Quatermass and the Pit (1967)

UK,
97m, 8,730 ft
35mm film, Technicolor, 1.66:1
mono, English

A British science fiction film directed by Roy Ward Baker. It was the third and final of Hammer's adaptations of Nigel Kneale's television serials chronicling the adventures of Professor Bernard . Hammer first announced the film as early as 1961 1The Daily Cinema no.8403 (4 January 1961) pp.1, 8

Plot Summary

Work on a new London underground line is halted when a skeleton and what appears to be World War II missile are uncovered. But the ‘missile' turns out to be an alien spacecraft and Professor Bernard Quatermass is called in to investigate. It soon turns out that the locust like entombed in the ship are not as dead as they seem and that millions of years before they had had arrived on Earth from Mars to tamper with the brains of primitive ape creatures. The opening of the ship unleashes the ancient forces of evil that have lain dormant in humanity for millennia.

Credits

* = uncredited

Crew
Directed by: Roy Ward Baker
© MCMLXVII [1967] Hammer Film Productions Limited
Associated British-Pathe Limited presents a Hammer Film production
Distributed by Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation
Produced by: Anthony Nelson Keys
Production Manager: Ian Lewis
Original Story and Screenplay by: Nigel Kneale
Assistant Director: Bert Batt
Continuity: Doreen Dearnaley
Director of Photography: Arthur Grant
Camera Operator: Moray Grant
Supervising Editor: James Needs
Editor: Spencer Reeve
Color by: De Luxe
Music Composed by: Tristram Cary
Musical Supervisor: Philip Martell
Sound Recordist: Sash Fisher
Sound Editor: Roy Hyde
RCA Sound Recording
Wardrobe Mistress: Rosemary Burrows
Make-up: Michael Morris
Hair Stylist: Pearl Tipaldi
Special Effects: Bowie Films Ltd.
Supervising Art Director: Bernard Robinson
Art Director: Ken Ryan
Produced at M.G.M. British Studios, Boreham Wood, Herts
Casting: Irene Lamb

Cast
James Donald (Doctor Roney)
Andrew Keir ([Professor Bernard] Quatermass)
Barbara Shelley (Barbara Judd)
Julian Glover (Colonel Breen)
Duncan Lamont (Sladden)
Bryan Marshall (Captain Potter)
Peter Copley (Howell)
Edwin Richfield (minister)
Maurice Good (Sergeant Cleghorn)
Grant Taylor (Police Sergeant Ellis)
Robert Morris (Watson)
Sheila Steafel (journalist)
Hugh Futcher (Sapper West)
Hugh Morton (elderly journalist)
Thomas Heathcote (vicar)
Noel Howlett (abbey librarian)
Hugh Manning (pub customer)
June Ellis (blonde)
Keith Marsh (Johnson)
James Culliford (Corporal Gibson)
Bee Duffell (Miss Dobson)
Roger Avon (electrician)
Brian Peck (technical officer)
John Graham (inspector)
Charles Lamb (newsvendor)
David Savile [army officer] *
Peter Bennett [London Transport official] *
Peter Bourne [2nd electrician] *
John Bown [TV interviewer] *
Simon Brent [orderly officer] *
David Crane [attendant] *
Mark Elwes [2nd technician] *
Joseph Greig [pub customer] *
Walter Horsbrugh [messenger] *
Alastair Hunter [doorkeeper] *
Elroy Josephs [black workman] *
Michael Poole [older workman] *
John Rutland [2nd London Transport official] *
David Savile [army officer] *
Albert Shepherd [loader] *
William Ellis, Leslie Southwick, Brian Walton [] *
Gareth Thomas [workman] *
Ian White [TV announcer] *
Harry Fielder [workman/possessed man] *

References

Alternative Titles

L'astronave degli esseri perduti – Italy
Five Million Years To Earth – USA
Das Grüne Blut der Dämonen – Germany
The Mind Benders
Les Monstres de l'espace
– France
¿Qué sucedió entonces? – Spain

Remake
Quatermass and the Pit (1958)

Sequel to
The Quatermass Xperiment (1955)
Quatermass 2 (1957)

Extracts included in
The Changes (1975)
The World of Hammer: Sci-Fi (1994)

See also
Lifeforce (1985)

Press

1967
Daily Cinema no.9428 (2 October 1967) p.3
“This is that rarity, a horror story logical in its conception from start to finish. The re-write has retained the believability of the television serial while film-making techniques have given an extra dimension to the dramatic scenes when the demoniac power takes over. It is particularly pleasing to come across a film of this nature in which even the minor characters have well rounded personalities, and the big cast of British actors takes full advantage of it. […] With memories of the days when local councils postponed their official meetings in order to catch the next episode, even the most armchair-bound of television addicts will turn out for this one.” – from a review by M.B.

