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Quatermass & The Pit

91 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Nigel Kneale's Quatermass TV series spawned a brief film series produced over an eleven-year period; 1967's Quatermass and the Pit, released in the US as Five Million Years to Earth, was the third and (until 1979's Quatermass Conclusion) last of the features. As with previous chapters in the Kneale saga, the film begins with a baffling scientific discovery. This time it's an alien ship, alive after 5,000,000 years, discovered during the excavation of a new subway line. The craft is able to cause psychic disturbances in individuals genetically connected to the machine; it also prompts them to see dead Martians as ghostly entitites nearby. In time, conclusions drawn from these events lead scientists to shocking conclusions about the origins of the human race. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Special Features

  • Exclusive "World of Hammer" episode entitled "Sci-Fi"

Product Details

  • Actors: James Donald, Andrew Keir, Barbara Shelley, Julian Glover, Duncan Lamont
  • Directors: Roy Ward Baker
  • Writers: Nigel Kneale
  • Producers: Anthony Nelson Keys
  • Format: AC-3, Color, Dolby, Letterboxed, Special Edition, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Starz / Anchor Bay
  • DVD Release Date: October 21, 1998
  • Run Time: 97 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (91 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6305095477
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #57,555 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Quatermass & The Pit" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

59 of 60 people found the following review helpful By cookieman108 on April 15, 2004
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Quatermass and the Pit (1968) is the third in the Quatermass series, beginning with The Quatermass Xperiment (1955), and followed by Quatermass 2 (1957), all written by Nigel Kneale, and is certainly one of the better Hammer Studios releases. (That's a whole lot of Quatermass...)
The film starts out with an interesting find during the renovation of an underground subway station in the English town of Hobb's End. Seems the workers found some ancient skeletal remains, early primate man it appears, prompting the work to stop, allowing for Dr. Mathew Roney (James Donald), his assistant Barbara Judd (Barbara Shelley, yowsa, yowsa) and a group of anthropologists to catalogue this remarkable discovery. The situation soon turns from fantastic to frightening, as part of a large, metal object is uncovered, leading some to believe it may be an unexploded German bomb from the last world war. Professor Bernard Quatermass (Andrew Kier), a physicist and rocket scientist, along with Colonel Breen (Julian Glover, who later appeared in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade) and the military soon arrive to deal with the situation, but further digging reveals the large object not to be a remnant of a past war. Turns out, it's not even an object of this Earth, as various attempts to penetrate the hull prove fruitless, as the object is of a material not recognizable to anyone. Not only that, but a secret compartment reveals child-sized inhabitants of a bug-like nature. As the scientists, the military, and the government grapple with this incredible find and all its' possible implications, the dissention amongst the parties involved begins, as not only of the origin of the object, and how best to disseminate information to the questioning public.
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44 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Brian Dowling on February 2, 2000
Format: DVD
Quatermass & The Pit is one of the finest sci-fi movies ever made, period. Set in 1960s London, a tube station is being extended when bones and what might be an unexploded World War II bomb are found. This is the cue for some intense weirdness to start happening.
The screenplay does not suffer for the changes for the movie from the original tv series some 12 years earlier, as it was done by writer Nigel Kneale himself. Roy Ward Baker's direction is spot on as well, giving Julian Glover, Barbara Shelley, James Donald and particularly Andrew Keir as Quatermass room to perform.
The DVD itself has a delightful second soundtrack taking the form of a discussion between Kneale and Baker which sheds light on many aspects of the filming, as well as theatre and tv trailers and the World Of Hammer episode on science fiction.
This is an example of a fine film which has been given a valuable extra for DVD. Buy it.
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36 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Bill W. Dalton on March 27, 2001
Format: DVD
This 1967 final entry in the Quatermass trilogy is a solid piece of work, with a fine cast, tight direction, and an imaginative story: a Martian spaceship that has lain buried for five million years is discovered under the streets of London by subway workers, the alien lifeforce within it is awakened and unleashed, and wreaks an ancient havoc on modern man.
The late Brian Donlevy portrayed Prof. Quatermass in the first two movies (The Quatermass Experiment and Quatermass 2) but Andrew Keir plays the role here, and is quite effective. James Donald is understated and competent, as always. And the lovely Barbara Shelley, a veteran of Hammer horror films, is compelling in a non-romantic role as Donald's assistant.
This DVD has for Extras two trailers (one British, one American) and a short documentary featuring film clips of Hammer Sci-fi films sparsely narrated by the late Oliver Reed, which has no information at all about Hammer Studios, its rise and fall, which would have added interest. There's a rather mundane commentary by screenwriter Nigel Kneale and director Roy Ward Baker, two TV spot commercials, a chapter index, and that's about it. The movie is in widescreen format and the image quality is good. If you've never seen this excellent example of British science-fiction, I recommend it highly. If you want a DVD version for your collection, you probably won't be disappointed, either.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Troy M. Ros on October 17, 2002
Format: DVD
This was the first of 7 films that Roy Ward Baker directed for Hammer. I also feel that it was possibly Hammer's finest moment. I have seen this movie at least 5 times and I still love it. This is a remake of a British television series entitled Quatermass and the Pit. The same writer was used on the film and much of the same dialogue is used. And maybe Hammer has some other moments as equally fine as this, but this is such a good movie.
While digging a new subway tunnel underneath London, a large, metallic object is discovered. Different experts are brought in and the official story from the military is that it is an experimental type of bomb from from the Germans from WW II that didn't work. Others aren't so sure, including Professor Quatermass (Andrew Keir).
A little bit of detective work by Professor Quatermass and his assistant Barbara Judd (Barbara Shelley) turns up that the area of London that the object was discovered at, Hobbs Lane, has had a history of strange phenomena going back centuries. In fact the name Hobbs as it turns out, is actually a medieval name for the Devil.
Quatermass proposes that the object is an alien craft that has been buried for centuries, if not millennia, despite the military's insistence that it is a German dud. And soon after the discovery of the object, workers start dying or start having psychotic episodes with visions of seeing aliens that look like insects (kind of like a cross between a praying mantis and a grasshopper actually). The military is trying every tool they can to drill into the object, but to no effect. A cover finally opens up and all hell starts breaking loose around Hobbs Lane. Winds are blowing and people are being driven mad by the visions they are seeing.
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quatermass an the pit
I had the same thought.
Jul 10, 2007 by M. Dobson |  See all 19 posts
music from Quartermass and the Pit and other Hammer films Be the first to reply
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