Quatermass And The Pit [DVD] 
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Hammer version of the popular TV series. When prehistoric skulls and the remains of an alien spaceship are discovered in the bowels of London's Underground during an excavation, a weird and powerful force is unleashed. Professor Quatermass (Andrew Keir) is called in to investigate.
We have met the enemy, and it is us: when a Martian spacecraft with a terrifying link to the origins of humanity is unearthed beneath a London tube station, only the esteemed Professor Bernard Quatermass can save London's suddenly murderous population from itself. One of the most intelligently paranoid science fiction films ever produced, this pessimistic masterpiece functions as a dark flip-side to the relatively optimistic alien-induced evolution theory presented in the later 2001: A Space Odyssey. Nigel Kneale's brilliant script (which posits a surprisingly plausible, otherworldly rationale for the existence of the supernatural) was later appropriated by acknowledged fan John Carpenter for his underrated Prince of Darkness. A must-see for horror and science fiction aficionados. This film is also known as Five Million Years to Earth. --Andrew Wright --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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I really like it because it is very British (even Quatermass is British in this film, unlike the other two) and really gets it just right with the atmosphere. it is genuinely a bit creepy even now.
also the central ideas are quite intelligent, it doesn't assum ethat because it's sci-fi it can't try and say something similar. I particularly like the idea that our ideas and images of the devil and gargoyles have been formed by ancient experiences.
I haven't seen the original TV series, and by the looks of some of the comments below I should check it out. however I think the film stands up perfectly well on its own. just the thing for Sunday afternoon viewing.
Even allowing for the age of this film there are still some very effective moments in it, most notably the image of the giant horned demon appearing in the sky over London, which is one of the most famous things Hammer ever did. But there is also the policeman, unaware of his own psychic abilities, getting taken ill in the derelict house, and the man with the drill getting besieged by poltergeist activity when he attempts to drill into the craft.
Some fine performances all round too. Andrew Kerr makes an excellent Professor Quatermass, flame-haired Barbara Shelley makes a rather more intelligent female lead than we normally get in old Sixties sci-fi's, Julian Glover as the so-very-upright army officer, and the under-rated James Donald as the scientist who sets out to destroy the evil force. There is also a strong feel of Swinging Sixties London to this film, which all adds to the flavour.
dubious quality indeed ("Night of the Lepus" anyone ?), but most of them were interesting and some of them were very good indeed. Quatermass and the Pit was one of the very best.
The plot concerns and alien spaceship found during building work in a London underground station, and whilst that may seem a little bit creaky and familiar, it turns out to be anything but.
By the end of the film, the cast of characters are speculating on the nature of the strange race which visited Earth at some time in the dim and distant past, but more startlingly on that race's influence on mankind's development, beliefs and very existence upon the planet. Ambitious stuff, and all done intelligently and convincingly. Particularly good is the subtle investigation of the strange goings on which have been going on in the vicinity for hundreds of years, usually dismissed
as nohing but local superstition and ignorance but now proving to be just a little bit more than that.
The cast is impressive... Andrew Keir, in what is probably his best remembered role, is perfect as Quatermass who is pehaps used here as a linking character instead of a driving character. He is excellently assisted by James Donald as the committed and ultimately heroic archaologist, Barbara Shelley and Julian Glover, whilst familiar faces such as Michael Ripper and Sheila Steafal also pop up. As is usual in films were alien spacecraft are discovered, there's a bit of friction between the
military and the scientists but there's a nice bit of overlap as the story develops and everyone begins to understand the possible significance of what is going on.
It isn't a horror film as such, but when the chills are delivered they still manage to have an effect nearly forty years later, and the atmosphere builds up quite nicely from one of intrigue into one of psychological and physical menace.
The script is as excellent as the perfromances of the cast, and if the special effects look a little bit limited by today's CGI standards, it is a flaw which can be understood and forgiven.
In short, it's a very impressive film indeed, and modern film makers could well make a note or two when planning the next action packed special effects driven blockbuster. There's nothing particularly wrong with that approach, but a little intelligence never does any harm.
The DVD is basic and their are no extras to speak of, which is a little disappointing. However, it's still nice to be able to replace my 'taped off the telly VHS version' which was beginning to shoe the signs of wear. The professor didn't surface again in the movies as far as I know, and we had to wait for the
John Mills TV series to see him again.
All in all, a cracker, and at this price, and absolute must !
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