Thursday, March 4, 2010
THE INCREDIBLE PETRIFIED WORLD
THE INCREDIBLE PETRIFIED WORLD (1957). Director: Jerry Warren.
A group descends in a new-type diving bell which breaks loose from its cable at 1700 feet. Escaping from the bell, the four people inside somehow make their way into an underground cavern (the logistics of this are never made clear, and it is never explained why they didn't make their way to the surface.) Inside these immense caverns (actually the Colossal Cave in Tucson, Arizona), which are illuminated by phosphorescence in the walls, the group discover an old man who claims to have been trapped there for fourteen years! Although this is a very cheap movie, it does manage to work up a disquieting sense of claustrophobia and despair, and the acting -- especially from Phyllis Coates of The Adventures of Superman TV fame, again playing a reporter -- adds to its veracity. Robert Clarke from The Man from Planet X and John Carradine are also in the cast. The battling monsters in the ads are in reality represented by a quick cut of a lizard that is not only not in the same frame as the actors but doesn't really seem to be in the same movie!
Verdict: Not for people who hate cheap movies, but this has atmosphere to spare. ***.