Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Friday, September 26, 2008

UNKNOWN WORLD


UNKNOWN WORLD (1951). Director: Terry O. Morse.

When fear of atomic warfare reaches an hysterical level, a group of scientists led by Dr. Morley (an uncredited, blacklisted Victor Kilian) decide to search for a place underground where nuclear survivors can rebuild civilization. Newspaper man and spoiled heir Wright Thompson (Bruce Kellogg) finances the expedition but insists on coming along. Using a boring machine known as a "cyclotram," the group descend down to the Earth's core, ultimately discovering a huge cavern with its own sea and artificial light source. Obviously inspired by Verne's Journey to the Center of the Earth (which was filmed nine years later), Unknown World is cheap but absorbing, with more than serviceable effects. Filmed in Bronson and Carlsbad Caverns (as was Journey), the movie is atmospheric and never over-lit. Ernest Gold's moody music is a definite asset. Some of the actors, such as Jim Bannon as navigator Andy and Marilyn Nash as the only woman in the party, give decent enough performances, but Kellogg is pretty terrible as Wright. Otto Waldis was also in Attack of the 50 Foot Woman.

Verdict: Not bad trip out of the daylight. ***.

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