16 January 2008

More from the Pit

Monday's Quatermass and the Pit post has generated a surprisingly large postbag. Larger than I can answer properly, so a mass acknowledgement here will have to suffice. The replies fall roughly into two halves: those which comment on aspects of the film which I either missed or left out of my short commentary, and those which take issue with my criticism of artificially happy film endings. The question of endings I shall try to grapple with in a separate post. To those who highlighted additional aspects of the film, many thanks: all were valuable, many new.

Jacquie Swann rightly points out that the Miss Judd character is unusual for the era in which this film was made. At a time when female characters were usually floss, included for their visual or (often the same thing) sexual appeal, Miss Judd is a perceptive, confident, and pivotal component of the plot line. Though Quatermass battles (unsuccessfully) with complacent officialdom, and Roney does the heroic sacrifice bit, it is Judd who sees and researches the connections which reveal the truth - and insists on Quatermass looking at her findings when he tries to brush her off. She is also the one who volunteers to subject herself to the mind scan experiment which yields race memory evidence (though it's unfortunate that in this context she is referred to as "the mind of this impressionable young lady"!) Overall, as Jacquie puts it, "Miss Judd is a manifestation of intellectual competence".

Ray Girvan, of The Apothecary's Drawer, adds to my impressions a dimension which I had completely missed:

"The intro with the policeman and the cat has a corresponding outro when we hear police bells and the dogs start barking again. Normality is rule of benign law and coexistence with animals, in contrast with the Martian society that has a draconian law and destruction of anything biologically different."

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