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 ...
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From the Twitch Live Stage at New York Comic Con 2017, IMDb LIVE host Kevin Smith talks to Marvel Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada about the development of the Marvel franchise, his history at Comic Con and more.
Several years after the previous serial took place, Professor Quatermass is trying to perfect a dangerously unstable nuclear-powered rocket engine. After a disastrous test firing in ... See full summary »
In the near future, civilisation has broken down to the barest fragment of recognisable life. Young people are forming gangs and dominating the wrecks of cities like London. But the ... See full summary »
A separate screenplay by Nigel Kneale for theaters, parallel to the 1979 Quatermass four part mini-series. The story set in the near future involves influences from outer space that are possessing people. Professor Quatermass must save his granddaughter from the clutches of a popular and sinister cult "Planet People" that "performs raptures".
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>
When BBC research revealed that 75% of the audience for the final episode had viewed all previous episodes, scepticism about the viability of a TV drama serial for adults was overcome, and the format went on to become a staple of TV programming in the UK and elsewhere. See more »
During the scene in the Daily Gazette office at the start of Episode Two, the image collapses and turns negative before returning to normal. This was a fault during transmission preserved by the telerecording process. See more »
I had "The Quatermass Collection" 3-Disc Set of the three BBC serials for quite some time but, being already familiar with their cinematic adaptations courtesy of Hammer Films, they weren't so much a priority. However, I decided to check them out now as a tribute to their creator
influential writer Nigel Kneale, who passed away only recently; with
this in mind, I regret not picking up the fourth Quatermass serial (released as a 3-Disc SE and whose reduced 'film' version I had also missed on Cable TV a few years back!) and his THE YEAR OF THE SEX OLYMPICS (1968), both of whose DVDs are virtually impossible to track down now - but will probably order yet another Kneale-penned TV program, BEASTS (1976), without waiting for it to be discounted so I won't risk losing it as well (and, in any case, there's no better time than the present to sample some more of this incredibly talented scribe's work)!!
There's not much one can say about the first Quatermass serial, given that four of the episodes are no longer extant!; the scripts are available as a DVD-ROM but, with all the films I watch and the little time I have after work, it's not easy to find a spot wherein to read them (in fact, I've never checked out any of the DVD-ROM stuff on the discs I own - and, among these, is the full-length script of another 'lost' Nigel Kneale piece, THE ROAD , available on the BFI's R2 DVD of THE STONE TAPE )! Anyway, from the first two episodes alone, I can understand the impact this serial must have had - right from the atmospheric credit sequence, accompanied by an appropriately ominous score; it's all the more impressive when one realizes that, at the time, such programs where filmed live!
The cast is largely unknown but clearly proficient (Reginald Tate makes a reasonably effective Professor Quatermass): interestingly, here Duncan Lamont plays Victor Caroon, the 'monster'; he would later appear in an important supporting role in the 1967 film version of "Quatermass And The Pit"! Even from these episodes, however, I can see that there's a bit of padding involved - so that the films undeniably benefited from being more compact, but they also lost some psychological depth in the process!
THE KNEALE TAPES (John Das, 2003; ***), the 40-minute documentary from the TV series "Time Shift", is featured as an extra on "The Quatermass Collection" 3-Disc Set. It's a pretty good overview of Nigel Kneale's career - though no mention is made of BEASTS or THE WOMAN IN BLACK (1989), his adaptation for TV of the famous ghost story (which I saw as a stage play in London in 2002).
The program shows clips from several of Kneale's work - and I was especially glad to finally be able to watch samples from the notorious 1954 TV adaptation of George Orwell's 1984 (which has been announced as upcoming on R2 DVD a number of times but is still M.I.A. for the moment), as well as THE YEAR OF THE SEX OLYMPICS and QUATERMASS (1979), the fourth and final serial revolving around this leading figure in science-fiction lore. The interviewees include colleagues of Kneale's (including Christopher Morahan, director of THE ROAD) as well as younger admirers (such as noted film critic Kim Newman - who had moderated Kneale's Audio Commentary for the DVD of THE STONE TAPE - and the guys from "The League Of Gentlemen"), and they all show an obvious respect towards the man and his remarkably perceptive, indeed prophetic, legacy.
Other supplements on this set include: photo galleries for all three serials; the scripts of the 4 'lost' episodes of "The Quatermass Experiment" which, as mentioned earlier, are available as a DVD-ROM; excerpts from a conversation with Kneale and Rudolph Cartier (director of the three Quatermass serials) recorded in 1991; the title sequences of the two-part 'Omnibus' version of "Quatermass And The Pit" (1958-59)
shorn by about half-an-hour and whose previously-available DVD
edition I had considered purchasing myself (without knowing it was edited!); and, as an Easter Egg, an amusing sample of an MST3K-style version of "Quatermass II" (1955)!
However, one of the most enjoyable extras (all found on the first disc of this set) is surely the 7-minute featurette, "Making Demons" - dealing with the special-effects work that the Quatermass serials involved, by the two men responsible; they talk about how these were devised while enthusiastically parading various still-extant cheapskate models and props, and they also touch upon their similar contribution to other seminal BBC productions (such as the afore-mentioned 1984 and the "Dr. Who" series).
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