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U.S., 1954
Directed by Gordon Dougles
Starring James Whitmore, Edmund Gwenn
Approx. 94 min. DCP.

Radiation spawns colossal killer ants which challenge us as the dominant species of life on Earth. The documentary flavor adds to the atmosphere of mounting suspense in this seminal sci-fi thriller. “An allegorical potpourri about three midcentury fears — the potentially lethal threats posed by communism, the atomic bomb, and strong women—enmeshed in a scary story about a colony of giant ants about to overtake Los Angeles. The ants are red, they work underground, their colony is well organized, and their numbers mushroom with alarming speed. Although the giant ants, theoretically, have a global reach, in fact the film locates them only in the California desert and in tunnels beside the waterless Los Angeles River—that is, the ants are pointed directly at the city where the film industry is located, an industry at the time accused of being overrun with Reds.” – Foster Hirsch


“DR. EDMUND GWENN'S final, slightly doleful but strictly scientific observation in THEM! indicates that when man entered the atomic age he opened new worlds and that "nobody can predict" what he will find in them. The Warner Brothers, fearlessly flouting this augury, have come up with one ominous view of a terrifyingly new world in the thriller that was exposed at the Paramount yesterday, and it is definitely a chiller. The awesome fact is that the Warner Brothers have planted ants on our planet — giant nine to twelve-footers, with mandibles like the tusks on a mammoth, and keening like all the banshees in a fevered imagination. There's no point in making for the hills, though. It's fascinating to watch.”
The New York Times

Film Forum