Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea |
Global Warming Edition
Actors: Walter Pidgeon, Joan Fontaine, Barbara Eden, Peter Lorre, Robert Sterling
Director: Irwin Allen
Genres: Action & Adventure, Science Fiction & Fantasy
A routine scientific expedition to the North Pole turns into a race to save all mankind when a radiation belt in space causes a fiery inferno on Earth. Admiral Nelson (Walter Pidgeon) and the crew of the atomic submarine ... more »
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Thrilling 1960's Sci Fi Drama That Spawned The Series
Simon Davis | 01/31/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Viewing Irwin Allen's sci fi drama "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea", recently after many years was like going back in time to the days when I would race home from school to see the next exciting episode of the popular series that this film spun off into. Viewed critically by viewers nowadays for the simple special effects and often absurd science on display, I see it rather as simply a very enjoyable 100 minutes of good old fashioned science fiction which for the time was very state of the art. Remarkably the film still holds up well for the most part with the great Seaview atomic submarine and the still quite frightening effects of the sky being on fire and melting the Polar Caps, being the real standouts in terms of special effects technology. For a film of this type it has a quite memorable cast in acting veterans Walter Pidgeon, Joan Fontaine, Peter Lorre, and Henry Daniell combining very well with such "younger generation" performers as Frankie Avalon, Barbara Eden and Michael Ansara.
The story opens with the new state of the art submarine, the "Seaview", captained by Admiral Nelson (Walter Pidgeon), doing some research work near the North Pole when a catastrophe of world wide significance occurs when resulting from some unusual meteorite fallings the Van Allen Radiation Belt surrounding the Earth's atmosphere catches on fire encircling the planet in a fiery mass that sends temperatures soaring up to 130 degrees. Called back to New York to a meeting on the UN Admiral Nelson with the assistance of Com. Lucius Emery (Peter Lorre), works out a scheme whereby shooting a missile from the Seaview at a certain point and time into the radiation belt will extinguish the fiery mass. Convinced of his theory Nelson meets strong opposition from most Un delegates who feel it will burn itself out when it reaches a certain temperature. Capt. Nelson decides to taking it upon himself to ensure that the missile is fired at the appointed time and taking his crew and a reluctant visitor , Dr. Hiller (Joan Fontaine), along on the dangerous mission, the Captain encounters many difficulties along the way to the North Pole. Admiral Nelson becomes increasingly tyrannical in his leadership as he contends with an increasingly cynical offsider in Capt. Crane (Robert Sterling), dangerous mine fields, a pursuing submarine sent out by the UN to hunt the Seaview down if necessary and on board an unknown saboteur who seems intent upon ruining his plans to fire off the missile. Finally after half the crew decide to go no further and attempt to return home on an abandoned ship and the remaining skeleton crew experience a tense stand off with a bomb carrying religious zealot Miguel (Michael Ansara), who they had picked up off the ice, the missile is finally shot off at the appointed time proving Admiral Nelson's theory correct that the radiation belt would not burn itself out and could only be destroyed by a nuclear blast at its centre.
While certainly no cinema classic "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea", does take itself very seriously which gives the story a certain ring of authenticity despite some of the questionable science employed. Earnest performances combined with good special effects for the time greatly aid in making the story seem a bit more memorable than what probably it actually deserves. Walter Pidgeon a veteran of countless Hollywood classics takes a distinct change of pace here from his earlier famous collaborations at MGM with such people as Greer Garson, and turns in a convincing performance as the Admiral who literally shanghai's the Seaview in a mad dash to prove his theory on how to destroy the flaming Van Allen Radiation Belt. His performance turns from affable to increasing manic as the deadline for firing the missile approaches and makes for an interesting depiction of how a man's mind can snap under pressure. Fellow veteran Joan Fontaine while at times looking a trifle uncomfortable in her role of the psychiatrist who is unwillingly involved in the mission still manages to bring conviction even to the highly silly premise of when she takes matters into her own hands and Hollywood legend Peter Lorre making what must be one of his last performances as Admiral Nelson's offsider in the scheme to fire the missile, delivers his usual capable performance. Being the 1960's Producer Irwin Allen having his eyes on the booming teen market made sure that the cast was sprinkled with upcoming faces such as Barbara Eden (Pre "I Dream of Jeannie), and singing heart throb Frankie Avalon who also sings the oddly out of place theme song. At first glance they may appear slightly out of place on a nuclear submarine however Barbara Eden in particular does a reasonably good job as the young love interest to Capt. Crane while also managing very well in getting about the submarine in dangerously tall high heels! Irwin Allen did enjoy great success with his special effects in this film and the sight of the whole sky literally burning up along with the terrific underwater scenes are still highly impressive. Much ridicule has been directed at the whole premise of this story however I feel the idea of a radiation belt catching alight and frying the Earth's surface is actually quite an original and at times quite frightening idea and for the most part is handled in a quite convincing way if you ignore some of the scientific impossibilities of what the cast carry out. The addition of an unknown saboteur and the fatalist character played by Michael Ansara work well in heightening the drama and addign to the tensions along the way in the story and definately help keep up the viewers interest.
"Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea", is definately a trip back to a simpler time in sci fi film making but that should not be viewed as a critcism of the film. I've always felt it has a bit of the old Saturday matinee feel to it and I still find the movie great escapism for a bit over an hour and a half. Irwin Allen of course became much more famous later in the decade for his sci fi television series version of this movie and of course for "Lost in Space", but this movie was done on a more lavish scale than most of those efforts and still is worth seeing for its own merits. Try to see the original sci fi movie that became the long running series of the same name in Irwin Allen's exciting "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea", soon."
A Green-Washed Seaview
Shaun M. Toole | USA | 07/09/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I can just imagine the marketing department at Fox scouring its archives for products it can tie in with today's environmental concerns. The "Global Warming" edition of the Voyage movie is a rather obvious repackaging of an old product with a glitzy extra or two, but the association with climate change is a stretch. In the movie, the sky catches fire and Earth's temperatures rise dramatically. Global warming, indeed.
I was happy to see the movie released with extras such as an isolated music track, commentary, and production gallery, but disappointed with the quality of each of the features. The music track is well recorded, but unlike the special edition of "Fantastic Voyage," there's no dialog to fill the passages which have no music. Long stretches of silence are the result.
With the commentary playing, I found myself groaning every time Voyage "expert" Tim Colliver launched into another of his glib ad-libs, which were riddled with obvious grammatical errors and verbal gaffs. Colliver mispronounces "depth" "Depp" - as in Johnny Depp - twice. He trips over his tongue, then ironically notes that he "talks for a living." I hope he saves his money. Colliver also points out that he feels obligated to tell us the differences between the Voyage movie and novelization... and vice versa!
While the video quality of the film is excellent on this DVD, it is no better than on the version backed with "Fantastic Voyage" which Fox released several years ago. If you already own that version, there is no need to replace it with this one. If you need to spend money, buy Fantastic Voyage (Special Edition) instead. Now THAT's how you do a commentary!"
60's Sci Fi at its best
Carleton Breaux | Portland, OR | 02/02/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Sure, the science is implausible. But this film employs enough plot devises and not-half-bad special effects to make it a real party flick. The two real treats in the film: (1)An aging but always fascinating to watch Peter Lorre, chain-smoking his way through some pretty dumb lines, and (2) Barbara Eden in a skin-tight naval "uniform," as the admiral's personal assistant, jiggling about the submarine, and even going topside, in 6-inch spike high heels. What fun!"
My Favorite Film of my Childhood
Gary P. Cohen | Staten Island, NY USA | 07/11/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This was my favorite film of my childhood, I still have a great deal of affection for it. My father took me to see it when I was eleven and it absolutely blew me away, it was to me what Star Wars was to the next generation. I immediately started hitting every book store and department store I could find to locate the novelization (which I eventualy found in a small bookstore on Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn. I still have it.)
The basic premise is of the Van Allen radiation belt surrounding the earth catching fire and the attempt of the futuristic atomic-powered submarine, Seaview, to shoot a nuclear missile into the belt and push the fire out into space. Pretty much everyone is opposed to this including the United Nations but as the brilliant creator of the Seaview, Admiral Nelson, advises "I answer only to the President."(Hearing the Admiral state this unequiocably brings me back to a time when the U.S. did not have to grovel to anyone else for anything. I wish we were still there.) Since the President can't be contacted, the Admiral has a time-limit and must do it on his own.
The cast is excellent. Walter Pidgeon is a suitably eccentric Nelson and Robert Sterling (from TV's Topper,) a good Captain Crane. (I do prefer Richard Basehart and David Hedison from the Voyage TV series though. Irwin Allen wanted Hedison to play Crane in the film but Hedison refused after working unhappily with Allen on "The Lost World." He eventually relented and accepted the role on the TV series due to his respect for Basehart and his buddy, Roger Moore, telling him he could make a great deal of money from a successful TV series. I've met Hedison a few times and had him autograph my 1964 Aurora model of the Seaview.)
The rest of the cast is fine. Joan Fontaine is aboard as a Psychiatrist testing the crew, Barbara Eden looking lovely as the Admiral's secretary, Michael Ansara, (Eden's then-husband,)as a rescued religious fanatic brought aboard the Seaview and Frankie Avalon as second-officer Chip Romano. (His character became Chip Morton on the TV series.) But the real prize is the great Peter Lorre as the Admiral's buddy and co-genius Commodore Emory. Lorre steals every scene he is in and you can occassionally spot a Lorre ad-lib, something he was known for.
But the real star of the film is the sleek, beautiful Seaview itself. It is my favorite vehicle from any sci-fi film (even more than the USS Enterprise.) Seeing that submarine on a large movie screen was very impressive. One can't quite imagine it when one has only seen this film on TV. The special effects were state of the art for 1961. There are a couple of monsters: a giant squid and a giant octopus that attacks the Seaview. Chances are if you've watched the TV show only you have seen some of the action scenes from this film as Irwin Allen was known for using and reusing footage. (The bulk of a first season Voyage episode "Turn Back the Clock" is from Allen's film "The Lost World," also starring Hedison.) The Voyage TV series ran four years and was very successful. It was the longest-running, non-anthology, Sci-fi series until eventually beaten by Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Unlike the first Voyage DVD this includes some extras including a commentary, a short interview with Barbara Eden, etc.) The extras caused me to get rid of my original Voyage DVD and purchase this one, I was not sorry.
In conclusion, if you want a serious sci-fi film with millions of dollars of CGI special effects, this is not for you. However if you want a fun and exciting film with state of the art special effects, circa. 1961, you could do a lot worse than this film."