28 October 2015
Based on the 1950’s TV mini-series this Hammer film from 1967 is actually really good, it’s the third outing for Quartermass under the Hammer studio banner. While I am reviewing it as “Quartermass and the Pit” it’s been re-branded as “Five Million Years to Earth”. This is directed by Roy Ward Baker and written by Nigel Kneale and runs for about 97 minutes and is well worth it.
While digging to make an extension to an underground station in London human bones are unearthed, initially scientists believe these to be prehistoric bones. As well as bones, what looks like a German WW2 Missile is found. The military take over where the scientists leave off to find out of the missile is a threat. Along with the military experts Professor Bernard Quatermass (Andrew Keir) tags along for a look, he sees the ‘missle’ for what it really is, something unworldly. Quatermass teams up with Dr Roney (James Donald) and his assistant Barbara Judd (Barbara Shelley) to get to the bottom of the truth and what he uncovers helps solve the age old mystery of how humans came to being and how we work on a mental level. Of course the military don’t believe him or want to so they stand in his way at every turn but their actions might make it too late for the human race to go on living. Can Quartermass and his colleagues save the world?
This isn’t your usual run of the mill Hammer House production, while it’s branded as Horror it’s definitely more Sci-Fi. Although dated now this film still has an eerie suspense to it and may even start you thinking about themes raised in the film. There is a brilliant finale and twist as the film climaxes which even by today’s standard is risky but helps put the film on a pedestal as a great.
I really like this film and have no issues awarding it 7 out of 10 by today’s standards. If I’d have been writing reviews in the late 1960’s to early 1970’s I’d have probably rated this a 9 because I imagine at the time this was a cinematic masterpiece of a story and scared a lot of people. If you enjoy Hammer films then you have to watch this piece of excellence.