Journey to the Center of the Earth (1959), starring James Mason, Pat Boone, Arlene Dahl and Diane Baker
Synopsis of Journey to the Center of the Earth
Journey to the Center of the Earth: A Scottish professor uncovers a map of how to reach the center of the Earth through an Icelandic crater. Then, after sharing the news, competes with his rival to reach it.
Review of Journey to the Center of the Earth
In short, Journey to the Center of the Earth is an absolutely enjoyable movie. It definitely takes liberties with the original Jules Verne story, but it’s still a fun popcorn movie for the entire family. The entire cast does an excellent job, the sets and costume look right, and the Bernard Herrmann score is excellent.
Are there any negatives? Very few. The “dinosaurs” in the movie are clearly lizards with fans taped to their backs. The idea of the lost city of Atlantis surviving intact after being sunk to the center of the Earth is, at least, unlikely. As is the intrepid explorers’ escape. Although Pat Boone losing his pants and landing amid nuns was definitely entertaining!
In all, I truly enjoyed Journey to the Center of the Earth is very entertaining, and I rate it 4 stars out of 5.
Cast of characters in Journey to the Center of the Earth
- Sir Oliver S. Lindenbrook (James Mason, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea). The college professor, and leader of the exhibition. He’s gruff, likable, but with little social skills. He serves as a mentor to:
- Alec McEwan (Pat Boone , State Fair 1962). The young student who discovers the hunk of rock that begins the story. He becomes Sir Oliver’s right-hand man on the exhibition. And engaged to his niece, as well.
- Carla Göteborg (Arlene Dahl , Three Little Words). The widow of Lindenbrook’s competitor, who permits him to use her husband’s equipment. At the price of her coming along. Equally stong-willed as the professor, and a good match for him. In more ways than one …
- Count Saknussemm (Thayer David, House of Dark Shadows). The villain of the film. Aristocratic, murderous, brilliant, and dismissive. Excellently played by Thayer David.
- Hans Belker (Peter Ronson). The Icelandic gentle giant, who becomes an integral part of the expedition. He speaks no English, so Carla has to translate. Even so, he’s one of the most likable members of the cast. Along with his pet goose, Gertrude, a character in her own right.
- Jenny Lindenbrook (Diane Baker, The Prize). Sir Oliver’s niece, and Alec’s fiancee. A very nice, sweet young woman that give Alec a goal to return to. As Carla gently reminds him at one point.
- Dean (Alan Napier, Batman, The Mole People). A secondary character, the Dean of the college.
Editorial review of Journey to the Center of the Earth courtesy of Amazon.com
James Mason plays Professor Oliver Lindenbrook, a scientist hoping to find the world’s core in this 1959 adaptation of the Jules Verne novel. He leads his unusual party on an expedition to the center of the earth, by way of a volcano in Iceland. On the way, they encounter enormous mushrooms and giant prehistoric monsters. Produced by Michael Todd with then-spectacular special effects, the story was modernized to 1950s sensibilities. Mason gives this class, while Arlene Dahl and Diane Baker are the romantic interests. And Pat Boone is more palatable than you might expect as a secondary lead. You can watch this with your children and not be bored, and they will surely love it. –Rochelle O’Gorman