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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Quatermass Saves The World!
The DVD version looks bright and sharp, although sound may not be up to scratch, although one should bear in mind that it is after all 44 years old! I remember watching this on Television during the winter of 1958/1959 and been sat on the edge of my seat throughout. Being in black and white, it has retained a wonderful atmosphere unlike the colour version made in 1967...
Published on 5 July 2002 by E. A. Redfearn

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13 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars British cinema at it's best.
Hollywood it ain't. With a typically British cast the main star is the script. Very intelligent and well paced- as it unfolds a gradual realisation and horror takes hold. Written by Nigel Kneale (who also wrote other masterpieces in the Quatermass series) this is a genre classic. If you love 'old' London it has a wealth of 'lovable' characters. Chirpy cockneys, officious...
Published on 13 Mar 2003 by marcusmuck


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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Quatermass Saves The World!, 5 July 2002
By 
E. A. Redfearn "eredfearn2" (Middlesbrough) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Quatermass And The Pit [DVD] [1958] (DVD)
The DVD version looks bright and sharp, although sound may not be up to scratch, although one should bear in mind that it is after all 44 years old! I remember watching this on Television during the winter of 1958/1959 and been sat on the edge of my seat throughout. Being in black and white, it has retained a wonderful atmosphere unlike the colour version made in 1967. From the time the first skull is found, until the famous scene when Hob is hovering over London in flames, the drama never lets up. My only complain about the DVD version is however, it lacks extras. With a little more thought, BBC could have re-issueded a full version with end of episode cliffhangers. Moreover, a second disc could have been provided with the "making of" perhaps, or even scenes from the first two Quatermass series where certain episodes have been lost. It could have been so much better. Lack of imagination by the BBC production team. Still, a good buy.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A nervous disposition, 23 Mar 2003
By 
barry usher (polegate, east sussex United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
I first saw this live on television when I was 14yrs old. In those days viewers were warned that 'the following programme is not suitable for children or persons of a nervous disposition'.
How right they were, I was terrified!
By to-days standards this is a little slow, but the tension builds up nicely and there are some good scenes. What impressed me was the man being attacked by cups and plates from an all-night coffee stall, and the ground rippling under his fingers as he seeks sanctuary in a church. The grainy B&W film stock that was used by the BBC gives a documentary quality to the film which last about three hours. The only thing that prevents me from giving this 5-stars is that Andre Morell plays Quatermass in a very unsympathetic way.
This is a very good film, the mechanical/opical FX are convincing and best of all it has a strong story-line.
BUY, WATCH, ENJOY!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vintage BBC -worth a look 44 years on, 10 Sep 2001
By A Customer
I remember rushing home from work on Monday night's in the mid fifties to keep up with Quatermass and the Pit. Such was the impact of this series that it provoked much discussion in the workplace the next day, Forty-four years on and it has lost little of its suspense, with first class B and W camerawork and excellent sound effects which still send a chill down the spine. Nigel Kneale created some great science fiction and semi-horror productions for TV but this was one of the best, A great privilege to get hands on this video which is definitely a collectors item
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Five stars for "the Pit", four for its form on DVD, 9 Sep 2000
By 
Mr. SM Stewart "Sternoman" (MAGHERAFELT, County Londonderry United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Quatermass And The Pit [DVD] [1958] (DVD)
Much has been written of Kneale's groundbreaking TV series, and its celluloid counterpart. The plot, involving the forces unleashed in the wake of the discovery of an alien ship at an archaeological dig, has been well documented. The themes are what sell this production: racism and magic versus reason. Although broadcast live in 1958/9 by the BBC, there are generous amounts of pre-filmed location sequences throughout the 178 minute running time. The director, Rudolph Cartier, really pushes the resources he has and keeps things moving: similarly, Kneales script is fluid, witty and exciting. All this contributes to a great sense of atmosphere. Cartier selects his cast well: most notable are Andre Morrell as Quatermass ( the best, along with John Mills, in the role, because he portrays not only a scientist but a warm, believable, humorous man) and Cec Linder (Felix Leiter in Goldfinger) as Matthew Roney. Linder's droll, laconic performance, and Canadian tones, combined with Cartier's clever use of cinema actors with subtle reputations enable the "Pit" to storm ahead of its contemporaries. This DVD release, by Revelation Films, comes from the compilation master loaned by the BBC for their previous VHS release. For all that, the quality of both picture and sound is superb, and markedly superior to my old tape version. Although edited from episodic to movie format, little is missing bar short scenes in episodes one and five. There are no extras on the disc bar chapter access but the running time and quality of the material make this an essential buy for both those interested in science fiction or TV drama.
Five stars for content, four for the DVD release
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Some things are best not known, 20 Aug 2000
By 
Mr. S. Carlin "arca20" (England) - See all my reviews
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Quatermass was before my time, but I had heard about the series and how good it was meant to be. I spotted this tape in a bargain bin, bought it and then sat down to watch something which I knew very little about. I had seen the film version a few years previously but how would a TV show made in the late 50s bear up to viewing in the early 90s?
This is excellent stuff, the story develops at a great pace, the atmosphere is excellent and at times quite chilling. Quatermass and the Pit is far superior in story structure, characterisation, and atmosphere than anything on TV today. Beginning with a discovery at a building site, the archaelogical ramifications of which stir the imaginations of the general public the story follows the unearthing of an object which is soon revealed as an alien ship. It is not long before other forces are also unearthed and humanity faces a threat which could decimate the world.
My only complaint is that the original video release is in edited form, cutting the story from a six-part story to a three hour film, the cuts are obvious as a result of the way shows were recorded in those days. Aside from this, the tape is excellent and memorable.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars TV ahead of its time., 9 Sep 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Quatermass And The Pit [DVD] [1958] (DVD)
This TV series was way ahead of it's time when it was made, mainly due to the late producer and director Rudolf Cartier, who throughout his career in television, pushed contemporary technology and actors to their limits. Quatermass and the Pit is even more remarkable, as it was screened live and was transfered to film as it went out, yet it doesn't have a static and hurried feel to it like you would expect from a live broadcast drama. In fact, it looks much better than some later serials from the sixties, when it became compulsary to film dramas before they were broadcast as is done today.
I won't give away the plot, but it is a well written sci-fi script that questions the very nature of human evolution. It was so successful, it was remade by hammer films in 1967.
The DVD features no extra features, which isn't exactly anything to be happy about, but I don't think anything that could be used as extras survives anyway. The picture and sound quality can be quite poor at times, but this is IN NO WAY a reflection of the DVD transfer. Quite the opposite in fact, as the transfer holds up quite well considering the age and nature of the master prints. The picture is quite grainy. Sound has quite a lot of hiss, but again, it is the age of the masters and not the quality of the DVD. I would have rated this DVD as 5 stars if it had been mastered in its original 6 episode format as opposed to a compilation edit and restored using the original film-inserts that still exist, but since these only take up several minutes of a 3 hour program, they are not missed too badly.
All in all, if you are a fan of classic sci-fi and are looking for a good durable format as opposed to extras, you should not be disappointed.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A BBC Classic!, 24 Feb 2001
This review is from: Quatermass And The Pit [DVD] [1958] (DVD)
I first watched this during the winter of 1958-1959 and it had me on the edge of my seat throughout. BBC must be congragulated for this re-release, but it is spoiled by not having the end of episode cliffhangers which would have enhanced it throughout. Still, maybe another re-release might be in the air. Although it has a dated look with mono sound, the atmosphere never lets up. The visit by Quatermass and the policeman to the ruined house is a gem! Also who could forget the corporal who saw a ghost walk through the wall; the discovery of long dead Martians in the missile; the drill operator running through the streets of London trying to escape Martian memories, and the final scenes of the Devil hovering over a ruined London. A classic indeed!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Scariest Thing Of It's Time, 31 Jan 2012
This review is from: Quatermass And The Pit [DVD] [1958] (DVD)
For those of a certain age, `Quatermass & The Pit' became an almost infamous term back in the 1950's. Nigel Kneale's six-part serial was broadcast live on evening primetime. Each episode was preceded by a statement to the effect; `The following programme is not considered suitable for viewers of a nervous disposition". It was a piece of typical BBC understatement. I was about 7 years old at the time and begged my parents to let me watch it.

