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Unknown World (1951)

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Ratings: 3.9/10 from 537 users  
Reviews: 33 user | 9 critic

Scientists use a gigantic drilling machine for an expedition to the center of the earth.


(as Terrell O. Morse)


(original screenplay)
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Title: Unknown World (1951)

Unknown World (1951) on IMDb 3.9/10

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Complete credited cast:
Bruce Kellogg ...
Wright Thompson
Otto Waldis ...
Dr. Max A. Bauer
Jim Bannon ...
Andy Ostergaard
Tom Handley ...
Dr. James Paxton
Dick Cogan ...
Dr. George Coleman
George Baxter ...
Carlisle Foundation Chairman
Marilyn Nash ...
Dr. Joan Lindsey


Dr. Jerimiah Morley becomes convinced that the world is headed to an inevitable worldwide nuclear war. He organizes an expedition made up of a team of expert scientists and an atomic-powered rock-boring vehicle called a "cyclotram" to find a subterranean environment where holocaust survivors could live indefinitely. When funding falls through, independently rich adventurer Wright Thompson underwrites the project under the condition that he be allowed to go. As the group goes deeper beneath the Earth's crust, personalities clash, tempers flare, and the dangerous journey claims the lives of several expedition members. When they come upon an enormous underground expanse with its own ocean and phosphorescent light, it appears that their goal has been achieved. Written by Gabe Taverney {

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A thousand miles down...Ten-thousand Thrills Deep! (original poster) See more »


Adventure | Sci-Fi


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

26 October 1951 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Night Without Stars  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Both the mountains mentioned, Mt. Lefat and Mt. Neleh, are fictional. See more »


Their ship called the "cyclotram" was supposed to be under 2500 miles of water. That is impossible because the pressure increases 165 time per mile one goes under water. That would mean about 6 million pounds per square inch. No hull could stand anywhere near that pressure. See more »


Wright Thompson: [referring to the scientists] Don't they ever talk?
Andy Ostergaard: Not unless they got something to say. That's the way it is with smart people,
Wright Thompson: Maybe they're not so smart. Maybe they don't know what they're doin' down here.
Andy Ostergaard: Listen, buster. Each one of them has taught at more colleges than you flunked out of.
Wright Thompson: So what are you doing down here among all those brains?
Andy Ostergaard: I manage to make myself useful. It might be well if you did the same thing.
See more »

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User Reviews

Very surprising
13 January 2009 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

The film begins with some stock footage about nuclear war and is part of a presentation scientists are making in order to drum up support for an ark, of sorts, to be sent deep within the planet. This way, in case we have a nuclear war, the species can survive deep inside mother Earth. The story, at times, is highly reminiscent of Jules Verne's JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH.

When I rented this film, I assumed based on the box cover that it was a typical low-budget 1950s sci-fi/horror film. However, to my surprise, there were no bug-eyed monsters, alligators or lizards with cheap fins pasted on or silly masked ghouls. While it certainly did not have a huge budget, the film made a genuine effort to entertain, have SOME basis in scientific facts of the day and say something about mankind. While some might find this all pretty dull, I actually enjoyed it more than I thought and in hindsight I am glad the usual silly and schlocky monsters and such were missing. Now this isn't to say this is a masterpiece. Occasionally, the characters behave a bit silly--such as their needlessly bickering (which makes no sense for such an expedition) and the science behind all this is suspect (such as the lack of differences in air pressure, the presence of drinkable water as well as breathable air over a thousand miles inside the Earth and their ability to ascend at an incredible rate without exploding!). Still, it is oddly compelling and the acting (while they weren't arguing) was pretty good. Plus, unlike JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH, it's nice NOT to see dinosaurs and other creatures waiting to greet our heroes.

Final verdict--well worth a look and a decent time-passer despite some limitations.

PS--This film is from Alpha Video--one of the worst producers of DVDs out there. Fortunately, unlike many of their films which are scratchy public domain prints, this one is a very good copy and is very watchable.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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