Written By: Ken Hulsey
Today I have opted to change things up a bit with an article that, for once, doesn't focus on a movie advertisement but instead features an actual publicity still. For those of you who are out of the loop on this sort of thing publicity stills are movie images that are sent out to magazines, newspapers and now in the digital age websites for promotional purposes (i.e articles and movie reviews).
Today's image comes from one of my personal favorite films "Five Million Years to Earth" (Quatermass and the Pit - UK). In the photo are the films two top billed stars, Andrew Kier (Professor Quatermass) and James Donald (Dr. Mathew Roney) alongside one of the insect "Martians" who's spaceship was unearthed during the construction of a London subway tunnel.
Here is the photo info from the reverse side of the photograph:
"Professor Quatermass (Andrew Keir) and Roney (James Donald) finally get into the secret compartment of the spaceship to find violently colored glass honeycombes containing insect Martians in 20th Century Fox's "Five Million Years to Earth." The Deluxe Color attraction was produced by Anthony Newley Keys and directed by Roy Baker."
As I mentioned above "Five Million Years to Earth" is one of my personal favorite sci fi films and a truly underrated film though Gary Gerani in his book "Top 100 Sci-Fi Movies" ranks the film in the number three slot just behind "2001: A Space Odyssey" and just in front of "Star Wars".
I don't know if I would have the stones to rank this one ahead of "Star Wars" though I do believe it ranks well into the top thirty or so sci-fi films ever produced easily.
The original image (and yes this is a studio original) is a black and white, 8x10 on glossy stock paper, and the serial number is FMY/21
Quatermass and the Pit (US title: Five Million Years to Earth) is a 1967 British science fiction horror film. Made by Hammer Film Productions it is a sequel to the earlier Hammer films The Quatermass Xperiment and Quatermass 2. Like its predecessors it is based on a BBC Television serial – Quatermass and the Pit – written by Nigel Kneale. It was directed by Roy Ward Baker and stars Andrew Keir in the title role as the eponymous professor, replacing Brian Donlevy who played the role in the two earlier films. James Donald, Barbara Shelley and Julian Glover appear in co-starring roles.
The plot, which is largely faithful to the original television production, centres around the discovery of a mysterious object buried in the ground at the site of an extension to the London Underground. Also uncovered nearby are the remains of early human ancestors more than five million years old. Realising that the object is in fact an ancient Martian spacecraft, Quatermass deduces that the aliens have influenced human evolution and the development of human intelligence. The spacecraft has an intelligence of its own and once uncovered begins to exert a malign influence, resurrecting Martian memories and instincts buried deep within the human psyche. Mayhem breaks out on the streets of London as the alien force grows in strength. It is only defeated when a metal object – a building crane – is swung into the centre of the force and the energy is discharged.
Nigel Kneale wrote the first draft of the screenplay in 1961 but difficulties in attracting interest from American co-financiers meant the film did not go into production until 1967. The director, Roy Ward Baker, was chosen on account of his experience with technically demanding productions such as A Night to Remember. This would be the first of many films he directed for Hammer. Andrew Keir, playing Quatermass, found making the film an unhappy experience, believing Baker had wanted Kenneth More to play the role. Due to lack of space the film was shot at the MGM studios in Elstree, Borehamwood rather than Hammer's usual home at the time which was the Associated British Studios, also in Elstree.
The film opened in November 1967 to favourable reviews and remains generally well regarded. Hammer announced they would make a fourth Quatermass film but nothing ultimately came of this. A new serial adventure – titled simply Quatermass – was eventually made in 1979 by ITV television in 1979 and (in re-edited form) received a limited cinema release under the title The Quatermass Conclusion.
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