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Quatermass and the Pit

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Five Million Years to Earth (1967), aka. Quatermass and the Pit, starring James Donald, Andrew Keir, Barbara Shelley
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Quatermass and the Pit (1967) aka Five Million Years to Earth (1967) starring James Donald, Andrew Keir, Barbara Shelley

Synopsis of Quatermass and the Pit

While digging an extension in the London underground, workers come across skeletal remains. Construction is halted and paleontologist Dr. Matthew Roney’s team take over. They soon find a metal object that they initially think might be a bomb But it turns out to be an alien spacecraft of some kind. Roney’s assistant Barbara Judd and Professor Bernard Quatermass (Andrew Keir), a rocket specialist who does experimental work for the Ministry of Defence, discover that much of the housing around the site was abandoned by its inhabitants 40 years ago because of strange noises and what was believed to be ghosts. Inside the spacecraft, they find the remnants of insect-like creatures, all now dead. In disturbing the craft, however, they release an invisible force of immense power. …Quatermass and the Pit

Editorial review of Quatermass and the Pit courtesy of

Nigel Kneale’s Quatermass TV series spawned a brief film series produced over an eleven-year period; 1967’s Quatermass and the Pit, released in the US as Five Million Years to Earth, was the third and (until 1979’s Quatermass Conclusion) last of the features. As with previous chapters in the Kneale saga, the film begins with a baffling scientific discovery. This time it’s an alien ship, alive after 5,000,000 years, discovered during the excavation of a new subway line. The craft is able to cause psychic disturbances in individuals genetically connected to the machine; it also prompts them to see dead Martians as ghostly entities nearby. In time, conclusions drawn from these events lead scientists to shocking conclusions about the origins of the human race. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Cast of characters

  • James Donald (Lust for Life) … Doctor Roney
  • Andrew Keir (A Night to Remember) … Quatermass
  • Barbara Shelley (Village of the Damned) … Barbara Judd
  • Julian Glover … Colonel Breen
  • Duncan Lamont (The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde) … Sladden
  • Bryan Marshall … Captain Potter
  • Peter Copley … Howell
  • Edwin Richfield (The Sea Devils) … Minister
  • Grant Taylor … Police Sergeant Ellis
  • Maurice Good … Sergeant Cleghorn
  • Robert Morris … Watson
  • Sheila Steafel … Journalist
  • Hugh Futcher (The Sea Devils) … Sapper West
  • Hugh Morton … Elderly Journalist
  • Thomas Heathcote … Vicar
  • Noel Howlett … Abbey Librarian

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