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Quatermass (1956)

John Mills , Simon MacCorkindale , Piers Haggard  |  Unrated |  DVD
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: John Mills, Simon MacCorkindale, Ralph Arliss, Paul Rosebury, Jane Bertish
  • Directors: Piers Haggard
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: A&E Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: April 26, 2005
  • Run Time: 204 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0007TKNOM
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #113,595 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Quatermass" on IMDb

Special Features

  • All four episodes, plus the rare theatrical version The Quatermass Conclusion
  • "Enduring Mystery of Stonehenge" from the History Channel's In Search of History series

Editorial Reviews

As a bracing alternative to Star Wars and the derivative space operas that followed, Quatermass impressed more serious science fiction fans with its unsettling vision of Earth's near future. This four-chapter TV miniseries follows an admirable tradition of British science fiction, compensating for a limited budget (though generous by 1978 standards, at £1.5 million) with superior writing (by Nigel Kneale) and intelligent, resourceful direction (by Piers Haggard) that emphasize ideas and atmosphere over senseless action and special effects. Presenting a near-future scenario that would later inspire elements of The Road Warrior, Max Headroom and other dystopian visions, the story finds Kneale's popular creation, Prof. Bernard Quatermass (here played by the late, great Sir John Mills) in his darkest hour, desperate to find his lost 16-year-old granddaughter and coerced out of retirement to investigate a mysterious alien force that is, in his horrified phrase, "harvesting the human race." While lawless gangs pillage the remains of an England blighted by war and ecological disaster (the rest of Earth reeling under similar fate), a youth-cult of "Planet People" awaits their deliverance from Earth, gathering at ancient sites like Stonehenge and Ringstone Round. Joining forces with astrophysicist Joe Kapp (Simon McCorkindale), Quatermass ultimately realizes that there is only one, devastating solution to their planetary dilemma.

Drawing on 25 years of Quatermass legacy through films and television, Kneale and Haggard are uncompromising in their depiction of anarchy, decay, and desperate pockets of hope, and Mills is brilliant in his title role as a genius devoted to saving what's left of humanity. The result of their collaboration is the most compelling of all Quatermass adventures, and the most disturbing. While the four-hour Quatermass series is the one to watch, this two-disc DVD set also includes the truncated theatrical version and "The Enduring Mystery of Stonehenge," an hour-long episode of The History Channel's excellent series In Search of History, placing the fictional speculation of Quatermass in current historical context. All in all, a fascinating combination. --Jeff Shannon

Product Description

As the millennium draws to a close, civilization is on the verge of collapse. Gangs rule the streets. Books are burned for fuel. And a monstrous force from outer space is destroying the world's youth. Planet Earth is in dire need of a hero. Enter the world's greatest rocket scientist--Professor Bernard Quatermass. Fresh out of retirement, the aging Quatermass is as brilliant and plucky as ever. While London crumbles under anarchy, the professor uses his powerful intellect to marshal assistance from American and Russian quarters and combat what could be the planet's final enemy. Along the way, he hopes to be reunited with his missing 16-year-old granddaughter. One of sci-fi's most original creations, inspiring favorites like The X-Files, this classic 1970s production of QUATERMASS stars Academy Award®-winner Sir John Mills (Ryan's Daughter, Gandhi) and features all four episodes, plus the rarely-seen theatrical version, on DVD for the first time ever. DVD Features: THE QUATERMASS CONCLUSION--The Rare, Feature-Length Theatrical Version; "Enduring Mystery of Stonehenge" episode from THE HISTORY CHANNEL®'s award-winning series In Search of History; Interactive Menus; Scene Selection

