Journey to the Center of the Earth (1959)

Day: January 21st, Movie: 21

The sci-fi film tonight is the classic 1959 film Journey to the Center of the Earth. I started it off and I couldn’t believe that I saw one of the main character was being played by Pat Boone. Then he wound up in front of a piano and singing a song. Weird. It wasn’t the start that I was expecting.

Accordig to IMDB, “Edinburgh university professor Sir Oliver Lindenbrook (James Mason) believes he has found an very old message from a long lost scientist who may have found the way to journey to the center of the Earth. With his assistant, student Alec McKuen (Pat Boone), he sets off for Iceland where an entrance in a volcanic range is to be found. They are soon joined by Carla Goetabaug (Arlene Dahl), whose scientist-husband was recently murdered, and Icelander Hans Belker (Peter Ronson) as they descend into the bowels of the Earth.

This was a film definitely of its time. Some of the attitudes of the men in the party directed toward Carla was a bit archaic. Yet, she was fairly competent and not necessarily always a damsel in distress. It did happen a few times, but it was 1959, after all.

The ideas of what was found at the center of the earth was bizarre, yet cool in a “I don’t know anything about science” type of way. The interactions among the characters was decent and the best part was the duck, Gertrude. The end of Gertrude was a true tragedy.

The film had plenty of moments that were clear inspiration for other film-makers. There was a scene of them being chased by a giant rolling boulder which was an inspiration for Steven Spielberg in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Some of the creatures that were found at the center of the earth reminded me of special effects in the original Clash of the Titans films.

This was a lot of fun and I am glad that I was able to watch this classic film on HBO Max. It feels like I was able to check off a box on that list by watching this.

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