Quatermass And The Pit

Blu-Ray Rating: ****

Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

Read Jennie Kermode's film review of Quatermass And The Pit
Quatermass And The Pit

This film is available on double-play DVD/blu-ray. It really is worth watching in the blu-ray version as greater clarity in the film's several dark scenes really adds to its visual impact. Although the visual quality of the film reveals its age in places, blu-ray flatters rather than embarrasses it.

The UK and US trailers make for entertaining contrast. The latter, much more dramatic, takes a few liberties with the plot, promising "women will be defiled by invaders from outer space!" a section apparently missing from my copy of the film.

Copy picture

The Hammer featurette is an old television episode looking at the studio's work in the science fiction genre. There's some great stuff here about little-seen films, and although it contains a natural element of bias, it's still a little cautious about Hammer's depiction of science as something inclined to lead to catastrophe (interesting here because the character of Quatermass somewhat contradicts it). Unfortunately the music in this section is too loud for the dialogue, drowning it out in places.

The interviews make for an interesting mixed bag, though only die-hard fans will want to watch them all at once. Judith Kerr has some charming stories to tell and affectionate insights into the character of writer Nigel Kneale, having been married to him, but it's unfortunate that she tries to talk at length about the nature of science fiction whilst acknowledhing that she hasn't read much of it - the gaps in her knowledge really show. This is balanced somewhat by Joe Dante, who talks passionately about his interest in "true science fiction", as intelligent exploration of ideas, and expounds on the literary aspects of the story. Kim Newman dwells more on the horror aspects of it, calling it "intellectually rather than emotionally terrifying," and provides some interesting historical context.

Julian Glover is the only cast member to be interviewed (one of few still alive), and provides an interesting insider's perspective on a film where it would seem he felt rather out of his depth; he also meanders into anecdotes about Star Wars and Indiana Jones that will please many viewers. Marcus Hearn suggests that the key to Hammer's success with the story lay in its serious approach to the subject matter. Finally there's a critical perspective from Mark Gatiss (terribly lit - the only shoddy bit of work in this disc set), who talks about the film's impact over time.

Reviewed on: 01 Oct 2011
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Quatermass And The Pit packshot
A scientist steps in to invesigate after something sinister is unearthed in a London tube station.
Amazon link

Product Code: B00525QJYO

Region: 0

Extras: Trailers; audio commentary; alternative credits; interviews; Hammer featurette

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