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Sci Fi Series Ever Made... September 7, 2001
Format:VHS Tape
If your are familiar with the classic Quatermass films of old and you haven't heard of this one, then let me fill you in. I don't want to give too much of the storyline away so I'll try not to spoil it for you. The author of all the Quatermass films, Nigel Kneale had written this to be the follow up to Quatermass And The Pit - he was commissioned by the by the BBC (world famous UK channel) to do it on the back of that film's success. After reading the script, the BBC decided that it would be too expensive to make and so it was abandoned. However, in the wake of Close Encounters and Star Wars in 1977,the sci fi genre was back in fashion and Euston Films (English film company) put the money up - one and a half million pounds. That was a lot of money in 1978. Don't worry, the director Piers Haggard did an excellent job. John Mills, cast as ageing Professor Quatermass,is superb. The story is set in a world years from '78, say late 90's and civilisation around the globe is collapsing. The United Kingom has been reduced to a kind of civil war Yugoslovia. America is in a complete mess and so is the whole world for that matter. Gangs of killers roam the the abandoned inner cities. Fuel and food shortages have become the norm and in the countryside, bands of mystics calling themselves the Planet People wander round chanting their crazed belief that they will soon leave this sick world. Out of all this chaos, Quatermass arrives in London to appear as a TV guest on a late night NASA programme. It's being broadcast on the last operating TV station in the country. As they link up to a live satelitte view of the new American-Soviet space station, all hell brakes loose when it dissintegrates before their eyes and all astronuats are lost. The question is - why did this happen? Read more ›
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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A dose of Quatermass December 17, 2002
Format:VHS Tape|Verified Purchase
"The Quatermass Conclusion" is the fourth movie-length installment in the long-lived "Professor Quatermass" series of films, the first of which appeared fifty years ago with Brian Donlevy in the title role. That was "The Creeping Unknown," which remains scary even after the sad jading of our collective special-effects appetite. Donlevy reprised the Quatermass character in the 1958 sequel, known in the United States as "The Enemy from Space." Andrew Keir took over for the 1967 "Quatermass and the Pit," called "Five Million Years to Earth" for transatlantic audiences. It wasn't until 1979 that screenwriter Nigel Kneale managed to get a fourth Quatermass story on film, this time as a BBC "mini-series" in four parts featuring John Mills as a by now aged protagonist. This is conceptually the most ambitious of the Quatermass stories: Kneale sets it in a world afflicted everywhere by social and economic collapse and - this is a key element in the unfolding story - the withdrawal of young people, especially adolescents, from all communal ties. The landscape swarms with packs of juvenile "Space People," as they call themselves, dressed in flower-child fashion awaiting their deliverance to a paradise planet. They believe that their redemption will occur at the ancient megalithic sites and it is to these that they gravitate. Redemption it is not. Quatermass, coming to London from the countryside to seek a lost grandchild and drawn into the investigation of events, theorizes about "the harvesting of mankind." He is aided by an astrophysicist played by Simon McCorkindale, whom many viewers will recognize as a screen presence of the time. Read more ›
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping, intelligent science fiction. March 15, 2004
Format:VHS Tape
It's a given among science fiction aficionados that the three theatrically released Quatermass films are among the best of British science fiction. This rarely seen, final installment of the series does nothing to tarnish its reputation. Available up till now in a severly truncated version, the complete 4-hour mini-series is now available, and well worth getting.
The premise of 'Quatermass' has to do with an alien 'force' (a beam of energy), originating from a distant part of the universe, which "harvests" human beings. It seems that the beings behind this 'force' visited Earth 5,000 years previously, leaving a collective fright among the human population. As a result of that event, the early peoples constructed megaliths (Stonehenge, Ringstone Round, etc.) to mark places where the aliens landed, and where they left transmitters or beacons under the earth. As the film begins, we see a world in decay. Social and environmental calamaties have been rife, with barbaric tribalism resurgent. Young people seem to be in the grip of some kind of collective madness, compelled to mass at these megalithic locations. It seems that that the alien 'collectors' are drawn to the physiology of younger humans (this assumes great significance as the film progresses). The young, anxious to leave behind this bleak environment, believe they will be taken to another planet (they call themselves 'Planet People').
When large crowds of the young arrive at the various locations, a strange beam emanates from the sky to the location. Puff, they are all gone, leaving only charred dust. This is, as we learn, the "gathering time" for this 'harvest'. Quatermass (well played by John Mills) discovers the truth, and and sets out to combat the malevolent force.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Quatermass - John Mills
I did watch this DVD until the finish. I did not particular like the way it ended. I felt that I was left a bit up-in-the-air. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Jacquelene Murphy
1.0 out of 5 stars Quartermass
I was extremely disappointed with this. I liked John Mills in the movies that I had seen that he made. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Judith Gribble
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing quality
Charged additional postage when collecting from Post Office (later refunded).
Advised supplier that item was received in an unfit state, smelling badly of tobacco throughout. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Michael J Price
4.0 out of 5 stars Rare Gem
A fantastic film and series that will appeal to anyone who dislikes dangerous cults and the rise of psuedo-science. It is a shame that this hidden gem is not better known.
Published 12 months ago by Beverley Candy
2.0 out of 5 stars A great story with a lousy ending!
I am a huge Quatermass fan and loved all of Nigel Kneale's Quatermass serials from the 1950s and all of Hammer's movie remakes. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Jero Briggs
5.0 out of 5 stars The Quatermass Rediscovery
Twenty years after Quatermass And The Pit aired on the BBC, Nigel Kneale's creation Professor Bernard Quatermass returned to television screen (albeit on BBC's competition ITV) yet... Read more
Published on November 23, 2011 by Matthew Kresal
1.0 out of 5 stars Rather boring...
I found this film a bit dull. The actors seened tired and the dialogue is stilted and stagey. It's no Dr. Who. What a disappointment, I think I'll seel mine.
Published on September 24, 2011 by Victor Costa
5.0 out of 5 stars QM: A Fascinating Psuedo Post-Apoc Story
it starts a bit slow (only the 1st episode), then all of a sudden, you're in the middle of it. this semi-Post-Apoc story is not a thriller, it is not loaded with special effects,... Read more
Published on November 22, 2010 by CAM Book Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Overated
I bought this looking for a new experience in Sci-Fi and this got great reviews. It is hopelessly dated and not entertaining at all. Read more
Published on December 1, 2009 by S. Frazier
5.0 out of 5 stars Why would aliens want Earth's hippies? Professor Quatermass knows why
I tried really hard not to enjoy this classic little sci-fi mini-series from the U.K. Poor FX, horribly dated 70's "future" fashion etc but I found myself really enjoying this... Read more
Published on September 14, 2009 by Joseph A. Limbaugh
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