For generations, the people of the City of Ember have flourished in an amazing world of glittering lights. But Ember's once powerful generator is failing ... and the great lamps that illuminate the city are starting to flicker.
Prof. Lindenbrook leads his intrepid party on an expedition to the centre of the earth, via a volcano in Iceland, encountering all manner of prehistoric monsters and life-threatening hazards on the way. Written by
Mark Hockley <email@example.com>
In some European versions of the film, the "Prof of geology's Song" was re-dubbed into the "Gaudeamus Igitur" song. See more »
When Hans is helping Carla and Lindenbrook out of the cave filling with water, from above Lindenbrook is seen with his head to the top of the hole, the water up to his neck. In the next shot from below, the water is only up to Lindenbrook's waist. See more »
The great James Mason is superb as a geology professor who heads a party of five (four people and one duck) on a perilous journey into the depths of the earth. While the film's screenplay may have been a true cinematic rendering of the source novel by Jules Verne, I could have wished for a film with more subterranean adventure and less prefatory fluff.
The film's first 45 minute segment sets up the film's premise, but it takes place totally above ground, and could have been condensed to 10 or 15 minutes. There's lots of professorial bantering; a youthful Pat Boone croons his sweetheart; and he and the professor duel against adversaries in an unnecessary subplot.
But once the explorers finally get underground, the viewer is in for an absorbing cinematic experience, despite a bloated script that has the cast chattering incessantly. Cinematography and special effects effectively convey the physical surroundings as a forbidding, downward trending labyrinth characteristic of a giant cave.
The sets are elaborate and imaginative, though the "mushroom forest" is a tad too "magical"; I kept waiting for Dorothy, Toto, and the cowardly lion to drop by and say hello from the set of the Emerald City.
From start to finish the film has good acting, and there's plenty of humor. And the sound effects and grim music are terrific. The organ music, in particular, lends a strikingly Gothic touch to the nether world look of the sunken city.
Despite a too talky script, this 1959 film deserves to be watched multiple times by kids of all ages for its timeless adventure and sense of discovery.
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