RALEIGH — Sometime in the near future, when we least expect it, they will come. Cities will burn. Mankind will panic. Our world will tremble. You must see “Five Million Years to Earth” before it’s too late. Lucky for you, it is showing at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences on First Friday, January 4 at 7pm. Even luckier, it’s free.
While digging a new subway line in London, a construction crew discovers an unusual skeleton and an alien space ship that has powerful psychic effects on the people nearby. A detailed study of the artifacts leads scientists to form some shocking conclusions about the origin of the human race. “Five Million Years to Earth” (1967, originally “Quatermass and the Pit”) is one of three films based on Nigel Kneale's “Quatermass” British sci-fi TV series.
Prof. Bernard Quatermass is played by former Scotland coalminer Andrew Keir, who also starred in “Blood from the Mummy’s Tomb” (1971) and shared the big screen with Christopher Lee in “Dracula: Prince of Darkness” (1966) and Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor in “Cleopatra” (1963). Keir’s first notable on-screen role came in “The Brave Don't Cry” (1952), where he played one of a group of miners trapped underground after an accident in the pit, a role he was no doubt well-trained for.
Paleontologist Dr. Matthew Roney is played by James Donald, another Scottish-born actor, whose most memorable roles (outside of this film of course) include his portrayal of painter Vincent Van Gogh’s brother Theo in “Lust for Life” (1956) with Kirk Douglas, and roles in the classic WWII POW dramas “The Bridge on the River Kwai” (1957) and “The Great Escape” (1963). “Five Million Years to Earth” also stars Barbara Shelley, the First Leading Lady of British Horror, and Julian Glover, the only actor to appear in the Star Wars (“The Empire Strikes Back”), James Bond (“For Your Eyes Only”) and Indiana Jones (“Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade”) film series. On all three occasions, he played a villain.
Want to know what’s in your water? At this month’s Teen Science Café (6pm in the Daily Planet Café), Dr. Heather Patisaul from N.C. State University will talk about where our drinking water comes from, the difference between tap and bottled water, the pros and cons of the different types of containers our water comes in, and the environmental and health impacts of our water consumption choices. Then, we will put your taste buds to the test to see if you can distinguish different types of water and liquids stored in different types of containers.
The Museum and the new Nature Research Center stay open from 5 to 9 pm on the First Friday of every month, inviting visitors to witness a (classic) sci-fi or horror movie, wander through eye-catching exhibits, or enjoy food and beverages at the Daily Planet Café. “Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition” is now open and First Friday visitors can see it at a discounted rate ($3 off adult tickets). Additionally, the Museum Stores offer after-hours shopping and a special showing of the Mountains to the Sea Quilt by the Durham Orange Art Quilt Bee (through January 27) in the Nature Art Gallery.