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Quatermass and the Pit (1967)

Approved | | Horror, Mystery, Sci-Fi | 16 February 1968 (USA)
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A mysterious artifact is unearthed in London, and famous scientist Bernard Quatermass is called into to divine its origins and explain its strange effects on people.

Director:

Roy Ward Baker

Writers:

Nigel Kneale (original story), Nigel Kneale (screenplay)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
James Donald ... Doctor Roney
Andrew Keir ... Quatermass
Barbara Shelley ... Barbara Judd
Julian Glover ... Colonel Breen
Duncan Lamont ... Sladden
Bryan Marshall Bryan Marshall ... Captain Potter
Peter Copley ... Howell
Edwin Richfield ... Minister
Grant Taylor ... Police Sergeant Ellis
Maurice Good ... Sergeant Cleghorn
Robert Morris Robert Morris ... Watson
Sheila Steafel ... Journalist
Hugh Futcher ... Sapper West
Hugh Morton Hugh Morton ... Elderly Journalist
Thomas Heathcote ... Vicar
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Storyline

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 <khunt@eng.morgan.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

All Earth Stands Helpless! Spawned in the depths of outer space -- a monster so horrible, so vicious, so incredible -- even when you see it you won't believe it could be! (U.S. poster) See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Hammer [UK]

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

16 February 1968 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Five Million Years to Earth See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

£275,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Hammer Films See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

In the late 1990s, it was announced that The Crow (1994) director Alex Proyas was to do a remake, but it failed to materialise. See more »

Goofs

The final shot of Quatermass and Barbara, playing out under the end credits, is the same twenty-one or so seconds of footage looped four times. See more »

Quotes

Professor Bernard Quatermass: The will to survive is an odd phenomenon. Roney, if we found out our own world was doomed, say by climatic changes, what would we do about it?
Dr. Mathew Roney: Nothing, just go on squabbling like usual.
Professor Bernard Quatermass: Yes, but if we weren't men?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Big Snatch (1971) See more »

Soundtracks

Poltergeist?
(uncredited)
Written by Carlo Martelli
Performed by Royal Ballet Sinfonia directed by David Lloyd-Jones
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A great Hammer film
15 June 2004 | by henry-girlingSee all my reviews

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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