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The Abominable Snowman of the Himalayas Reviews

Literate, thoughtful and surprisingly well-produced on its modest budget, this low-key thriller was inspired by a flurry of early '50s speculation about the existence of the legendary manlike primate called the yeti, spurred by reports from expeditions to the Himalayas, including that of Sir Edmund Hillary. Dr. John Rollason (Peter Cushing) and his wife Helen (Maureen Connell), along with their colleague Fox (Peter Wattis), are in Tibet studying medicinal plants with the help of the local lama (Arnold Marle). Rollason, an experienced climber sidelined by a serious accident, is contacted by Tom Friend (Forrest Tucker), an American adventurer who has mounted a small, well-financed expedition to find a yeti and bring it back to civilization. Aware that Rollason holds controversial theories about the man-beast, Friend persuades him to join the expedition, much against Helen's wishes. Even the normally helpful lama seems opposed to the venture, and delivers an enigmatic warning that Rollason ignores. Once in the snowy mountains, the party is beset by a series of misfortunes and the men fall prey to their own fears and insecurities as well. Scripted by respected science-fiction writer Nigel Kneale, the film features a crisp performance by the always reliable Cushing (the blustering Tucker fares rather less well) and handsome, black-and-white widescreen cinematography. The English sets are well integrated with second unit footage shot in the Pyranees mountains, which stand in admirably for the Himalayas.