Monday, December 19, 2016

Sci Fi Top 100, #60: "Quatermass and the Pit" (1967)

Note: This movie can also be found under the title “Five Million Years to Earth.”

Movie Stats:
Released 1967 (UK)
British, in English
Director - Roy Ward Baker
Stars - Andrew Keir, Barbara Shelley, Julian Glover, James Donald

Plot Summary:
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.

Violence; gore.

Bad Stuff:
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.

Good Stuff:
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.

The Verdict:
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.


Patricia said...

Isn't it interesting that everything isn't equally available? You would think the magic of the internet would give us equal access to everything, but there are things that are hard to find. If I had done my black directors project this year, I would have had to purchase some things to watch them. And by that I mean purchase actual copies that would be mailed to me, not just access via download.

balyien said...

It seems like there's quite a bit of stuff that either hasn't been released on DVD or has only had limited release, which impacts its availability for download. It's definitely frustrating. There have been more than a few movie projects I've abandoned because of availability issues. I feel very sad that your black director project was impacted by this.