Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Five Million Years To Earth!


It's felt like five million years sometimes. I've yearned to have Five Million Years to Earth or as it's otherwise know Quatermass and the Pit in my personal collection for decades. I missed it somehow on VHS and it's been the devil to find since (at price which don't make feel like a dope). I've always been able to capture it on TCM and hold it on my DVR. But now it's just been released on Blu-Ray and is now one of the very few Blu-Rays in my collection. I cannot imagine anyone checking in here doesn't already know about this fantastic bit of science fiction with a horror aroma.


In a London dig for the impending subway system a strange object is found which is deemed to be a spaceship by Professor Quatermass, a rocketry man. Together with a few other learned folks and the military this object is uncovered and unfortunately unleashed. It's a spaceship all right and it landed on Earth (you guessed it) five million years before. Where it came from and what it means for the destiny of mankind is only just the rest of the movie.


I love the blend of science and sorcery which strikes at the very core of the tale and of the people who are trying to deal with its consequences. We have scientists confronting the lore of devils and ghosts and attempting to grapple with staggering implications. This is the one Quatermass tale in which both the TV serial version and the movie version have distinctive merits. In the former the tale unfolds gradually and with a greater sense of normalcy until the crisis hits. The movie focuses the viewer on the key elements with greater effect, making the theme all the more terrible. Both the versions have excellent leads as Professor Quatermass.


This one has been imitated, but rarely duplicated. It has never been surpassed as yarn with tension, wonder, fear, and hope for us all.

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6 comments:

  1. The original TV series was better. The BBC broadcasted it live in the early 1950's in six episodes. There's one episode where the workmen and the soldiers are just sitting & talking next to the cannister and the atmosphere gets creepier & creepier... At the time there were reports of the whole of England coming to a standstill while people rushed home to watch the next episode. Penguin Books published the screen plays of three of the Quatermass series. You can still pick them up on eBay.

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    1. I like the TV series too, both have virtues and weaknesses. But both showcase a dynamite story.

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  2. Arrow Books reprinted the three Quatermass script books when they published the novelization (written by creator Nigel Kneale) of the final Quatermass mini-series starring John Mills in 1979.
    The mini-series was re-edited into a direct-to-video feature here in the US entitled "Quatermass Conclusion".
    There's a DVD box set with both the mini-series and feature film versions on Amazon

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    1. I've seen the books but they seem pricey. I haven't found the Quatermass Conclusion available in my region. If I've overlooked it, I'd sure like to see it.

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  3. You might be interested in the connections between all four of the Quatermass mini-series/movies and The X-Files...
    https://web.archive.org/web/20060209191730/http://www.the11thhour.com/archives/091999/features/muldermass1.html

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    1. Kneale's stuff is so central to core concepts it's hard not to lift it when you offer a variation.

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