Note: This movie can also be found under the title “Five Million Years to Earth.”
Released 1967 (UK)
British, in English
Director - Roy Ward Baker
Stars - Andrew Keir, Barbara Shelley, Julian Glover, James Donald
When a crew working to expand an Underground station uncovers an ancient artifact, strange things begin to happen. Keir stars as Professor Bernard Quatermass; Donald as research scientist Dr. Mathew Roney; Shelley as Roney’s assistant, Barbara Judd; and Glover as Colonel Breen, the military man assigned to oversee the excavation of the artifact.
It’s a bit dull. I had a hard time staying focused on it.
I wasn't wowed by the acting. In fact, some of it (mostly by minor actors) was cringe inducing.
I really enjoyed the ideas in it. [MAJOR SPOILERS] Specifically, the idea that, millions of years ago, aliens helped proto-humans to evolve in order to, in some small way, keep their own dying race alive. I wouldn’t call it innovative by today’s standards - I’ve heard the suggestion that an alien species helped out the early human race before - but 1. I don’t know how old that idea is, so it may have been new for the time and 2. Even though I’ve heard it before, I don’t see it explored often in film. Also, I liked the idea that this “help” came with consequences, i.e. that we got some of the bad characteristics along with the good. [SPOILERS] It felt creative and different. Also, with a few movies in my recent viewing history that were thin on plot, it was nice to see something with a lot of it.
After seeing “The Damned,” I was so looking forward to this because it’s from the same production company (Hammer Films). I thought it was going to be another pleasant surprise. In some respects, it was. As I said, I greatly enjoyed the plot. However, it was just a bit too slow and boring. Also, I was surprised by the cheeseball acting, given that "The Damned" had some top quality acting. Different directors, though, so I suppose I shouldn’t have expected them to be so similar. Ultimately, I was simply disappointed. For me, it didn’t hit the right note.
Also, I have to say that this film was hard to get my hands on. Apart from “Cavalcade,” which is only available on VHS and was thus a huge headache to view, this one was probably the hardest. I nearly had to purchase a DVD of it! So glad that I didn’t, since I don’t think I want this in my collection.
I give it 3 stars.