VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA —-got the jump on total morons climate change deniers in 1961 by dealing with the Van Allen Radiation Belt being set afire. If not for Admiral Nelson, Captain Crane and the star-studded crew of the USS Seaview we’d be in bad shape.
A cranky Walter Pidgeon plays Nelson, contending with Robert Sterling’s wake of flexed cheekbones as Crane. Joan Fontaine says things that indicate she’s a ‘scientist.’ Peter Lorre talks to dolphins while his cigarettes smear up the subs mighty bow-windows. Frankie Avalon unfortunately made it out of The Alamo, in time to sing the never-to-be-forgotten
fast enough theme song. Barbara Eden shows how to form-fit a uniform.
As directed, produced & co-written by Irwin Allen, beyond those neat blazing-sky effects, and the Seaview just being movie-futuristically cool, the credibility inferno of the 105 minutes comes when the sub is below the Polar ice-pack (speaking of nostalgia), which is melting, and giant bergs are falling down onto the vessel. Yes, the melting icebergs fall down underwater.
There is also a fight with a giant octopus, lots of sweating, and some standard acceptable military impatience with the dithering U.N. The well-thought-out plan to extinguish the burning atmosphere is to hit it with a nuclear bomb, the movie fix-all for cracks in the world, giant lizards and aliens. For the maximum learn-science effect this should be absorbed on a double-bill with Allen’s 1960 The Lost World , wherein Jill St. John takes her poodle on a trek in Venezuela to be threatened by magnified iguanas with attached fins (“It’s..a brontosaurus!”)
Allen’s $1,580,000 gamble paid off as kids flocked (I was one) and spent $7,000,000 worth of allowance. With Michael Ansara, Regis Toomey, John Litel, Howard McNear, Henry Daniell, Mark Slade, Del Monroe (he’d later show up on the 1964-68 TV version: for you trivia fans lurking out there).
Sleep well knowing that the bow-windows were constructed of “X–tempered herculite”, discovered by Adm. Nelson in his off-hours. Genius must be in the genes, as Nelson’s apparent twin brother Dr. Morbius was noted for his dedicated study of the power of the Id and “the mighty Krell Empire“, way out past the Van Allen belt, on Forbidden Planet.