worthing Yates, in this movie.  Before you ever see Them, they are constantly referred to as ‘them.’

This movie is  a classic in many ways and included as actors not only James Arness, the future Matt Dillon in Gunsmoke, and Fess Parker, the future Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett of TV fame but also Edmund Gwynn, Santa Claus in Miracle on 34th Street (he won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor) and an uncredited Leonard Nimoy, Spock of Star Trek fame.

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