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While digging a new subway line in London, a construction crew discovers first: a skeleton, then what they think is an old World War II German missile. Upon closer examination the "missile" appears to be not of this earth! This movie examines the age old question of how we came to be on this planet. It is surprisingly scary. Written by
KC Hunt <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Despite not personally connecting with director Roy Ward Baker, Andrew Keir felt that the crew gelled together extremely well as a unit. This can partly be attributed to the fact that - prevented from lensing as planned at a full-up Elstree - the production team enjoyed the luxury of having the entire run of the empty MGM studios. See more »
Dialog states that the creatures want to make London a "Martian colony" yet there is no explanation or justification for the creatures being from Mars. See more »
A lot of nonsense is written about the significance and meaning and quality of Hammer Films, whereas mostly they were pedestrian and derivative. There were some gems in their output and this film is one of them. The science may be wayward but it unfolds plausibly from the initial discovery of the thing in the pit to mayhem and madness in the streets of London. The opening credits are sparse and it goes straight into the story and never lets up.
It has a clear narrative and each new discovery pushes the envelope of fear and amazement further out. There is no romantic interest (though I must declare the Miss Judd character is pretty darn attractive) to hold up the driving plot. If there is a fault it is that the story can scarcely contain the wealth of material that Nigel Kneale puts in the script. Presumably there isn't a longer director's cut in some film archive!
With limited resources at hand the director, Roy Ward Baker, directs some great scenes, weird and strange and scary. He is served well by the acting of James Donald, Andrew Keir and Barbara Shelley, which is perfect for their roles. As the alien presence become stronger you believe it when it affects the characters. The scene at the pit where Miss Judd has her visions recorded is excellent. The special effects are varied but the green arthropods and the space ship look quite malevolent. The ending is great and somehow disquieting as the closing credits slowly roll.
This is a good example of an interesting intelligent film, costing less than the catering budget of the elephantine mega-budget film we have these days, but much more effective and memorable.
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