That was a mistake. Threatening cords boomed-out utter menace, as dust dribbled down from a stone tablet, revealing the program title. For a kid who had never seen anything scary before, this was jaw-dropping stuff. Scenes like those of electrician, Sladden, left to himself in the pit, as cables and wires writhed into life and just about everything else began flying, were the stuff of nightmares. Kneale seemed to have discovered the very essence of terror. Long before the series was through, I went from a normal kid without any care, to one who lay in bed quaking. It didn't help that we lived in an old house and birds had managed to nest in the roof. From time to time they would scuttle across the loft at night! For a couple of years after its screening, my solitary bedroom remained a place of fear, where unfamiliar shadows gathered and furniture might assume a life of its own.

Ahh, but that was then; this is now. Darkness holds no terrors at all. And the series? Well; by today's standards it's a bit hokey. It's not just the rather cheap effects; for me the problem with `The Pit' is the same problem with a lot of Kneale's TV work. The characters seem just too excitable, too confrontational, too melodramatic. It all gets a bit tiresome. This was especially true of his `Stone Tape' serial, and the `Beasts' series. It's a shame, because when Hammer brought his `Quatermass Experiment' & `Quatermass 2' to the cinema screen, the acting and dialogue were much more natural. Both remain stand-out movies, even today. Otherwise, the 6 episodes have been integrated into a 3-hour filibuster quite seemlessly. Little or no remedial work appears to have been done, giving it a rather faded, bleary appearance, which is actually quite charming, like original newsreel. For a live broadcast, the overall presentation worked surprisingly well.

Today, then; `Alien', `The Thing', et al, have raise the bar of horror to a level that has perhaps hardened our hearts a little. `The Pit' is more an educational archive of early TV horror than a scarefest in its own right. Slighty boring at times; I think 30 minutes could easily be edited and some of the more needlessly confrontational verbosity perhaps removed. I also believe that as a sound-effect, that bizarre `Quatermass oscillation' continues to be the most disturbing noise in horror or science fiction. I mean - what the devil is it?

Despite its latterday tameness, I'm still giving it 5-stars because at the time of broadcast it did exactly what it was supposed to do, and then some. But the price quoted here is absurd.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Pit, 2 Mar 2005
By 
Bill H (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
Classic 50's British TV; I was 8 years old at the time and my parents let me stay up to see it. It is still as watchable today despite the obvious deficiencies of picture quality. This is far superior to the later Hammer film production.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Most intelligent sci fi movie ever, 7 Oct 2008
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This review is from: Quatermass And The Pit [DVD] [1958] (DVD)
I saw this on BBC TV when it was first broadcast and was thrilled. Many decades later I am still enthralled by this story as portrayed in B&W in 450 line resolution. In my opinion this is the best sci fi production ever, on big or small screen. It is a cleverly convincing story. The later Hammer Film version (half the length in duration), in colour, is also to be commended but does not quite match the original BBC production, yet both should be seen and enjoyed.
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Quatermass And The Pit [DVD] [1958]
Quatermass And The Pit [DVD] [1958] by André Morell (DVD - 2000)
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