Vera Day Quatermass 2, Womaneater, Up The Creek #9
Quatermass 2 (US title: Enemy From Space) is a 1957 British science fiction horror film. Made by Hammer Film Productions, it is a sequel to an earlier Hammer film The Quatermass Xperiment. Like its predecessor, it is based on a BBC Television serial – Quatermass II – written by Nigel Kneale. It was directed by Val Guest and stars Brian Donlevy reprising his role as the eponymous Professor Bernard Quatermass. John Longden, Sid James, Bryan Forbes, William Franklyn and Vera Day appear in supporting roles.
The plot concerns Quatermass' investigation of reports of strange meteorite showers in England. His inquires lead him to a huge industrial plant, strikingly similar to his own plans for a Moon colony. This top-secret plant is in fact the centre of a conspiracy involving alien infiltration of the highest echelons of the British Government. Quatermass struggles to convince a sceptical public of the threat before it is too late.
The first Quatermass film had been a major success for Hammer and, eager for a sequel, they purchased the rights to Nigel Kneale's follow up before the BBC had even begun transmission of the new serial. For this adaptation, Nigel Kneale himself was allowed to write the first draft of the screenplay, although subsequent drafts were worked on by director Val Guest. The plot is a condensed but largely faithful retelling of the original television serial. The main difference between the two versions is at the climax: in the television version Quatermass blasts off in a rocket to confront the aliens in outer space whereas in the film the rocket is fired, unmanned, to destroy the aliens' asteroid base. Returning director Val Guest once again employed many cinema vérité techniques in order to present the fantastic elements of the plot with the greatest degree of realism. Nigel Kneale was critical of the final film, mainly on account of the return of Brian Donlevy in the lead role. Kneale was unhappy with Donlevy's interpretation of the character and also claimed the actor's performance was marred by his alcoholism, a claim refuted by Val Guest.
Although Quatermass 2 was financially successful, its box office performance was eclipsed by the massive success of another Hammer film, The Curse of Frankenstein, which was to be the first of their many Gothic horror films. As a result, it would be ten years before Hammer adapted the next Quatermass serial for the cinema with Quatermass and the Pit in 1967. Quatermass 2 was, however, the first film Hammer pre-sold the distribution rights in the United States, a financial model that would quickly become the norm for subsequent Hammer productions.
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