Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Klaus, Sep 27, 2011.
Beat me to it!
After all these years, I finally caught "Five Million Years to Earth" in its entirety. I always seemed to miss the first 30 minutes or so. A nifty lil' sci-fi thriller released by Seven Arts/Hammer, this film was originally titled "Quatermass and the Pit". It was based upon a BBC presentation in six parts televised in 1958. It was retitled for American audiences as the titular character was largely unknown in the US. Andrew Keir played Bernard Quatermass and is probably best remembered for that role. (You may recall he replaced Peter Cushing (when he had to bow out when his wife took ill) in 'Blood from the Mummy's Tomb" discussed a few pages back.
It has been debated among some genre fans producer Barry Letts may have gained inspiration from Quatermass when he became the showrunner for "Doctor Who" and Jon Pertwee assumed the role. Certainly, it's easy to imagine Quatermass as the Doctor butting heads with the military. Of course, if it were the Doctor, his vast experience and knowledge would have lead him to "the answers" in relatively short order. Quatermass, being human, a learned one, but still human, we as the audience can more easily follow him as he tries to solve the mystery of "the pit". He's as much "in the dark" as we are in the beginning.
As I noted, the movie was based upon a BBC 6 part series and from what I've read during some casual research is quite faithful to the television broadcast. That's because both productions were written by Nigel Kneale, who created the character. I can't personally attest how similar they are, but I might by the end of the evening. You see, both are available for viewing on-line. Yes,unlike many episodes of Doctor Who, the BBC TV version of "...the Pit" still exists. In fact, I've paused it to compose this post. Aww, heck, you can judge for yourselves. Here are the two versions.
The Hammer film...
...and the BBC telecast...
Pretty sweet. Thanks. I'm downloading the BBC version now.
Interesting, they did make the Doctor UNIT's "scientific adviser" and then stuck him with Earth's military so maybe there is something to do that.
Oh, if you watch the BBC version of "Quatermass", you may perform a double take when the "object" is fully uncovered. I had read that a certain iconic design in Doctor Who bore a certain resemblence to the "object" in Quatermass, but I never saw the actual set piece until last night. It is something that makes one wonder and go, "Hmm..."
No, I'm not going to say anything more lest I influence one's assessment, but I must admit it's a bit uncanny.
BTW, The Hammer version is VERY faithful to the BBC mini-series (though that term wasn't used in 1958). Really, there's only a couple of scenes dropped and most of the dialog is exact. Really, the biggest difference (beyond color), is the pacing. The dramatic pauses in the televised version were shortened for the movie.
Strangely enough, the Hammer version is rather more claustophobic, at least the "pit" screens compared to the BBC version. You'd think it would be the opposite. Instead, the excavation in the Hammer movie is underground, a man-made "cave" created by "mining" tunnels for the London "Underground" railway system. The BBC original presents an excavated "pit" that is open to the sky. As depicted the Hammer version would have been more accurately titled "Quatermass and the Cave".
December is upon us:
12:15 AM: A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court ('49): Bing Crosby musical of Mark Twain novel.
11:45 PM: The Seventh Seal ('57): Ingmar Bergman chess-with-Death movie.
10:00 AM: The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm ('62)
4:30 PM: Scrooge ('70): With Albert Finney and Alec Guinness.
Midnight: Compilation of 1920s-30s cartoon shorts from Van Beuren Studios, including a Wizard of Oz short.
10:00 PM: Topper ('37)
10:30 PM: The Adventures of Robin Hood ('38) for the umpty-umpth time.
2:00 AM: Village of the Damned ('61)
Then some sort of "prehistoric women" theme day, not all genre, but I'll list them all anyway:
8:15 AM: Miss Robin Crusoe ('53): Gender-flopped version of Robinson Crusoe starring Miss Kitty from Gunsmoke.
