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.
After their latest rocket fails, Dr. Charles Cargraves and retired General Thayer have to start over again. This time, Gen. Thayer approaches Jim Barnes, the head of his own aviation ... See full summary »
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 production, Irwin Allen asked the Navy for advice to help in making the film. However, the Navy refused because its nuclear program was just beginning in 1961 and was top secret. They didn't want any information getting to the Soviet Union. See more »
Following it's narrow escape from the huge underwater ice chunks, the Seaview surfaces to find that the sky is blazing hot and literally on fire. The three men who have climbed outside on top deck are so hot they have to climb back down into the sub to escape the heat. Two of the men re-enter the sub and are soaked in sweat, however Captain Crane has remained outside on deck and we can see that he is not sweating at all, even though he is still outside in the blazing heat! See more »
Before Roddenberry's Star Trek, there was Allen's "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea"
A solid piece of science fiction that's fairly dated, "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea" was a film from the old school of exposition film making. Half docu-drama and half science-fiction, Allen's production makes an effort to mix the world of tomorrow, as it was perceived in the late 50s and early 60s, with then contemporary drama. The result is somewhat stilted, and immature in a very innocent sort of way, but worth a look if you need some vintage sci-fi on your screen.
The exposition of what Irwin Allen felt "the future" of scientific defense in the realm of the world's oceans feels like a Disney documentary. The drama almost seems as an afterthought to the technology being depicted (which I'm sure isn't too far off the mark), and doesn't really ever click in.
An egalitarian para-military that is the crew of the USOS Seaview, was no doubt an inspiration for the Star Trek franchise as it was first conceived, as were probably the scientific functions of a government vessel manned by what is ostensibly a crew serving aboard a vessel whose role is part defensive and part scientific. It is in this capacity that the story takes shape, and challenges sub and crew as the fate of mankind hangs in the balance.
Scientific loopholes abound: Ice floats (the breakup of an iceberg would not produce sinking chinks of ice), radiation doesn't catch fire (the Van Allen belt is speculated to be a result of USAF atmospheric nuclear tests in the 1950s), the most advanced attack subs today can not dive beyond 1300 feet, active sonar is rarely used, etc. etc. etc. But, if you can get by all that, and forgive some of the earlier film making stylings in this film, then it's worth a look.
It's not classic vintage sci-fi in the conventional sense, but one clearly sees how it influenced generations of sci-fi films to come afterwards, as well as spawning the eventual TV series that evolved from this film.
Give it a chance, but don't expect too much. If you're a younger viewer reading this review, then you'll probably get somewhat impatient with it. Even so, try to keep in mind the kind of film it is, and the time in which it was made.
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