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A group of 21st-century colonists inhabit an underwater city called Pacifica. Originally intended as a purely scientific installation, the U. S. government wants to stash all its gold reserves from Fort Knox there, along with a fantastic new radioactive element. The brother of Pacifica's returning former commander plans to steal the gold and on top of that, the city faces destruction by an asteroid from outer space. Written by
In the opening of the movie, the drilling rig is shown being destroyed in the Atlantic Ocean yet Dr. Talty later says it was destroyed off the Texas coast. Unless the Texas border has vastly expanded in the time setting of the movie, Texas has no Atlantic Ocean coast. See more »
Everything about this film, the effects, the sets, the casting, the actors, are all fine, but with the one problem area of Robert Colbert and the terrible lines he has and the terrible acting he gives.
An early character building scene in this film has Colbert respond to Stu Whitman by saying "that's right we all take orders ... just like Bill Holmes did". It sounded terrible! For most of the film Colbert continues to give remarks like this to Whitman and it all sounds like one of those day time soap operas gone really bad! Colbert had worked with Irwin Allen in 30 episodes of The Time Tunnel and Irwin seemed to have an odd view of how Colbert should perform on screen. Colbert did some Warner Brothers TV in the early 1960s and, away from Irwin, he is a better LOOKING and performing actor.
But having said all that. This is pure Irwin Allen showmanship of the best kind. As others have pointed out, Richard Basehart and the flying sub make this feel like an up-dated Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, and who could blame Irwin for wanting to bring back Voyage?
But non-Voyage things such as Stu Whitman and Robert Wagner (Beneath The 12 Mile Reef and The Towering Inferno) make this great entertainment. Also the Richard LaSalle score and big sets with blinking light Time Tunnel computers. I have actually made about 30 viewings of this film over the years.
If this TV movie had rated well in the US there is no question that Irwin Allen would of turned it into his 5th sci-fic TV series, but despite the quality of the production and good acting from lead actor Stu Whitman, there is a feeling that this simply could not of been a weekly series.
With the exception of Land Of The Giants, Irwin's past sci-fic TV shows were all unique in premise, but City Beneath The Sea has a feeling of being "Robert Colbert At The Bottom Of The Sea". And while Stu Whitman is good, he is no Richard Basehart! It would seem Irwin was aware of this problem as, in 1978, he went back to the sea - Captain Nemo - with the outstanding and more colourful Oscar winning Jose Ferrer in the lead role! Captain Nemo lasted three hours but one hour is missing and lost, however, the two hours is well worth a look. Captain Nemo is Irwin's 5th sci-fic TV series, even if it only lasted three episodes.
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