Sunday Night Theatre was a series of live plays broadcast on BBC television between 1950 and 1959, and was one of the first shows for which the creator of Quatermass, Nigel Kneale, wrote. This included a controversial (for the time) adaptation of Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, which was also one of Peter Cushing’s earliest major acting roles. Unfortunately, out of the over seven hundred episodes made, less than thirty have survived.
One of the screenplays written by Kneale was The Creature, which also starred Cushing; it told the tale of a botanist reluctantly joining an expedition to discover the legendary Yeti in the remote mountains of Tibet. Just as The Quatermass Experiment was purchased by Hammer Films to be re-made for the cinema, so to was The Creature.
The Abominable Snowman of the Himalayas as it was titles in America retained Cushing as the thoughtful scientist, though the other members of the hunting party were turned from Englishmen into suitably brash, belligerent Americans. As the group track deeper into the Himalayas, agendas clash and loyalties are tested, but it is the yeti themselves – their intelligence completely at odds with the primal beast of legend – which begins to exert the greatest influence on the dwindling party.
It’s an enjoyable if quaint horror film by today’s standards, with all the intelligence of Kneale’s other genre work, and some excellent scenery. It’s freely available online and I heartily recommend it!
Have a great night, everyone!