HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Last Moment of Clarity
Fukushima 50
Dreams on Fire
Sing as We Go!
Burnt Orange Heresy, The
Craft Legacy, The
Eye of the Storm
Inflatable Sex Doll of the Wastelands
Where No Vultures Fly
Come True
Kagemusha
Justine
Poly Styrene: I Am a Cliché
Madchen in Uniform
Fire Will Come
Suspect
Jailbreak Pact
News of the World
Dementer
Beyond Clueless
Stylist, The
Sky is On Fire, The
Wrong Turn
In a Year with 13 Moons
Blush
Strange Affair of Uncle Harry, The
Sinners, The
Tammy and the T-Rex
Archenemy
Zappa
Mindwarp
State Secret
Mogul Mowgli
Owners, The
Twentieth Century, The
Story of Gilbert and Sullivan, The
What Lies Below
Greenland
Broil
Dead Pigs
   
 
Newest Articles
Network Double Bills: All Night Long and Ballad in Blue
Chew Him Up and Spit Him Out: Romeo is Bleeding on Blu-ray
British Body Snatchers: They Came from Beyond Space on Blu-ray
Bzzzt: Pulse on Blu-ray
The Tombs Will Be Their Cities: Demons and Demons 2 on Arrow
Somebody Killed Her Husband: Charade on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Maroc 7 and Invasion
Network Double Bills: The Best of Benny Hill and The Likely Lads
Network Double Bills: Some Girls Do and Deadlier Than the Male
Absolutely Bananas: Link on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Hawk the Slayer and The Medusa Touch
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
Toons for the Heads: Fantastic Planet and Adult Animation
Nature Girl: The New World on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Perfect Friday and Robbery
Network Double Bills: The House in Nightmare Park and The Man Who Haunted Himself
Newley Minted: The Strange World of Gurney Slade on Blu-ray
Bad Love: The Night Porter on Blu-ray
Brevity is the Soul of Weird: Short Sharp Shocks on Blu-ray
Get Your Ass to Mars: Total Recall on Blu-ray
Call the Professionals: Le Cercle Rouge on Blu-ray
When There's No More Room in Hell: Dawn of the Dead on Blu-ray
   
 
  Journey to the Center of the Earth Underground Film
Year: 1959
Director: Henry Levin
Stars: Pat Boone, James Mason, Arlene Dahl, Diane Baker, Thayer David, Peter Ronson, Robert Adler, Alan Napier
Genre: Science Fiction, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 2 votes)
Review: Professor Oliver Lindenbrook (James Mason) is walking through the Edinburgh of 1880 one morning and finds everyone is complimenting him on his new knighthood, which he is pleased about, but the edge is taken off his good mood when he sees what is written in the newspaper about him. On arriving at the University, he strides into the lecture hall and is greeted by his class who stand to sing their praises - literally, they sing him a specially prepared song. This is all very well, but he is keen to get back to his work on geological matters, and is delighted when one of his students, Alec McKuen (Pat Boone) presents him with a volcanic rock, which on closer inspection reveals an anomaly...

Well, I say "closer inspection", but what happens is that they explode the rock by mistake; nevertheless there is revealed a plumbob which is obviously of surface origin, and turns out to have belonged to a professor who had mysteriously disappeared on an expedition below the earth - you can see where this is going, can't you? This adaptation of Jules Verne's classic science fiction novel emerged as a firm favourite with audiences, both on its release, and on television for decades afterwards, but while it represents a solid piece of Hollywood fantasy fiction that arrived in the wake of Disney's 20,000 Leagues under the Sea (which also starred Mason, surely no coincidence), perhaps this Journey was never exactly imaginative in its production.

In fact, there's something strangely plain about the way it puts the adventure tale over, so while there was a bit of money thrown at it, few of the images it creates are likely to be recalled as classic, memory-searing recollections years later. For a start, it takes about an hour before the party even get underneath the ground, as there's a murder plot to contend with as the Professor and Alec draw up their plans to, er, journey to the centre of the Earth and are hindered by the baddie, a rival who has laid claim to the entire subterranean world called Count Saknussem (not a very Icelandic name for an Icelander, and played by Thayer David). Yes, it's Iceland they head for, as it is there that a hole in the ground leads below...

It's not only Pat and Jim who are on this excursion, as they team up with the widow of the dead explorer, Carla Goteborg (Arlene Dahl), and a strapping native, Hans (Peter Ronson, an athlete in real life in his sole screen appearance). Thus kitted out with the latest in spelunking equipment, they head down into an extinct volcano and there begins a slightly repetitive succession of caves for them to explore, ranging from ones encrusted with jewels to ones filled with salt. It would be a perilous trip even without the Count menacing them, but once Alec is separated from the others, he stumbles across the villain who starts ordering everyone around at gunpoint, or he does until the Professor disarms him.

Then it's off to explore more caves, tempers fray as the situation grows desperate, and back home in Edinburgh Alec's girlfriend Jenny (Diane Baker) suffers sleepless nights with worry. No wonder when there are giant lizards to contend with, alas not of the stop motion variety but of the "let's stick a fin on this creature and magnify it" variety, which always feels second best in sci-fi of this era. Luckily, when the lamps run out of power the environment compensates with luminous algae, which also prevents the audience having to watch a black screen for the latter half hour of the film. Still, for all its bland qualities this effort does throw up a few lunacies, such as the fifth companion being a duck called Gertrude who meets a tragic end thanks to the Count's hunger, and even odder is the way that the production seems intent on parting Pat Boone from his clothes - at the finale he ends up naked with only a sheep to cover his dignity. So if there's a functional feeling to much of this, it's diverting enough for two hours. Music by Bernard Herrmann.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 2692 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Stately Wayne Manor
Enoch Sneed
  Geraint Morgan
   

 

Last Updated: