Views & Reviews From Writer Steve Miller
Formerly Reviews and Stuff at Rotten Tomatoes, 2005 - 2009.

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Sunday, December 12, 2010

'Quatermass and the Pit' is worth delving into

Quatermass and the Pit (1967)
Starring: Andrew Keir, James Donald, Barbara Shelley, and Julian Glover
Director: Roy Ward Baker
Rating: Nine of Ten Stars

While building an extension to the London subway, workers uncover what appears to be an ancient caveman burial site. However, as archaeologist Matthew Roney (Donald) and his assistant Barbara (Shelley) excavate the site, it quickly becomes apparent that something far more mysterious and deadly has been uncovered. The government sends in the military, led by the closed-minded Col. Breen (Glover) and rocketry expert Bernard Quatermass (Keir) in the hopes of determining exactly what this ancient threat is and stop it before all of London is destroyed.

"Quatermass and the Pit" is the best theatrical movie featuring rebel scientist Bernard Quatermass. It's a fabulous sci-fi flick--perhaps even one of the best movies that Hammer Films ever made--that's got excellent pacing, nicely done sets, and top-notch acting. The creature effects (I hesitate to even call them that) are quite weak, even by the standards when the movie was made, but everything else in the film is so good that I can overlook that part of it.

Andrew Keir is an excellent Quatermass, perhaps the best actor to ever play the role. He comes across as a well-polished intellectual who very much uses his mind as a weapon rather than his fists, and is perfect in portraying the "You must listen to me! The world is coming to an end! No, I am not mad! Listen to me!" sort of frustrations that Quatermass is constantly confronted with. The other stars--Donald, Shelley, and Glover--are also great in their roles. In fact, Glover is so great in his part that the viewer is both happy and sad to see Col. Breen meet his fate.

If you like intelligent sci-fi movies, "Quatermass and the Pit" is a must-see. It is one of the truly great sci-thrillers.

(For more reviews of great classics from Hammer Films, visit companion blogs Terror Titans and Shades of Gray.)

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