Professor Bernard Quatermass, Director General of the British Experimental Rocket Group, launches the first manned space flight from Australia. A malfunction sends the rocket and its three ...
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Victor Carroon is subjected to various tests which indicate that he has taken on the identities of the other two men. Quatermass and Paterson find a gelatinous substance spread around the capsule's ...
Professor Quatermass is trying to perfect a dangerously unstable nuclear-powered rocket engine. After a disastrous test firing in Australia, his soon-to-be son-in-law, Captain John Dillon, ... See full summary »
In the near future, civilization has broken down to the barest fragment of recognizable life. Young people are forming gangs and dominating the wrecks of cities like London. But the ... See full summary »
A separate screenplay by Nigel Kneale for theaters, parallel to the 1979 Quatermass four part mini-series. The story set in the near future involves influences from outer space that are possessing people. Professor Quatermass must save his granddaughter from the clutches of a popular and sinister cult "Planet People" that "performs raptures".
A young girl is brutally murdered somewhere in France. Sometime later, the same thing happens to the daughter of a well-known sculptor. This time the parents (the sculptor and his wife) ... See full summary »
Man of leisure Sir Richard (Edward Petherbridge) receives notification that his Uncle has died, bequeathing him his stately country manor and all its lands. On his return to England he ... See full summary »
Lawrence Gordon Clark
Professor Bernard Quatermass, Director General of the British Experimental Rocket Group, launches the first manned space flight from Australia. A malfunction sends the rocket and its three man crew thousands of miles off course. When the rocket returns to Earth, it crashes in Wimbledon. To the shock of Quatermass, his team, and the spectators who gather around the crash site, only one of the three crewmen, Victor Carroon, is still aboard. Carroon seems unwell, barely able to talk. Examinations of the rocket by both Quatermass and Scotland Yard's Inspector Lomax reveal that something attacked the crew of the rocket as they were on course back to Earth. Even more alarming is that Carroon seems to be undergoing some sort of metamorphosis, which is accelerated by a botched kidnapping attempt by foreign agents.Written by
Christopher M. Buckey <ChrisBuckey@nospam.msn.com>
In an unusual illustration of the problems encountered with early live broadcasts, the telerecording of the second episode ("Persons Reported Missing") is obscured by an insect which landed on one of the cameras during the broadcast. See more »
One morning, two hours after dawn, the first manned rocket in the history of the world takes off from the Tarooma Range, Australia. The three observers see on their scanning screens a quickly receding Earth. The rocket is guided from the ground by remote control as they rise through the ozone layer, the stratosphere, the ionosphere, beyond the air. They are to reach a height of fifteen hundred miles above the Earth and there learn what is to be learnt. For an experiment is an operation designed...
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I had "The Quatermass Collection" 3-Disc Set of the three BBC serials for quite some time but, being already familiar with their cinematic adaptations courtesy of Hammer Films, they weren't so much a priority. However, I decided to check them out now as a tribute to their creator - influential writer Nigel Kneale, who passed away only recently; with this in mind, I regret not picking up the fourth Quatermass serial (released as a 3-Disc SE and whose reduced 'film' version I had also missed on Cable TV a few years back!) and his THE YEAR OF THE SEX OLYMPICS (1968), both of whose DVDs are virtually impossible to track down now - but will probably order yet another Kneale-penned TV program, BEASTS (1976), without waiting for it to be discounted so I won't risk losing it as well (and, in any case, there's no better time than the present to sample some more of this incredibly talented scribe's work)!!
There's not much one can say about the first Quatermass serial, given that four of the episodes are no longer extant!; the scripts are available as a DVD-ROM but, with all the films I watch and the little time I have after work, it's not easy to find a spot wherein to read them (in fact, I've never checked out any of the DVD-ROM stuff on the discs I own - and, among these, is the full-length script of another 'lost' Nigel Kneale piece, THE ROAD , available on the BFI's R2 DVD of THE STONE TAPE )! Anyway, from the first two episodes alone, I can understand the impact this serial must have had - right from the atmospheric credit sequence, accompanied by an appropriately ominous score; it's all the more impressive when one realizes that, at the time, such programs where filmed live!
The cast is largely unknown but clearly proficient (Reginald Tate makes a reasonably effective Professor Quatermass): interestingly, here Duncan Lamont plays Victor Caroon, the 'monster'; he would later appear in an important supporting role in the 1967 film version of "Quatermass And The Pit"! Even from these episodes, however, I can see that there's a bit of padding involved - so that the films undeniably benefited from being more compact, but they also lost some psychological depth in the process!
THE KNEALE TAPES (John Das, 2003; ***), the 40-minute documentary from the TV series "Time Shift", is featured as an extra on "The Quatermass Collection" 3-Disc Set. It's a pretty good overview of Nigel Kneale's career - though no mention is made of BEASTS or THE WOMAN IN BLACK (1989), his adaptation for TV of the famous ghost story (which I saw as a stage play in London in 2002).
The program shows clips from several of Kneale's work - and I was especially glad to finally be able to watch samples from the notorious 1954 TV adaptation of George Orwell's 1984 (which has been announced as upcoming on R2 DVD a number of times but is still M.I.A. for the moment), as well as THE YEAR OF THE SEX OLYMPICS and QUATERMASS (1979), the fourth and final serial revolving around this leading figure in science-fiction lore. The interviewees include colleagues of Kneale's (including Christopher Morahan, director of THE ROAD) as well as younger admirers (such as noted film critic Kim Newman - who had moderated Kneale's Audio Commentary for the DVD of THE STONE TAPE - and the guys from "The League Of Gentlemen"), and they all show an obvious respect towards the man and his remarkably perceptive, indeed prophetic, legacy.
Other supplements on this set include: photo galleries for all three serials; the scripts of the 4 'lost' episodes of "The Quatermass Experiment" which, as mentioned earlier, are available as a DVD-ROM; excerpts from a conversation with Kneale and Rudolph Cartier (director of the three Quatermass serials) recorded in 1991; the title sequences of the two-part 'Omnibus' version of "Quatermass And The Pit" (1958-59) - shorn by about half-an-hour and whose previously-available DVD edition I had considered purchasing myself (without knowing it was edited!); and, as an Easter Egg, an amusing sample of an MST3K-style version of "Quatermass II" (1955)!
However, one of the most enjoyable extras (all found on the first disc of this set) is surely the 7-minute featurette, "Making Demons" - dealing with the special-effects work that the Quatermass serials involved, by the two men responsible; they talk about how these were devised while enthusiastically parading various still-extant cheapskate models and props, and they also touch upon their similar contribution to other seminal BBC productions (such as the afore-mentioned 1984 and the "Dr. Who" series).
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