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A missile, launched by the team led by Prof. Quatermass, lands in the English countryside. Of the three members of the crew, two have mysteriously disappeared. The third one, barely alive, undergoes an horrible metamorphosis turning into a monstrous "thing". When he breaks out and, chased in vain by inspector Lomax, starts killing humans and animals to feed his transformation, Quatermass realizes that this is the way chosen by an alien form of life to invade the Earth. Written by
Stefano Cristiani <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Val Guest heavily reworked Richard Landau's story draft (which assumed Quatermass would be British so changed Briscoe into a USAF Flight Surgeon), particularly tailoring the dialogue to compliment Donlevy's punchy no-nonsense acting style, which he believed helped to sell the more obscure SF plot elements to audiences. See more »
Judith somehow deduces that the two nurses assigned to watch over her husband at the hospital are male nurses, despite being told only their last names. See more »
Unfortunately Nigel Kneal had absolutely no input into the film version of THE QUATERMASS EXPERIMENT . Out goes the philosophy and long discussions of the human condition and in comes the more formuliac and streamlined plotting of a hostile alien endangering the human race , but to be fair to Richard Landau he also jettisoned many underdeveloped subplots from the serial ( When episode one of TQE was broadcast on television Kneale was still writing episode 5 so some subplots were abandoned by Kneale in order to meet the deadline ) and - unlike film viewers in 2002 - the oft used premise of an alien entity coming back to Earth from a spaceship would still be very new to cinema audiences in the mid 50s. I might even be right in saying this is the first time this idea had appeared in cinema .
Director Val Guest treats THE QUATERMASS EXPERIMENT as SF film noir and brings in a heavy dose of mood and atmosphere especially during the night time zoo sequence. Unlike QUATERMASS 2 there`s no feeling that the night scenes were achieved by sticking a dark filter over the camera . Guest is less successful with his cast . Donlevy is relatively good at playing double crossing mobsters in the likes of THE BIG COMBO but he`s utterly unconvincing as a rocket scientist and it doesn`t help that he keeps pronouncing his name as " Qittermiss ", Margia Dean is utterly appalling as Judith Carroon , but Richard Wordsworth is outstanding as Victor Carroon even if he doesn`t have a single line of dialogue.
The BBC serial of THE QUATERMASS EXPERIMENT shocked the viewers of Britain when it was broadcast and in its own way the film version is almost as groundbreaking , it was a big hit at the UK box office which led to Hammer Films to concentrate solely on horror films something they would excell at for the next 10-15 years .
Trivia point 1 - The montage scenes of soldiers searching for Carroon at night time are actually culled from another British SF flick - SEVEN DAYS TO NOON
Trivia point 2- The last four episodes of the BBC serial were shown live on television but because of an industrial dispute they weren`t - unlike the first two episodes - recorded onto film which means no one will ever see the complete BBC QUATERMASS EXPERIMENT
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