Quartermass Experiment, The; Creeping Unknown, The

1938.THE QUATERMASS EXPERIMENT (The Creeping Unknown) (1956-England). With BRIAN DONLEVY, JACK WARNER. Two lovers stroll down a pastoral country road. They are in a playful mood, and so they rush into a field to roll about in the hay. Suddenly, their interlude is interrupted by the strangest of sounds overhead. It is neither jet nor meteor, but rather the crashing of a rocket ship, launched into space without any official go-ahead by one Dr. Quatermass, a brilliant but egocentric scientist. “If the whole world waited for official sanction, the world would be standing still,” he explains, with no small touch of arrogance, to justify his action. It seems that three men were on board the rocket, and only one has survived. He is suffering from a severe case of shock, but at least he is in one piece. Only soon, it becomes apparent that he is harboring a ghastly, unfathomable secret. For one thing, his post-trip fingerprints are markedly different from what they once were; in fact, they now are not even human! So it is no small irony when Quatermass declares, “For the first time in the history of the world, man has sent a rocket 1,500 miles into space. You can’t expect such an experiment to be perfect.” What follows is a top-notch sci-fi thriller, as electrifying as it is thought provoking. Its scenario not only presages mankind’s actual journeys into space, but vividÂly portrays our worst fears regarding the mysterious life forces existing in the Great Beyond. Based on the smash-hit British television serial. 82 minutes. Science Fiction