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The Quatermass Xperiment (1955)

In 1950s England, professor Quatermass' manned rocket ship returns to Earth, but two of the astronauts are missing and the survivor seems ill and unable to communicate.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Jack Warner ...
...
Mrs. Judith Carroon
...
Rosemary 'Rosie' Elizabeth Wrigley
...
BBC TV producer
David King-Wood ...
Dr. Gordon Briscoe
Harold Lang ...
Christie
...
Blake
Sam Kydd ...
Police sergeant questioning Rosie
Richard Wordsworth ...
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Storyline

In the countryside of London, a rocket crashes on a farm and Professor Bernard Quatermass and Scotland Yard Inspector Lomax arrive in the spot. The rocket was launched by Prof. Quatermass with the astronauts Victor Carroon, Greene and Reichebheim; however only Carroon is found very sick in the cabin. He is transported to a private clinic to stay under observation despite the protests of his wife Mrs. Judith Carroon. She bribes a nurse to bring Carroon to her and she finds that he is transforming into a monster. Carroon escapes, killing people and animals during his metamorphosis while the Scotland Yard is hunting him down and Dr. Quatermass discovers that his process is an alien invasion. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

It's coming for YOU from Space to wipe all living things from the face of the Earth! CAN IT BE STOPPED? See more »

Genres:

Horror | Sci-Fi

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Details

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Release Date:

27 June 1956 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Creeping Unknown  »

Box Office

Budget:

£45,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film was originally slated to be released in the United States by 20th Century Fox. However, to convince more exhibitors to install Cinemascope equipment, studio chief, Darryl F. Zanuck, pledged that all future 20th Century Fox releases would be in Cinemascope or a compatible anamorphic process. Since this Hammer production was shot in "flat" widescreen, it had to be passed over. It was picked up and released through United Artists. See more »

Goofs

Volkswagen Bus en route to the crash site is not the same Volkswagen Bus that arrives through the gate at the crash site. VW badge is larger, chrome trim is missing and license plate is different. See more »

Quotes

Insp. Lomax: Nobody ever wins a cold war.
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Connections

Featured in The World of Hammer: Sci-Fi (1994) See more »

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User Reviews

 
"An important film in the development of British horror cinema."
23 December 2004 | by (Poole, Dorset) – See all my reviews

POSSIBLE SPOILERS Government scientist Professor Bernard Quatermass (BRIAN DONLEVY) sends a rocket into space containing three astronauts. Radio contact is lost and later it crash lands in the English countryside. Two of the crew members are missing, but the survivor, Victor Carroon (RICHARD WORDSWORTH) is slowly being taken over by an alien fungus that feeds on the blood of animals and human-beings.

In a bid to win audiences away from their TV sets (something that was a real threat to cinemas at the time), Hammer elected to film the popular BBC serial THE QUATERMASS EXPERIMENT (the E was replaced with X in order to emphasise it's X certificate), which was the creation of writer Nigel Kneale. The gamble payed off and Hammer had a box office hit on their hands in 1955.

Seen today, THE QUATERMASS XPERIMENT is obviously very tame in comparison to modern day sci-fi and horror films, most of it's shock sequences occur off screen with the camera cutting away and harping back on reaction shots. Yet it is a milestone in the development of British horror cinema and along with the company's THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN, it spawned this country's horror boom of the 1950's and 60's. Richard Wordsworth's Carroon is one of the most sympathetic monsters in British horror and there is a classic scene at the London docks where the former is hiding out in an abandoned boat and is awakened by a little girl who is having a pretend picnic with her dolly. Unaware of the true horror that's going on, the little girl naively asks Carroon if he wants to join them. One can see that Carroon is fully aware of what would happen if the girl touches him and runs away accidentally breaking her dolly.

Wordsworth is brilliant as Carroon and so is Brian Donlevy as Quatermass while director Val Guest's documentary approach gives the picture a sense of conviction.


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