Quatermass and the Pit (1967 UK) a.k.a. Five Million Years to Earth

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Quatermass and the Pit (1967 UK) a.k.a. Five Million Years to Earth

Post  BoG on Tue Mar 02, 2010 11:30 pm

U.S. Title: Five Million Years to Earth. There were two Quatermass films in the fifties, starring Brian Donlevy as the British scientist, and based on BBC TV serials. This was the 3rd one, with Andrew Keir taking over the role, also based on a BBC serial from the late fifties. This was the first one in color, perhaps a partial reason why some fans look upon it with more favor. As before, Professor Quatermass finds himself in the middle of revelations concerning aliens and the human race.

The other main character is an archaeology professor (James Donald); he's in the middle of uncovering some ancient bones dating back 5 million years (hence, the alternate USA title).  The bones seem human or rather proto-human, but with curiously over-developed skulls. All this is happening smack dab in the middle of London, as construction crews are working to expand the subway system. Besides the skeletal remains, they also find an object which at first is mistaken for a World War II missile. However, though it looks like metal, it resists all efforts to puncture it, eventually fully uncovered as some sort of small vessel. Quatermass soon deduces that it is extraterrestrial, especially when dead aliens resembling locusts are discovered inside.

The story introduces the provocative theory that mankind's development was influenced by alien forces millions of years ago, that our species may in fact owe all our intelligence to these Martians. It also explains all the mysterious incidents and legends of the past concerning paranormal activity, ghosts, demons and even the devil. Needless to say, the establishment does not take kindly to such theorizing (Julian Glover plays a scoffing military man), but it all becomes a rather moot point as all hell breaks loose in the final act. The film ambles along slowly and gracefully for the first three-quarters and then explodes into a frenzy of apocalyptic sf horror. BoG's Score: 7 out of 10

Quatermass Trivia:
Director Roy Ward Baker and writer Nigel Kneale hated the U.S. title
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