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Abominable Snowman, The

Entry updated 11 April 2019. Tagged: Film.

Film (1957; vt The Abominable Snowman of the Himalayas US). Hammer Film Productions/Warner Brothers (UK)/20th Century Fox (US). Produced by Aubrey Baring. Directed by Val Guest. Written by Nigel Kneale, adapted from his BBC teleplay The Creature (30 January 1955). Makeup by Phil Leakey. Cast includes Michael Brill, Robert Brown, Peter Cushing, Arnold Marlé, Wolfe Morris, Maureen O'Connell and Forest Tucker. 91 minutes, cut to 83 minutes. Black and white.

Botanist Dr John Rollason (Cushing), and his wife Helen (O'Connell) have stopped briefly as guests of the Lama (Marlé) at a monastery in Nepal while on an expedition into the Himalayas. Another expedition arrives: Dr Tom Friend (Tucker) and his party, heading into the mountain range in search of the legendary Yeti (see Apes as Human). Rollason decides to team up with Friend, although Helen refuses to go and stays behind at the monastery. Friend's motives are quickly revealed: bringing back a Yeti alive for the fame and glory such a find would produce, which troubles Rollason. Expedition photographer McNee (Brill) is injured by a bear trap set by the team's trapper, Ed Shelley (Brown), and dies shortly afterwards in a fall. A little farther on, Shelley sees and attempts to shoot one of the creatures; he is killed by its fellows, an incident which sends their Sherpa guide Kusang (Morris) fleeing back to the monastery. A rescue mission is mounted upon his arrival there. Meanwhile, Friend manages to kill a juvenile specimen, deciding a deceased creature is better than none, and starts back with Rollason as a snowstorm moves in. An avalanche occurs which kills Friend, although Rollason survives inside an ice cave where several more Yeti appear to reclaim the body of their deceased companion. He realizes the beings are intelligent creatures who will perhaps inherit the Earth after humanity destroys itself. Rollason somehow makes it back to meet the rescue party after being spared by the beings, and – feeling this is the best course to take – informs the Lama that they found no evidence of the creature's existence.

The Abominable Snowman, one of the most intelligent productions to date produced on the theme, was among the first sf or Horror films made by Hammer – soon to become world-famous for such features, often with Cushing as star. He had co-starred the previous year with Christopher Lee (1922-2015) in Curse of Frankenstein (1957) (see Frankenstein), having up to this point been noted as primarily a television actor. [GSt]


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