Sunday, February 21, 2010

Journey to the Center of the Earth (1959)

Journey to the Center of the Earth is a 1959 film based on the Jules Verne novel with the same name. It stars James Mason, Arlene Dahl, Thayer David (a Dark Shadows regular), Alan Napier and Pat Boone (I don't usually care about an actor's personal life, but, well, this man's got nutty ideas).

Not much more than 10 minutes into the video we are treated to Pat Boone singing a love song to the niece of his newly knighted professor. Gag. Much of this kind of thing and I'll never make it to the end of the movie! At under 24 minutes in he's singing again. I want that part re-cast with an actor who doesn't sing. He doesn't sing again except for taking part in a short choral piece at the finale. Except for the singing, this was a fun enough movie.

online, thanks to The Cinemated Man:


1000 Misspent Hours finds much to find fault with and says, "If you pay close attention to the dialogue, you’ll note that the plot of Journey to the Center of the Earth unfolds over the course of most of a year. And yeah, the way this movie flows, that feels about right." Moria says:
Any connection between this film version of Journey to the Center of the Earth and Jules Verne’s 1864 novel... must be considered purely coincidental. Verne wrote a dark, claustrophobic Age of Exploration fantasy; the film is a ridiculously opulent Cinemascope colour spectacle.

The New York Times says,
But it's really not very striking make-believe, when all is said and done. The earth's interior is somewhat on the order of an elaborate amusement-park tunnel of love. And the attitudes of the people, toward each other and toward another curious man who happens to be exploring down there at the same time, are conventional and just a bit dull.

Weird Wild Realm has this evaluation: "It's a first-rate children's film, & given the competition remains the best film adaptation of the Verne novel. But a sophisticated adaptation of the story has never yet been filmed." Time Out says that, except for Pat Boone's singing, "it's one of the very best Hollywood adventure movies". TCM and MSN have overviews.

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