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Admiral Nelson takes a brand new atomic submarine through its paces. When the Van Allen radiation belt catches fire, the admiral must find a way to beat the heat or watch the world go up in smoke. Written by
I still remember seeing this film at movie theaters way back when I was a lad. Of course I didn't hear very much of it due to all the shrieks and squeals from the teenage girls in the audience over Frankie Avalon. That curiously enough didn't matter because Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea is a very visual film.
It might seem a little old hat today, but we've been through two more generations that have seen the United States Navy become an atomic fleet of submarines and surface carriers. It was only seven years earlier, in 1955 that the U.S.S. Nautilus was launched as our first atomic submarine. In homage to that wonderful visionary Jules Verne who foresaw atomic power one hundred years earlier the Navy named it after that famous undersea ship of Verne's great novel 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. The nuclear submarine was a wondrous thing in 1961.
The idea of a nuclear power submarine was the brainchild of Admiral Hyman Rickover. Rickover was a tough minded s.o.b. who usually got whatever he wanted by any mean necessary including bullying. Hard to believe that the gentlemanly Walter Pigeon could play him, but he did and well as Admiral Harry Nelson, the ersatz Rickover.
What's happened here is that the Van Allen radiation belt that surrounds the Earth has caught fire and temperatures are climbing all over the world. The planet is doomed, but Walter Pigeon's got an idea to save it. Fire a missile and seed the belt with more radiation, kind of a nuclear backfire and the blaze will end.
A lot of people are telling him it won't work, but Pigeon brushes them all aside. The only two who have faith in him are his assistants played by Peter Lorre and Barbara Eden. But our intrepid admiral pushes through.
Of course the U.S.S. Seaview encounters all kinds of obstacles along the way, but that's the rest of the story.
The cast does very well for itself and young Frankie Avalon as a junior officer comes off rather nicely. Frankie sings over the title credits, but during the movie plays a trumpet. Avalon in fact was a trumpet virtuoso and a singing career was an afterthought. The fickle finger of fate.
Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea still a nice science fiction adventure even though it is dated.
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