Like in the novel of Jules Verne four persons try to get to the centre of the world by entering into a world of caves by a volcano. On their way they discover among other things also ... See full summary »
A diplomat is nearly assassinated. In order to save him, a submarine is shrunken to microscopic size and injected into his blood stream with a small crew. Problems arise almost as soon as they enter the bloodstream.
Prof. Lindenbrook leads his intrepid party on an expedition to the center 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>
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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