9:30 AM: Island of Lost Women ('59): Apparently a non-SF imitation of Forbidden Planet, oddly enough, with Alan Napier in the Morbius/Prospero role.
11:00 AM: Prehistoric Women ('67): Hammer film originally called Slave Girls and reusing sets and costumes (and Martine Beswick) from One Million Years B.C.
12:45 PM: The Viking Queen ('67): Hammer film loosely based on Queen Boudicca and oddly lacking in Vikings. But Patrick Troughton is in it!
2:30 PM: She ('65): Ursula Andress and Peter Cushing in the H. Rider Haggard classic.
4:30 PM: The Vengeance of She ('68): Shouldn't that be The Vengeance of Her? Anyway, a loose sequel with only John Richardson returning.
6:15 PM: One Million Years B.C. ('66): Raquel Welch. 'Nuff said.
2:30 AM: The Manitou ('78): Native American demon haunting, with Tony Curtis, Burgess Meredith, and Michael Ansara pretending to be an Indian.
4:15 AM: The Beast With Five Fingers ('46): Disembodied-hand horror flick with Peter Lorre and Robert Alda. Could this be the debut role of the Thing from The Addams Family? (Answer: No.)
4:15 AM: To the Devil... A Daughter ('76): Hammer-made Satanist horror flick with Christopher Lee, Honor Blackman, and Nastassja Kinski.
THU 12/18-FRI 12/19
8:00 PM: A Christmas Carol ('38)
9:15 PM: Scrooge ('70)
11:15 PM: Scrooge ('35) -- TCM's love of reverse order rears its head again.
12:45 AM: A Carol for Another Christmas ('64): Rod Serling's preachy pro-UN remix of the Scrooge tale.
2:15 AM: Beyond Tomorrow ('40): A rare Xmas ghost story that isn't about Scrooge.
10:00 PM: The Glass Slipper ('55): Musical version of Cinderella (you were expecting maybe Hansel and Gretel?).
2:00 AM: Santa Claus ('59): Mexican film familiar to Mystery Science Theater 3000 fans.
3:45 AM: A Visit to Santa ('63): Short subject.
6:00 AM: Scrooge ('35) again, unsurprisingly.
11:00 AM: A Christmas Carol ('38) again, again unsurprisingly. Again.
(From 8 PM onward is a Mel Brooks marathon including High Anxiety, Silent Movie, To Be or Not to Be, and The Twelve Chairs.)
6:00 PM: Fail-Safe ('64): Cold War disaster thriler with Henry Fonda and Walter Matthau.
2:15 PM: King Kong ('33)
4:00 PM: Planet of the Apes ('68): You maniacs! You blew it up!
6:00 PM: Beneath the Planet of the Apes ('70s): Just for that, I'll blow it up!
Jules Verne mini-marathon:
12:30 PM: From the Earth to the Moon ('58)
2:15 PM: Around the World in 80 Days ('56)
5:30 PM: Journey to the Center of the Earth ('59)
^Thanks for posting this, Christopher.
Next weekend, Fathom Events will have a double-feature of A Christmas Carol and Christmas in Connecticut in participating theatres across the US, sponsored by TCM. They're doing both an afternoon and an evening showing, for anyone who may be interested.
Work willing, I'm hoping to make the afternoon show instead of the evening one. The Fathom site estimates that the double feature will run about three-and-a-half hours long and I'm not too keen on spending that much time in at the movies on a Sunday night with work the next day. *fingers crossed*
Just watch the French Beauty & The Beast, from the 40s. Holy crap that was good. Can't believe I've never seen it before
There's a lot of good stuff there, most of which I have on DVD. I've never seen Rod Serling's version of Christmas Carol, though. And you can't go wrong with a Prehistoric Women theme day.
prehistoric women day should be fun. i've never heard of Miss Robin Crusoe before.
It's definitely Rod in full-on preaching mode, but it's got Sterling Hayden delightfully chewing scenery.
