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Quatermass and the Pit
Quatermass and the Pit
Actors: André Morell, Cec Linder, Anthony Bushell, John Stratton, Christine Finn
Genres: Drama, Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mystery & Suspense


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Movie Details

Actors: André Morell, Cec Linder, Anthony Bushell, John Stratton, Christine Finn
Genres: Drama, Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Drama, Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mystery & Suspense
Format: DVD
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/1957
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 12
Languages: English
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Movie Reviews

Seen "Five Million Years to Earth" - still must see this!
Rottenberg's rotten book review | nyc | 02/12/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This is it, the original TV serial later adapted into 1967's "Five Million Years to Earth". You may have seen that movie, and you may know the story: construction crews in London uncover fossil human beings, five million years old, and a mysterious large object about as old. Col. Breen, the newly authorized military head of British Rocketry, believes the object is an unexploded German bomb from the war. Prof. Bernard Quatermass, a civilian spaceflight visionary, has a more exotic theory of the object and the mysterious hominid fossils found nearby. Joining Quatermass is Romney, an anthropologist who nurses Quatermass's theories of the object and constructs a fantastic device with which to prove it. With Romney, Quatermass links the fossils, the object and century's worth of phenomenon in that area of present-day London to dark theories of race memory and genetic conditioning.

This 6-part story appeared on British TV a decade before the feature film - it's rough alright but in many ways not only matches the later film, but surpasses it. The script makes allowances for the fact that memories of WWII were more recent, and the burgeoning fears of the cold war were more fresh. It's darker, edgier and taps a colder vein of our own race memories. Working through 6 parts, the serial has more leg-room with which to build its chills. The visuals are quite striking: the "object" is larger and more enigmatic than the one in the movie, and the serial's crowning moment is the "Wild Hunt", a look back through 5 million years of evolution to the origins of the object and its creators - which clearly outstrips the menace of the movie.

The serial also outdoes the flick with its characters - Quatermass has more range here, as does Breen, who alternates between being helpful and helpless. The real star of the show is Cec Lindford as Romney - the helpful assistant in the movie, his Romney is a combination of scientist and showman, the PT Barnum of Paleontology. In short, even if you've seen "Five Million Years to Earth", you must still get this video because it is indeed different."
If you do not have this movie, hop to it!
bernie | Arlington, Texas | 08/19/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is a story about Martian hybrids that came to colonize earth five million years ago. One of their ships went off course and ended up in the mud. The ship is found during a subway excavation and the fun begins.

When I was a youngster many movies gave me nightmares such as "It Came from Outer Space" (1953) where I kept seeing eyeballs. Now only one movie left to get over, you guessed it, this one. I can not look a grasshopper in the face. And as with most viewers I saw it on late night television as "Five Million Years to Earth"

This film is logical and spooky especially by 1960's standards. And you get all the stereotypes such as the military that is just determined that this object found buried is a bomb. It makes you want to slap him around. Then there is the professor that knows better and is ignored. I could go on. But you need to see this movie. The only thing that is stretching but fits in a sci-fi movie is the device that changes thoughts into pictures; see this setup again in "Brainstorm" (1983).

It Came From Outer Space ~ Richard Carlson
An Imaginative And Brilliantly Crafted Piece Of Science Fict
Matthew Kresal | USA | 04/11/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"There is a saying I am rather fond of about going out at your best. Over six weeks in late 1958 and early 1959 the BBC brought its involvement in the Quatermass stories to a close. In doing so they lived up to that saying by producing what remains one of the most imaginative and brilliantly crafted pieces of science fiction to ever be put on a screen either big or small.

For starters there is of course the excellent cast. As the third actor to play the role of Professor Bernard Quatermass for the BBC (and the fourth if you count Brian Donlevy in the first two Hammer Quatermass films made prior to this being aired) André Morell gives what might very well be the definitive Quatermass. From the moment he appears Morell takes on the role and makes it his own with his excellent line delivery and very human reactions to the situations around him. Morell's Quatermass is more convincing then his predecessor as both scientist and as a man frightened by what he finds and is all the better for it. Yet Morell's Quatermass is just the first of what can be termed a trio of leading characters.

The other two characters in that trio are Cec Linder as Dr. Matthew Roney and Anthony Bushell as Colonel James Breen. Linder plays Roney as a man fascinated by his discoveries and willing to the consequences of them no matter the cost. Linder and Moreell also have some fantastic chemistry together that makes the friendship between Quatermass and Roney seem even more realistic. Bushell as Breen on the other hand is just the opposite: a man almost primitive in his thinking to the point of ignoring the facts. If Roney is Quatermass's friend then Breen is his enemy and the man most responsible for the serial's shocking finale. Bushell gives a fine, if not over the top at times, performance as the army officer forced into a sequence of events he can not understand nor wants to.

The rest of the cast is fine as well. From John Stratton as the leader of the bomb disposal squad to Christine Finn as Roney's assistant to Brian Worth as journalist James Fullalove to Richard Shaw as Sladden and Robert Perceval as the Minsiter of Defense amongst many there isn't a role miscast in the entire six episode production. The production proves that it isn't just the leading roles that count but the small ones as well.

For all the excellent members of the cast it is as much the aspects of the serial behind the camera that make Quatermass And The Pit as imaginative and brilliantly crafted as it is. Despite being a live TV production Quatermass And The Pit as the feel of being a feature film of the time. This is especially true of both the music and especially of the special effects. The haunting score of Trevor Duncan remains a fantastic example of how a simple score can be made highly effective. The special effects done by Bernard Wilkie and Jack Kine remain as impressive to this viewer today as they must have been for audiences fifty years ago including the sequence at the end of part four and of course the insect like Martians.

Then there is the script at the heart of it all. A decade or so before Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke brought it to the mainstream in 2001: A Space Odessy, writer Nigel Kneale asked the fascinating (and to some terrifying) question "what if what makes us human isn't human at all?" and terrifyingly answered it. Kneale looks at human nature and in particular racism and the occult in a science fiction context and shows us the consequences of racism in a way that is too realistic to be ignored. Kneale uses the limitations of live TV (i.e. a story driven by dialog mainly) to create a script full of fine dialouge and debates on everything from the nature of racism to the military takeover of otherwise peaceful scientific research. In particular there are two speeches by Quatermass (one at the Ministry in episode four and the other at the end of episode six) that stand out as amongst the best pieces of science fiction writing ever.

In short Quatermass And The Pit is television science fiction at its best. It is a production full of fine performances, good effects, fine music and a brilliant script. It might be fifty years old, in black and white and rather filled with dialouge but you know what? I wouldn't have it any other way for that makes Quatermass And The Pit brilliant fifty years on."
Great classic...
Michael Valdivielso | Alexandria, VA | 09/17/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"If you like Doctor Who?, the earlier years of the First and Second Doctor, you may enjoy Quatermass. British horror/ science fiction thriller at its best. Not really a movie as much as six television episodes, with a strong story, good characters and lots of cliffhangers. The spaceship looks like it had money spent on it and the plot and theme has been well thought out. All in all, this is a must for anybody interested in sci-fi, British sci-fi and classical sci-fi."