Thursday, August 22, 2013

1955 - THE QUARTERMASS XPERIMENT or THE CREEPING UNKNOWN


The first of three Hammer "Quartermass" films.  This one features the American actor Brian Donlevy as the very British head of England's space program!  The plot is about the first flight into space of a rocketship with three astronauts.  When the ship returns only one of the astronauts remains.

Nigel Kneale wrote the original science fiction serial for British television and he was mighty unhappy with Hammer's film version of his story.  The serial was condensed and the ending was changed.  Kneale was also not amused with the casting of Donlevy as Professor Quartermass


Still for a 1950's science fiction film and in particular a British 1950's science fiction film it's not too bad.  The director/co-screenwriter Val Guest might be a little stiff with the story telling but he gets the job done.  For a film which is essentially an alien invasion story, nobody seems particularly worked up about the situation.  Well that's the "stiff upper lipped"  British way.   

Let's face it the British film industry during the 1950's and early 60's weren't especially known for science fiction films or musicals for that matter.  With the exception of the never ending Dr. Who serial which was primarily targeted at children, The Quartermass Xperiment must have seemed like mighty high brow science fiction drama. 

82 minutes

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