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Quatermass and the Pit [Blu-ray]
(Roy Ward Baker, 1967)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Hammer Film Productions
Video: Optimum / Studio Canal
Region: 'B'-locked (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 46,293,785,423 bytes
Feature Size: 28,482,760,704 bytes
Video Bitrate: 32.95 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: October 10th, 2011
Aspect ratio: 1.66:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
Commentary: LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit
English (SDH), none
• New UK exclusive interviews in 1080i with Julian Glover
(28:27), Mark Gatiss (19:14), Judith Kerr (17:11), Kim
Newman (29:30) and Marcus Hearn (12:24)
• Trailer (2:29 in 1080i)
• Interview with Joe Dante (11:05 in 1080i)
DVD of the Feature
Description: Hobbs End, Knightsbridge, London. Whilst
working on a new subway tunnel for the London Underground a
group of construction workers uncover a strangely shaped
skull amongst the rubble. Nearby is another discovery: a
large, mysterious and impenetrable metal object. Initially
mistaken for an unexploded bomb the origins of the object
and its strange power are far more horrific and terrifying
than anybody could have possibly imagined. Is it of this
earth? Could it be the ancestral link to mankind’s
evolution? Or could it be an ancient link to unleashing
ultimate evil? There’s only one man capable of unravelling
the clues, his name is Professor Bernard Quatermass, a man
of science who thrives on the dark mysteries of the world, a
man with answers.
A Hammer Horror film about an alien invasion may sound old fashioned today, but Quatermass And The Pit is something else. A tale whose central premise is solidified by reference to myth, it has itself developed a solidity that stands the test of time - it is an old tale, with all the weight that implies, rather than a dated one. Its several retellings have contributed to the curious sense that one is observing differing accounts of real events, adding to its power. Though this isn't the strongest version, it is nevertheless compulsive viewing.Excerpt from Jennie Kermode at Eye for Film located HERE
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. As in previous chapters in the Kneale saga, the film begins with a baffling scientific discovery. This time it's a bunch of prehistoric skulls, discovered during a subway excavation in the heart of London. Sequestered in a lab, the skulls start to emanate a bizarre force over the populace, resulting in death and destruction. Professor Quatermass (Andrew Keir) concludes that the skulls are the residue of an extraterrestrial invading army -- a theory which (as usual) is scoffed at by the authorities until it's almost too late. Blessed with superb special effects and an expertly sustained tension level, Quatermass and the Pit is easily the best of the short-lived Quatermass series.
~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide.
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
Outstanding video quality on Optimum's Blu-ray of Quatermass and the Pitt - a pure Hammer gem. The image is extremely impressive with a spotless, crisp presentation that supports depth and excellent color balance. This is another remarkable Hammer film put to Blu-ray with fabulous results - the first was Paranoiac - a Eureka video transfer. What I like about Quatermass is the fine sheen of textured grain - it is so consistent it reminds me of a Blue Underground HD rendering. It's incredible how sharp some of the close-ups are - credit to the source and adept dual-layered rendering with a high bitrate. Really, this is as good as I have seen from this genre and period in HD. I've already shown the 1.66:1 transfer to friends - to demo the high quality. Fab!
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
The lossless audio comes on the form of a linear PCM 2.0 channel stereo track at 2304 kbps. There isn't a lot going on with effects in the film and the original music by Tristram Cary - who did some 60's Dr. Who stuff - is sparingly used. So depth comes into play in the final scenes but otherwise we have a dialogue-built suspense where the pauses help the minimalist-induced chills. I think it works. Optimum have included optional English subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'B'-locked disc.
Stacks of supplements which include over 1.5 hours of new exclusive interviews in 1080i with Julian Glover (28:27), Mark Gatiss (19:14), Judith Kerr (17:11), Kim Newman (29:30) and Marcus Hearn (12:24). There is the pre-existing audio commentary with Nigel Kneale and Roy Ward Baker and World of Hammer – Sci-Fi Episode found on older SD editions. I enjoyed the 11-minutes with Joe Dante - another fan of the genre and we also get the Alternate US Credits, a couple of trailers in HD and the package includes a DVD of the Feature.
January 15th, 2011
About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.
Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who
focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I
find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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