Aliens, the Devil and the Good Professor – Quatermass and the Pit (1967)

Quatermass and the Pit 11
After a skeleton is unearthed during an excavation to extend a train passage, Professor Quatermass just so happens to get involved and once more finds himself dealing with a possible alien invasion that started many moons ago and is now ready to pick right back up again. No matter what he does, Quatermass cannot seem to get himself away from the aliens, this time from Mars, which makes you think that maybe he should just concentrate his studies there instead of always trying to get his moon-base going.

Quatermass and the Pit 73The third and final picture starring our erstwhile hero from Hammer Films entitled Quatermass and the Pit would once again be written by Nigel Kneale, the only person to return from the previous movies. This film saw Quatermass once again having his dreams dashed as the government would see fit to take over his moon-base project, essentially leaving him out in the cold. It would be another blow to the man yet thankfully, something would arise to occupy his time thanks to a construction crew not far away. Andrew Keir would take over the role from Brian Donlevy who had portrayed him in the previous two films and would end up doing a far superior job as well. Both men have their positives, but in the end, Keir just seemed more like a professor than Donlevy could ever be and even better, Keir was able to show more emotions than just indignation and outrage. That is not to say that Donlevy was not any good, because he was, Keir just happened to be better and it makes you wonder how those earlier films would have been with Keir in the role instead.

Quatermass and the Pit 15The special effects in this film were what you would expect though they would end up being worse than Enemy From Space which was released ten years previous to this film. Little was needed though and what we did see, specifically the alien bugs who were only present for but a few moments, took little away from the film. The rest of the picture was quite good, though it did tend to drag just a little bit. Good to see was that Kneale got a handle on the dialogue by this film which was a vast improvement over the second movie and joining him on this journey would be director Roy Ward Baker. The picture was shot beautifully and there was a continual level of suspense throughout the film once it was discovered that they were all dealing with aliens and not just some form of early human.

In one sense, the film seemed a little repetitive as once again the professor had to deal with life not of this Earth, but to change things up a little, Kneale would introduce some religious concepts into the picture, tying these aliens back to images of the devil throughout history among other things. It made the film a lot more interesting than if he was simply going to rehash the invasion storyline of the last film, which he still sort of did, but at the end of the day, the movie was still quite enjoyable. Of the three, it could have been a lot stronger than it was. Perhaps the transition into colour lessened its impact and took a little away from the mood of the film, yet as a final picture, the events would shake Quatermass and his faith to the core and would leave him, at least you would think so, as a much stronger person.

3.5 out of 5
Quatermass and the Pit 7

7 replies »

  1. Great review! Quatermass and the Pitt is one of my all time favourite Hammer films, I love it. It captures the tone of the original TV series perfectly, brilliant film and a good one to watch again at Halloween 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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