I noticed they didn't exactly schedule it for prime time.
For years I had been calling him Quarter-mass...I'm such an idiot.
I wince every time I hear Allan Quatermain's name pronounced "Quartermain" in a movie. So it was a relief to watch Five Million Years to Earth and hear people saying "Quay-ter-mass."
To this day, I say "Quartermain" and "Quartermass" in my head and have to translate them before speaking or typing.
January is pretty thin except for a couple of marathons:
6:00 PM: The Time Machine ('60)
3:30 AM: Escape from New York ('81)
1:00 PM: Tarzan's New York Adventure ('42): Okay, now I want to see Tarzan vs. Snake Plissken.
8:00 PM: Here Comes Mr. Jordan ('41): Reincarnation fantasy later remade as Heaven Can Wait.
10:00 PM: Down to Earth ('47): Musical sequel to Here Comes Mr. Jordan. Inspiration for the Olivia Newton-John bomb Xanadu.
7:15 AM: The Living Ghost ('42): Comedy thriller with vague horror elements. I'm only listing it because it's a slow month.
5:30 PM: Face of Marble ('46): Voodoo/resurection horror film with John Carradine and Robert Shayne.
FRI 1/16: A marathon of films directed by Nathan Juran:
8:15 AM: Siege of the Saxons ('63): Arthurian adventure from producer Charles H. Schneer.
10:00 AM: The 7th Voyage of Sinbad ('58): Harryhausen!
11:45 AM: Flight of the Lost Balloon ('61): Directed, written, and produced by Juran, loosely inspired by Verne's Five Weeks in a Balloon.
1:30 PM: Jack the Giant Killer ('62): Reunites a number of 7th Voyage veterans (including hero Kerwin Mathews and villain Torin Thatcher), but without Harryhausen (the stop motion was by Jim Danforth, Gene Warren, and Wah Chang).
3:15 PM: Attack of the 50 Foot Woman ('58): Directed by Juran under the name Nathan Hertz (his middle name).
4:30 PM: First Men in the Moon ('64): H.G. Wells adaptation.
6:30 PM: 20 Million Miles to Earth ('57): Harryhausen!
2:00 AM: Maximum Overdrive ('86): Stephen King's first and only directorial effort, which even King himself hated. With Emilio Estevez, Pat Hingle, and Yeardley Smith.
4:00 AM: Logan's Run ('75)
Noon: The World, the Flesh, and the Devil ('59): Post-apocalyptic drama often featured on TCM.
6:15 PM: Forbidden Planet ('56)
7:15 AM: The Corpse Vanishes ('42): Bela Lugosi mad scientist movie.
8:30 AM: The Body Snatcher ('45): Robert Wise directs Karloff and Lugosi.
11:15 AM: Carnival of Sinners ('43): Originally La Main du diable, directed by Maurice Tourneur. Guy gets magic talisman but has to pay the piper.
12:45 PM: Dead of Night ('45): British supernatural anthology.
2:30 PM: The Fall of the House of Usher ('49): British adaptation of the Poe story.
3:45 PM: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde ('41): The lame Spencer Tracy version again.
6:00 PM: The Picture of Dorian Gray ('45): The, err, ageless classic.
Thanks for posting the list, Christopher.
King may not like Maximum Overdrive but I've held a fondness for it ever since I first saw the Green Goblin face on the front of that semi in the ads. It may be time for a re-watch.
Well, there's a couple of things I'll try to catch, notably Carnival of Sinners.
I'm not going to try to convince anyone that The Living Ghost is a great movie, but it's been a favorite of mine since seeing on the late show on Channel 38 back in the 70s. I've got it on DVD. The title on the packaging is The Living Ghost, but the actual print on the DVD is under an alternate name (I forget what at the moment).
^Wikipedia says The Living Ghost was released on home video as A Walking Nightmare. It's also called Lend Me Your Ear in the UK.
Separate names with a comma.