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The Quatermass Xperiment (1955)

Professor Bernard Quatermass' manned rocket ship returns to Earth, but two of the astronauts are missing and the survivor seems ill and unable to communicate.

Director:

Val Guest

Writers:

Richard H. Landau (screenplay) (as Richard Landau), Val Guest (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Brian Donlevy ... Prof. Bernard Quatermass
Jack Warner ... Insp. Lomax
Margia Dean ... Mrs. Judith Carroon
Thora Hird ... Rosemary 'Rosie' Elizabeth Wrigley
Gordon Jackson ... BBC TV producer
David King-Wood David King-Wood ... Dr. Gordon Briscoe
Harold Lang Harold Lang ... Christie
Lionel Jeffries ... Blake
Sam Kydd ... Police sergeant questioning Rosie
Richard Wordsworth Richard Wordsworth ... Victor Carroon
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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

Certificate:

See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

27 June 1956 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Quatermass Xperiment See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

£45,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Hammer Films See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Nigel Kneale had several reservations about this adaptation of his tale, conceding it was well-directed and pared down with pace from his original story line. He deplored the use of US actors Brian Donlevy (finding him far too unsympathetic and implausible as the lead role) and Margia Dean. Les Bowie's tripe-based realisation of the creature, also vexed the writer. Kneale was further infuriated by the BBC, who refused him any involvement or remuneration for this commercial use of his work, since as a contracted staff member all rights remained with the Corporation and not the individual. See more »

Goofs

As Victor stumbles out of bed while his wife sleeps, a crew member is reflected on the glass doors. See more »

Quotes

Insp. Lomax: Nobody ever wins a cold war.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The original 1955 "Quatermass Xperiment" print has the closing caption "The End"; the reissued version (with a still bearing the new title "The Quatermass Experiment" inserted into the opening credits) replaces this with "A Hammer Production Produced at Bray Studios". See more »

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User Reviews

 
Rather Simplified But Still Effective
13 August 2002 | by Theo RobertsonSee all my reviews

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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