Wednesday, 9 March 2016
The Quatermass Xperiment (1955)
This is the third version of The Quatermass Xperiment I've blogged, easily the shortest and, to be brutally honest, the third best. It's a very perfunctory, rushed version with none of Nigel Kneale's subtleties and Brian Donlevy's Quatermass (no characters comment on the fact that either he or Judith Carroon are American) is unsympathetic and entirely devoid of charm.
Still, in spite of the first half of the film actually being quite dull with the absence of the interesting bit (the alien is just possessing Carroon, not a gestalt entity, and Judith hasn't been sleeping with Gordon), the second half becomes more interesting as it suddenly turns into a horror film, and Richard Wordsworth clearly basing his performance on Boris Karloff: there's even a scene with a little girl that strongly evokes James Whale's Frankenstein.
Other interesting performances are a comic turn from a cockney Thora Hird and a young Gordon Jackson as a to producer, but the film never quite takes off.
It's strange that this is considered the first of the Hammer horrors; having seen this, X the Unknown and The Abominable Snowmen I wouldn't really consider any of them as such, not really being "horrors" and not necessarily featuring the cast and crew we would expect. Still, from little acorns..