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Unknown World (1951)

Approved | | Adventure, Sci-Fi | 26 October 1951 (USA)
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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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 {duke1029@aol.com)

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  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Although Victor Kilian, as Dr. Morley, is clearly the star of the film, he received no screen credit because he was blacklisted shortly after completing the movie, a victim of the "Red Scare" hysteria sweeping the country at the time, stoked by rabid right-wing Sen. Joseph McCarthy. This was perhaps the only instance in Hollywood history where the leading actor in a film was deliberately not listed in its cast while everyone else was. See more »


The explorers stop tunneling at 1640 miles straight down. Considering their speed of travel and their angle of descent, it would take as much as two years to get that far. But we see no evidence that their trip takes anywhere near that long, and it's doubtful they could carry enough food and other supplies for such a long time. See more »


Wright Thompson: You don't like my kind of guy, do you?
Dr. Joan Lindsey: Not very much, but I'll make an exception in your case-you, I don't like a lot.
See more »

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User Reviews

The ABC's Of Z-Grade Sci-Fi
11 November 2014 | by (New Zealand) – See all my reviews

I certainly must say that 1951's, Sci-Fi, Adventure tale, "Unknown World" sure turned out, for me, to be a humongous let-down on all counts.

Had there been a really interesting rapport going on between the characters in the story, then, yes, I could've easily forgiven all of the shoddy special effects and the absolute sluggish pace of this "Journey-To-The-Centre-Of-The-Earth" yarn.

But, alas, character interaction, like everything else in Unknown World, was unendurably lacklustre and painfully predictable.

Yes. It was interesting to note that even back in the early 1950s there was considerable concern (amongst some citizens of the USA) regarding the dangerously fatal downside to the dawning of the Atomic Age for us humans.

But, in the long run, this did nothing to alleviate the total humdrum that prevailed throughout Unknown World's story, from its somewhat promising opening to its downright cornball finish.

Even from a purely nostalgic point of view, there was nothing about Unknown World that made it stand out in any way at all. It was just boring and forgettable. And that was, pretty much, it!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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