Professor Bernard Quatermass, Director General of the British Experimental Rocket Group, launches the first manned space flight from Australia. A malfunction sends the rocket and its three ... See full summary »
Professor Bernard Quatermass, Director General of the British Experimental Rocket Group, launches the first manned space flight from Australia. A malfunction sends the rocket and its three man crew thousands of miles off course. When the rocket returns to Earth, it crashes in Wimbledon. To the shock of Quatermass, his team, and the spectators who gather around the crash site, only one of the three crewmen, Victor Carroon, is still aboard. Carroon seems unwell, barely able to talk. Examinations of the rocket by both Quatermass and Scotland Yard's Inspector Lomax reveal that something attacked the crew of the rocket as they were on course back to Earth. Even more alarming is that Carroon seems to be undergoing some sort of metamorphosis, which is accelerated by a botched kidnapping attempt by foreign agents. Written by
Christopher M. Buckey <ChrisBuckey@nospam.msn.com>
The effect of the monster inside Westminster Abbey was achieved by using a pair of gloves covered in fake foliage stuck through a blown-up picture of the Abbey interior. See more »
In an unusual illustration of the problems encountered with early live broadcasts, the telerecording of the second episode ("Persons Reported Missing") is obscured by an insect which landed on one of the cameras during the broadcast. See more »
[the News Editor is on the phone taking a report about the rocket's crash landing.]
Oh, all right.
How junior can a junior local correspondent be? Gone to ask the man in the next phone box when it happened!
What is it tonight? "The Man with Staring Eyes" or "Robbed While They Watched Television"?
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Important but more than that engaging and entertaining (in the third of it that is left in the world)
I don't review shows without seeing them. I think there is a couple of examples where I have commented on a film or show where I have bailed out halfway through, but I cannot think of a time where I have reviewed a series where the majority of it no longer exists. Indeed as someone very much of today it is weird to sit in this world where everything can be bought (or not) online within seconds, but yet here is a well-regarded classic sci-fi where 4 of the 6 parts simply don't exist anywhere.
I came to the two remaining episodes with no experience of the original television show; I had seen the movie versions of Quatermass 2 and The Pit, but those are different beasts in a way and the 2005 version of this didn't inspire me. Luckily the kindness of a fellow IMDb user meant I got a lend of the 3 DVD set of this show thanks Theo, I appreciated the gesture! Anyway, in terms of the show I must say that my lasting feeling is one of annoyance that the rest of the show is no longer available because I was really getting into it by the end of the second episode. To modern ears the show is very talky but yet it works because it is very well written some of the dialogue is clunky but mostly it captures a sense of place and the urgency and mystery of what unfolds is all there. The direction seems very stagey to me (which of course it was) but they make the most of limited sets and of course viewing it in context of the time is important.
What I only realised during the second episode is that the damn thing was being broadcast live! This made it all the more impressive because there were hardly any flubbed lines or problems visible to me and everyone gave strong performances. Tate is a solid Quatermass, not overly emotional but still driven. The support cast around him are all nearly as good although the further one goes down the cast list the less they have to work with (hence you get a few clichés in there particularly on the London streets in the first episode).
Overall though, this is a great little snippet of television, even if it is hard to judge since only a third of it exists now. Important in its time, it still stands up well because it tells (or starts to tell) an interesting story in a manner that engages and intrigues. I look forward to getting into the next two series so that I can get a full story told to me.
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