Rent Quatermass and the Pit (1959)

4.0 of 5 from 60 ratings
3h 24min
Rent Quatermass and the Pit (aka The Pit) Online DVD & Blu-ray Rental
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Synopsis:
Andre Morell stars as Professor Bernard Quatermass in this landmark television classic. When a strange capsule is unearthed at an archaeological excavation in London, an unexploded bomb is initially suspected. However, with a history of supernatural events in the area going back many centuries and with events at the dig site about to take an unexpectedly alien turn, the origins of the capsule are soon revealed to be far more distant than anyone could have imagined. When the capsule is finally opened, something is unleashed upon the streets of London that nobody can control and mankind's past and future collide with devastating consequences.
Actors:
, , , , , , , , , Alexander Moyes, , , Richard Dare, , , , , , ,
Directors:
Producers:
Rudolph Cartier
Writers:
Nigel Kneale
Aka:
The Pit
Studio:
Revelation Films
Genres:
British TV, TV Classics, TV Dramas, TV Horror, TV Sci-Fi & Fantasy, TV Thrillers
Countries:
UK
BBFC:
Release Date:
05/04/2005
Run Time:
207 minutes
Languages:
English
Subtitles:
English Hard of Hearing
DVD Regions:
Region 2
Formats:
Pal
Aspect Ratio:
Full Screen 1.33:1 / 4:3
Colour:
B & W
Bonus:
  • Cartier and Kneale in Conversation
  • Photo Gallery
  • Scripts for the Four Missing Episodes of 'The Quatermass Experiment'
  • The Kneale Tapes
  • Making Demons
BBFC:
Release Date:
12/11/2018
Run Time:
204 minutes
Languages:
English
Subtitles:
English Hard of Hearing
Formats:
Pal
Aspect Ratio:
Full Screen 1.33:1 / 4:3
Colour:
B & W
BLU-RAY Regions:
B
Bonus:
  • Brand new commentaries featuring members of the original cast and crew. Presented by Toby Hadoke
  • A newly compiled photo gallery, including images of a number of previously unreleased images from the show's original production
  • A complication of alternate title sequences from the BBC Archives
  • Making Demons visual effects featurette
  • Archive documentary content, covering the 1958 production

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Reviews (1) of Quatermass and the Pit

Doctor Who for grown-ups - Quatermass and the Pit review by Count Otto Black

Spoiler Alert
19/10/2016

Without Professor Bernard Quatermass, we wouldn't have Doctor Who. The three serials he starred in back in the fifties, all written by the extraordinarily imaginative Nigel Kneale, were massively popular at the time, and all of them were adapted into movies by Hammer, the first of those films being the one that really put Hammer on the map and persuaded the studio heads that they should concentrate on horror. So despite only ever getting a fairly small amount of screen-time, Professor Quatermass had one heck of a lot of influence! This particular series even received the ultimate accolade of being parodied by the Goons, in an episode entitled "The Scarlet Capsule".

So is it still good? Actually, it is. As in the two previous series, Quatermass is up against an extraterrestrial threat which, for obvious reasons not unconnected with BBC budgets, mostly manifests itself by taking over humans and causing them to behave very oddly indeed. Having previously fought a mindless alien that was basically a disease and some very intelligent body-snatching space invaders, this time the prof is faced with ETs who are long dead, but whose partially successful prehistoric tampering with life on Earth is accidentally rebooted, threatening global disaster. This is a wildly creative tale of archaeology and witchcraft that, by way of a Martian spaceship initially mistaken for an unexploded V2, turns into occult-tinged sci-fi with profound moral implications. You've got a government cover-up of a crashed UFO, an alien autopsy, and "ancient astronauts" long before they were made up by Erich von Daniken (remember him?). And all this in 1959!

It's not perfect. In those days dramas were paced a lot slower than the frenetic speed we're used to nowadays, and there are long stretches, including almost the entire first episode, in which not a lot happens. The acting is very variable indeed, ranging from excellent bits of often semi-comic character development, including a strange lady who claims to be psychic and looks a lot like Les Dawson in drag, and a rare glimpse which Doctor Who fans will appreciate of John Scott Martin, an actor who spent most of his career inside a Dalek, playing a human being for a change, to the atrocious hamming which kicks in almost every time somebody is supposed to be terrified. And of course, you have to cut the BBC some slack for the not very special effects available almost 60 years ago, though to be fair, sometimes they look better than they did in the much more expensive Hammer movie.

But taken as a whole and bearing in mind when it was made, this is extremely intelligent and astonishingly imaginative sci-fi in which believably flawed people do the best they can in the face of an utterly bizarre threat, and some of them do it better than others. Highly recommended if you don't mind heroes not having superpowers and a complete absence of gunfights.

4 out of 4 members found this review helpful.

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