Monthly Film Bulletin vol.34 no.406 (November 1967) p.177
“It is a pity that this, the most interesting of Nigel Kneale's Quatermass parables, should prove the least satisfactory as a film. The television version kept much of the nation on tenterhooks when it first appeared, but the film version, though it keeps closely to the original in outline, has been shortened and simplified and the story now seems somewhat less adult than it did. Less detail has been given to the development of rival theories and red herrings, and much of the suspense and authenticity of the original has been lost. The music and special effects are moderately effective, but the colour is indifferent and Roy Ward Baker's direction is little more than pedestrian. Andrew Keir adequately replaces Brian Donlevy as Quatermass, James Donald displays a nice line in exasperated dedication as Dr. Roney, and Julian Glover gives a brittle performance of latter-day Blimpishness as Colonel Breen.” – from an uncredited review

2004
Sight & Sound vol.14 no.2 (February 2004) p.67
Quatermass and the Pit boasts one of Nigel Kneale's finest screenplays and is altogether superior to the earlier Val Guest-directed films.” – from a review [Homemovies] by GM [Geoffrey Macnab]

References

Periodicals

  • Classic Television no.5 (June/July 1998) pp.10-25 – illustrated synopsis, article (British Film: The Classic Television Top 100 (no.80))
  • The Daily Cinema no.8403 (4 January 1961) pp.1, 8 – note (Hammer add 4 to their '61 line-up)
  • The Daily Cinema no.9428 (2 October 1967) p.3 – review (by M.B.)
  • Dark Terrors no.3 p.16 – article
  • Dark Terrors no.8 (April 1994) pp.20-33 – illustrated production notes
  • Dark Terrors no.16 (December 1998) p.50 – video review
  • Empire June 1999 p.152 – review (by Kim Newman)
  • Film Comment vol.33 no.2 (March/April 1997) pp.64-67 – illustrated review
  • The House That Hammer Built no.6 (December 1997) pp.315-318 – illustrated credits, synopsis, review
  • Journal of Popular Film and Television vol.30 no.3 (Autumn 2002) pp.158-165 – illustrated bibliography, article (“Bring something back” – The strange career of Professor Quatermass by Dave Robinson and Nick Cooper)
  • Kine Weekly no.3129 (30 September 1967) pp.8; 20 – illustrated note (Hammer lunch after Quatermass preview); review (by Graham Clarke)
  • Mad Movies no.1 (June 1972) p.unpaginated – credits, review
  • Monthly Film Bulletin vol.34 no.406 (November 1967) p.177 – credits, synopsis, review
  • Sight & Sound vol.14 no.2 (February 2004) p.67 – DVD review (Homemovies by GM [Geoffrey Macnab])
  • Starburst no.280 (December 2001) pp.76-81 – illustrated article
  • Video Watchdog no.42 pp.31-32 – review

Books

  • Aurum Film Encyclopedia: Science Fiction by Phil Hardy (ed) p.267-268
  • BFI Screen Guides: 100 Science Fiction Films by Barry Keith Grant pp.119-120
  • English Gothic by Jonathan Rigby pp.47, 58, 141-142, 160, 169, 195, 239 – illustrated notes, review
  • Euro Gothic: Classics of Continental Horror Cinema by Jonathan Rigby pp.15, 253
  • Feature Films, 1960-1969: A Filmography of English-language and Major Foreign-language United States Releases by Harris M. Lentz III p.143
  • Hammer Complete: The Films, the Personnel, the Company by Howard Maxford pp.651-656 – illustrated credits, synopsis, review
  • by Walt Lee p.141 – credits
  • Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Film Sequels, Series, and Remakes by Kim R. Holston and Tom Winchester p.404-407
  • Sixties Shockers by Mark Clark and Bryan Senn pp.176-178
  • Variety Science-Fiction Movies by Julian Brown (ed.) p.86 – illustrated credits, review
  • The Vampire in Science Fiction Film and Literature by Paul Meehan p.104
  • Video Source Book (13th edition) 1992 p.2102 – credits, US video data

Other Sources

  • British National Film Catalogue vol.5 (1967) – credits, synopsis