Quatermass and the Pit (1967)

DIRECTOR: Roy Ward Baker

CAST: Andrew Keir, Barbara Shelley, James Donald, Duncan Lamont, Julian Glover, Peter Copley, Bryan Marshall, Edwin Richfield, Robert Morris.

After two Quatermass films with the decidedly starchy American Brian Donlevy in the title role, Hammer finally got the Bernard Quatermass it deserved in this riveting science-fiction thriller. Scottish actor Andrew Keir plays the professor in an adaptation of Nigel Kneale's 1958 TV serial, which coincidentally starred another Hammer horror stalwart, Andre Morell.

Here, Quatermass finds himself investigating what at first appears to be an unexploded World War II bomb buried deep in a London Underground station. It soon transpires it is in fact an alien spaceship, and we are then treated to a host of fantastic paranormal events, culminating in a thrilling climax.

Long-time Hammer art director Bernard Robinson played around on the MGM Borehamwood backlot to create the fictional Hobbs Lane. Tristram Cary's score sounds great, but is a tad too obvious too early on. Roy Ward Baker's direction has been heavily criticized by David Pirie, but despite the proliferation of closeups, the tension is certainly there.

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