Professor Quatermass, trying to gather support for Moon colonisation his project to colonize the Moon, is intrigued by the mysterious traces that have been showing up on his radar - meteorites crashing down?. Following them to the place where they should be landing he finds a destroyed village, a mysterious factory too close to his designs for the Moon colony for comfort, and some strange, aerodynamic objects containing a mysterious, ammonia-based gas that infects one of his assistants. Officially, the factory is producing synthetic food; but despite the veil of secrecy surrounding it Quatermass succeeds in finding out it harbours aliens with deadly designs on the Earth... Second in Hammer Films' trio of screen versions for Nigel Kneale's classic 1950s BBC serials, with the same director and star as 1955's "The Quatermass Experiment".Written by
Jorge Mourinha <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Nigel Kneale wasn't happy when the "Hammer" version of his BBC teleplay, had removed a good portion of his original story treatment. See more »
The asteroid could not orbit as said. Short distance orbit implies several revolutions per day, whilst staying in Earth's shadow implies to revolve once per year, thus orbit about as far as the sun. See more »
Hey look at this Sir! Look at this! I think this- I think this is a- a whole one! Yes it is! It's exactly the same odd shape as the other. It isn't even cracked. It's...
What is it?
That's funny, I thought I felt a sort of...
Put it down!
-a sort of vibration.
Marsh, your face! There was something on your face! Are you alright? Let me take a look. You know, for a moment, I could have sworn I saw something that looked like a big black bubble.
See more »
As was commonplace in the 1950s, Hammer filmed a racier "Continental" version, which included revealing shots of Vera Day. Nigel Kneale objected that it was entirely out of place, not to mention far too colorful, to have a topless waitress in a village pub. See more »
Thanks to a good friend I'm currently undergoing what sci-fi fans refer to as "the Quatermass-experience". That simply means watching the three QUATERMASS-movies in a short time period. The first one felt like a true sci-fi classic, but I honestly couldn't really tell, because I haven't seen enough of those black & white sci-fi flicks to compare it too. But I'm working on that.
After having seen QUATERMASS 2, I'm starting to get convinced that those movies really are a stellar trilogy (even though the individual stories aren't actually related). This second installment was the first British movie ever to feature a number "2" in its title, to indicate that it's a sequel. The movie itself shows a lot of similarities with the original INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS (an alien organism invading earth, loss of human identity, a common higher consciousness, a global threat at hand...). But since they were produced around the same time none of the movies can be accused of stealing from each other.
Writer Nigel Kneale presents us a solid, coherent story undermined with plausible scientific facts. To put it rather simply: an organism not of this earth infects humans and even infiltrates the highest ranks of the British government. The story moves at a decent pace and never gets boring. Val Guest's directing is as good as it gets for a movie from the 50's. He clearly knew what he was doing on the set. Some minor continuity problems can be encountered (some night shots feature a few glimpses of daylight) and at least one scene seemed a bit artificially staged for convenience's sake (the one where Broadhead and Quatermass get their passes from the ministry-chap). But all that really isn't anything to complain about.
I sort of liked Brian Donlevy as Quatermass. He really feels like the prototype of an anti-hero. He's often a bit rude and really persistent. Especially that last characteristic made his character more believable. The rest of the acting was also decent, though all of the supporting roles were too small to be memorable. And I so much liked the fact that there wasn't an obligatory love-interest in the plot for Mr. Quatermass. That simply would not have worked.
There were a few details I really liked, like when Quatermass arrives in that little town in the area of Winterton Flats (or was it Willingdon Flats?). All the inhabitants work for the alien-infested factory and they have posters on the wall with slogans like "Remember: Secrets mean sealed lips" and "Talk about your job. Lose it". Another cool thing about the story was that it was actually Quatermass who designed the factory facility with the domes, which was originally to be a moon-colonization project. Only, the government stole his design and build it here on earth, for the alien organism to adapt itself. The factory was an excellent location and felt real. So were the few special effects (mainly miniatures of the domes). The 'rocket-lift-off' shots and effects looked rather silly though. I'm glad this movie was in black & white, that way, when we finally see the alien organism in all its giant glory, it looked a bit more terrifying.
So if you're curious about the history of sci-fi movies, than you just can not miss this one. Now I'm really looking forward to see QUATERMASS AND THE PIT.
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