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Sunday, June 24, 2012

Quatermass And The Pit (1967)

While digging in an underground tube in London, workmen discover several skeletons as well as a massive metal object that turns out to be an intergalactic vehicle that might have brought life to Earth five million years ago. The third in the Quatermass trilogy from Hammer films (the other two were THE QUATERMASS XPERIMENT and QUATERMASS 2), this may well be the best of the three. An intelligent and imaginative screenplay by Nigel Kneale (based on his television play) and the director Roy Ward Baker relies mostly on suggestion (until the very end with a disappointing shadowy creature) rather than graphic visual monsters. The characters are pretty stereotypical of sci-fi films which doesn't allow the talented actors much opportunity for character development. But some 45 years later, it holds up extremely well, a model of thoughtful, creative science fiction cinema without an emphasis on special effects. With Andrew Keir as Quatermass, James Donald (LUST FOR LIFE), Julian Glover and Barbara Shelley. Retitled FIVE MILLION YEARS TO EARTH for U.S. audiences.

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