When the Earth is threatened by a burning Van Allen Radiation Belt, U.S. Navy Admiral Harriman Nelson plans to shoot a nuclear missile at the Belt, using his experimental atomic submarine, the Seaview.
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
During the "Seaview's" first dive, a sound effect from "War Of The Worlds" is used in the main control room. It is the sound of a Martian War Machine powering up its heat ray. See more »
In the TV displays in the Seaview, Captain Crane is shown approaching the open missile hatch from away from the camera, with the hatch shown open towards the camera. When they surface after the missile is fired, the hatch and Captain Crane are both in opposite directions from where the camera would be. See more »
U.S.O.S. Seaview calling Washington. Come in, Washington.
Twenty-five hours of static in my ear. Man, I'm getting shell-shocked.
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Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea is produced and directed by Irwin Allen out of 20th Century Fox. The story was written by Irwin Allen and Charles Bennett and it stars Walter Pidgeon, Robert Sterling, Joan Fontaine, Barbara Eden, Michael Ansara, and Peter Lorre. The theme song was sung by Frankie Avalon, who also appears in the film. Winton Hoch is the cinematographer and the score is a joint collaboration by Paul Sawtell & Bert Shefter. It's a CinemaScope/De Luxe presentation.
Admiral Harriman Nelson (Pidgeon) is commander of his new, state of the art nuclear submarine, The Seaview, which is on diving trials in the Arctic Ocean. When the sub surfaces the crew find the sky is burning, it seems that a meteor shower had occurred and a piece has fractured the Van Allen Radiation Belt causing it to catch fire, the result of which is a world-threatening increase in heat all across the Earth. Nelson proposes to the U.N. to detonate a Polaris nuclear missile in the belt to hopefully send it on a reverse spin into outer space. However, his idea is shot down at the meeting and he decides to take matters into his own hands. Setting off for the calculated launching point in the Marianas Trench, the crew of The Seaview must tackle terrors of the deep, pursuing hostile submarines and severe in fighting as the crew start to come apart under pressure.
To those of us who were reared on pre Star Wars sci-fi it's hard to grasp the complaints of the modern audience about old time genre movies and the effects that reside within. Before George Lucas took sci-fi and cinema watching to a different level involving pacey action every other frame, explosions a plenty and money inspired effects: our tastes were happily catered for by solid stories, character development and the odd bit of inspired for its time effects. Enter Irwin Allen's Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea which boasts all those latter points mentioned.
That the film was turned into a television series that ran for 5 seasons (64-68) is arguably its biggest legacy. For at the time of its release the critics gave it a very mixed response, but the public made it a hit. Made for roughly $2 million it comfortably made $7 million at the box office to justify Allen's faith in the movie. Watching it now as an adult it has lost none of the charm it had for me as a child. Only differences now are that I can sensibly think about such things as the science involved, observe a cheeky pro-nuclear stance in the Cold War era, and of course admire the form of Barbara Eden in a way I wouldn't have done as a spotty faced kid!.
It's now also a film, thanks to the advent of home entertainment technology, that looks and sounds great. There's plenty of De Luxe colour eye candy visuals, some vintage effects and good quality underwater photography. The production design holds up well, while The Seaview itself, with its on board aquarium and unique eight-window bow view port, remains an indelible piece of sci-fi folklore. The acting isn't called on to be much, but they all deliver professional turns, while Avalon's title song is a catchy piece of harmony. All that and you also get Peter Lorre brooding and taking a shark for a walk!.
Red sky at night is a slice of sci-fi pie delight. 7/10
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