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Quatermass (1956)

John Mills , Simon MacCorkindale , Piers Haggard  |  Unrated |  DVD

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Quatermass + Quatermass 2 - The Classic 1955 BBC Television Version Starring John Robinson + Quatermass and The Pit - The Classic 1958-59 BBC Television Version Starring Andre Morell
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Product Details

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

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

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

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Quatermass and the exploration of inner space September 29, 2005
For years British science fiction has incorporated many of the traits of the nation: anti-authoritarian, individualistic, eccentric and scientific. From H.G. Wells through to the most recent reincarnation of Doctor Who these themes have been very common.

Quatermass and the television show Doomwatch have in mmany ways led the way for the rest of the shows to follow and have also gone to the most extreme view of what may be to come.

Many other reviewers have plundered the plot but very few have looked at the overiding ideological positions adopted by the creators of Quatermass. The familiar themes which charaterised this series of movies is very much in the vein of Wells and Wyndham the apolyptic vision, a society degenerating where the rule of law has broken down, anarchy in the UK, all of which can be found in some of the works of J.G. Ballard, and to soem extent Mike Moorcok. For stark contrast the Planet People, a pseudo-hippy movement without the drugs, breeze through the movie portrayed as having become rather mindless lotus eaters who are easy prey for the force yet can also kill and destroy.

Scientists are seen as having interferred with nature, a position closely associated with the green movement especially the Fundis in Germany. Quatermass qua as a scientist, is scorned for his views and his apparent contribution to the general sense of decay. Yet it is he who, working with the self same bueaucrats he clearly distains, strives to discover the evil nature of the force and to overcome it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
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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 complex entry into the classic Quatermass series. In the grim near future aliens are collecting the world's youth who believe that they are being taken to a new world to start over again. The only man who can figure out why the hippie children (dubbed "Planet People") are being upducted is reluctant hero Professor Bernard Quatermass (John Mills "Ghandi"). But can he find a way to stop the aliens in time or will the world's youth be taken away for good? This fourth Qautermass entry is a classic! I LOVED IT! Recommended to fan's of classic Doctor Who, Blake's 7, The Tomorrow People & Saphire and Steele.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars QM: A Fascinating Psuedo Post-Apoc Story November 22, 2010
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, but the story and the stories w/i the overarching theme are thoughtful and interesting.
i watch this set every year or so, and i enjoy it each time as i discover more philosphical notions i missed the last time.
goes great with a glass of Cab and a bowl of stew on a cold winter's day.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Saved by the smell August 7, 2006
I haven't seen the original BBC series, or the Hammer "Quatermass" films, but this Thames mini-series will have me searching for them. This reminded me a little of Max Headroom -- well-written story-driven science fiction; it's the story that kept me watching four hours straight -- the special effects are hobby store cheap.

All of the world's youth are becoming "Planet People." They're making pilgrimages to places like Stonehenge where they expect to be transported to another planet. They sing songs and chant things, like "Soon" and "Planet."

The scientists in the story think the Planet People are mad, until some get beamed up, or vaporized, at Ringstone Round. The Planet People feel validated. The scientists are irritated -- they suspect the Planet People are being harvested.

Quatermass is trying to find his granddaughter and get her rehabilitated before she gets beamed up, or vaporized.

Come to think of it, the whole show is kind of like "Footloose," told through the parents' eyes -- if the parents were scientists instead of religious fundamentalists, and it took place in the future. This time, though, in the end, it's not love, but the bomb that brings everyone together.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Rare Gem September 10, 2013
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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.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but watch the others first. November 19, 2005
This was the first of the Quatermass films that I saw. Then I went back and watched the first three, which are much better. They're not quite sci-fi, not quite horror, not quite thriller, but all three mixed together. If you like X-files type conspiracy and invasion stories, Quatermass should be checked out. Start with, if you can find it, the Quatermass Xperiment. Then move on to Quatermass 2, and finally Quatermass and the Pit. These three are all excellent Hammer Films.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Quatermass - John Mills April 28, 2014
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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. It did have actors in this movie that I know, but the continual reference to the 'Planet People' irritated me more than just a little bit. I am certainly not disgruntled that I purchased this DVD but I still go back to the fact that I prefer the B/W BBC Quatermass of the 50's.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
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 9 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 13 months ago by Michael J Price
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 17 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
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 If you like weird...
If you like weird science fiction, like Doctor Who, this is the show for you. Made into television series and big screen movies Quatermass in some ways helped make Doctor Who and... Read more
Published on June 9, 2009 by Michael Valdivielso
3.0 out of 5 stars Hmmm!
A little disappointing. The earlier versions of Quatermass had a strong supporting cast which, I think, carried Donlevy from one emotional outburst to another very well and made... Read more
Published on August 16, 2008 by Colonel Samuel Thursday
5.0 out of 5 stars Quatermass the Legendary '70's sci-fi classic
This is one of the best science fiction films I've seen so far. Personally, I find it fascinating, as it is about a cult where the young generation of that day is drawn to cirtain... Read more
Published on May 26, 2007 by Miss A Collinson
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