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Quatermass And The Pit (1968)

Andrew Keir certainly cornered the market in fat shouty know-it-alls during the 60s and early 70s. You've got Father Shandor in Dracula - Prince Of Darkness (terrorises gormless villagers with his gun and enormous dress), Professor Fuchs in Blood From The Mummy's Tomb (no-one Fuchs with this Professor - not until he meets his match in his own daughter, anyway) and of course, the piece de resistance in overweight egotists, the fantastic Professor Quatermass in this little beauty.

Anyway, everyone knosws the story of this one - a strange object is found buried under Greater London during the excavation of an Underground Tunnel. Enter Prof Quatermass and his assistant (the gorgeous and tweedy Barbara Shelley).

Quatermass immediately susses out that the lump of blue plastic is a spaceship (clever lad, that Bernard), but no-one will listen to him - even when he realises that the ship's defence mechanisms have been causing strange things to happen in the area since the beginning of history.

Of course, all our 20th Century mucking about starts to have a big effect on the ship, and before you can say "oops", things have really taken a turn for the worse. (People running riot in a cannibalistic orgy, soldier's heads exploding - you know, the usual).

This film's strengths lie in the slow build-up to the boffo climax - the noises the ship eminates and the effect it has on the more weak-willed of the people who come across it is terrifying, if you're in the right mood. Very little happens for quite a long time, but you're so intrigued that it doesn't matter. And if your attention wanes slightly, you can always look at Babs.

Director: Roy Ward Baker Writer(s): Nigel Kneale (also story)

Cast: James Donald - Dr. Mathew 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 of Defence, Maurice Good - Sergeant Cleghorn, Grant Taylor - Police Sergeant, Ellis Robert Morris - Jerry 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 - Mr. Johnson, James Culliford - Corporal Gibson, Bee Duffell - Miss Dobson, Roger Avon - Electrician, Brian Peck - Technical Officer, John Graham - Inspector, Charles Lamb - Newsvendor, Peter Bennett - London Transport Official, Peter Bourne - Second Electrician, John Bown - TV Interviewer, Simon Brent - Orderly Officer, David Crane - Attendant, William Ellis - Journalist, Mark Elwes - Second Technician, Joseph Greig - Pub Customer, Walter Horsbrugh - Messenger, Alastair Hunter - Doorkeeper, Elroy Josephs - Black Workman, Michael Poole - Older Workman, John Rutland - Second London Transport Official, David Savile - Army officer, Albert Shepherd - Loader, Leslie Southwick - Journalist, Gareth Thomas - Other Workman, Brian Walton - Journalist, Ian White - TV Announcer

 

Last updated: February 25, 2010

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