Manx-born author/screenwriter Nigel Kneale was one of the most compelling and influential film writers to come out of England in the '50s. [38] Starring John Mills as Quatermass and with a budget of over £1 million[57]—more than fifty times the budget of Quatermass and the Pit in 1958[69]—the serial was not as critically successful as its predecessors. [62], Kneale was admired by the film director John Carpenter,[3][31] who hired Kneale to write the screenplay Halloween III. [75] When he did submit the script three weeks later, he discovered that Central had been about to cancel the production as they had assumed that Kneale, then 67, had not been able to complete the work due to his age. [6] Although his first out-and-out comedy, Kneale was keen to stress that there had always been elements of humour present throughout his scripts,[38] and some of the press reaction to Kinvig was positive. "I didn't want to go on repeating because Professor Quatermass had already saved the world from ultimate destruction three times, and that seemed to me to be quite enough," he said in 1986. [40] But he continued to write for the BBC on a freelance basis. [36] Kneale was inspired in writing the serial by contemporary fears over secret UK Ministry of Defence research establishments such as Porton Down, as well the fact that as a BBC staff writer he had been required to sign the Official Secrets Act. 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. Nigel Kneale was born on April 18, 1922 in Barrow-in-Furness, Lancashire, England as Thomas Nigel Kneale. Back in 2000 I was working at Cornerhouse arts centre in Manchester. "[7] Quatermass and the Pit was Kneale's final credited film work; 1979's The Quatermass Conclusion was only released to cinemas in overseas markets after having been made for television in the UK,[58] and he had his name removed from the credits of Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982). [6], Kneale had returned to writing for television with the BBC for the first time since Quatermass and the Pit when his play The Road was broadcast in September 1963. [50] Kneale was nominated for the British Film Award (later known as a BAFTA) for Best Screenplay for both films. Sutton, p. 20 and p. 54. Neither Kneale nor Cartier were impressed with the state in which they found BBC television drama. “Christmas Eve with my mum and dad. But thanks to a new Blu-ray release, its legend lives on . Thomas Nigel Kneale was born in Barrow-in-Furness on 28 April 1922. Called Crow, it was based upon the memoirs of real-life Manx slaver Captain Hugh Crow. Wells). Controller of Programmes Cecil McGivern wrote in a memo that: "Had competitive television been in existence then, we would have killed it every Saturday night while [The Quatermass Experiment] lasted. Quatermass and the Pit is on Warner Horror Classics, price £5.99. [31] Film producer Harry Saltzman, who had produced the two Osborne adaptations, approached Kneale about scripting a project he was working on to adapt Ian Fleming's James Bond novels for the cinema; Kneale was not a fan of Fleming's work and turned the offer down. HEADPRESS: When did you first get the idea to write a book on Nigel Kneale and how did the opportunity to meet him come about? "[65] His final BBC work was an entry into a series called Bedtime Stories, adapting traditional fairy tales into adult dramas. “I saw it when it was first shown,” says the film critic Kim Newman. [40] The film premiered at the end of May 1957,[41] and was reviewed positively in The Times: "The writer of the original story, Mr Nigel Kneale, and the director, Mr Val Guest, between them keep things moving at the right speed, without digressions. Moved Permanently. [72] The Black Lagoon script never went into production, but while in America Kneale met the director Joe Dante, who invited him to script the third film in the Halloween series, on which Dante was working. [7][8] He also worked in a lawyer's office,[3] but became bored with his legal training and eventually abandoned the profession. Predominantly a writer of thrillers that used science-fiction and horror elements, he was best known for the creation of the character Professor Bernard Quatermass. [19] It was the beginning of a successful working relationship between the pair, that would lead to some of Kneale's best known work. Here he talks about working with the man who invented modern television. [70] Tying in with the series, Kneale returned to prose fiction when he wrote his only full-length novel, Quatermass, a novelisation of the serial. [72] Kneale got on well with the director assigned to the film, Tommy Lee Wallace,[72] but when one of the film's backers, Dino De Laurentiis, insisted upon the inclusion of more graphic violence and a rewrite of the script from Wallace, Kneale became displeased with the results and had his name removed from the film. [17][38], In 1966 Kneale worked again for Hammer Film Productions when he adapted Norah Lofts's 1960 novel The Devil's Own into the horror film The Witches. [66], Kneale's remaining television work was written for ITV. [37] Kneale was not pleased with the film,[6] and particularly disliked the casting of Brian Donlevy as Quatermass, as he explained in a 1986 interview. Nigel Kneale. 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