“Journey to the Center of the Earth” is a science fiction film of 1959 directed by Henry Levin and produced by 20th Century Fox. The film is based on Jules Verne’s 1864 novel of the same name.
The plot follows the adventures of mineralogy professor Oliver Lindenbrook, played by James Mason, and his student Alec McEwan, played by Pat Boone, who embark on an expedition to reach the center of the Earth. The group ventures through volcanoes and underground caverns, encountering prehistoric creatures and risking their lives multiple times.
The film received positive reviews and was a box office success, grossing more than $9 million. It is known for its innovative special effects for its time and memorable score by Bernard Herrmann.
The film’s success led to several other films based on Verne’s novels, including 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and 2008’s Journey to the Center of the Earth.
The plot of the film “Journey to the Center of the Earth” follows the adventures of Professor Oliver Lindenbrook and his student Alec McEwan who go on an expedition to reach the center of the Earth.
Lindenbrook receives a fragment of a rock which contains a cryptic message written in Old Icelandic, suggesting a passage to the center of the Earth. With Alec’s help, Lindenbrook deciphers the message and organizes an expedition to reach the access point through an Icelandic volcano.
Along the way, the group encounters various dangers, including battling prehistoric creatures, avoiding volcanic eruptions, and navigating an underground river. Furthermore, the group splits due to disagreements among the members and Professor Lindenbrook must try to keep the group together to achieve their goal.
Here are the main characters of the film “Journey to the Center of the Earth”:
Professor Oliver Lindenbrook: is the protagonist of the film, played by James Mason. He is a mineralogy teacher who leads the expedition to the center of the earth. Lindenbrook is determined, courageous and highly knowledgeable in his subject.
Alec McEwan: is a young student of Professor Lindenbrook, played by Pat Boone. He’s brave and loyal, but also a little impetuous and reckless.
Carla Göteborg: is a widow of a colleague of Professor Lindenbrook, played by Arlene Dahl. She joins the expedition and becomes Lindenbrook’s love interest.
Hans Bjelke: is an Icelandic guide expert in volcanic exploration, played by Peter Ronson. Bjelke joins the expedition as a guide and helps the group overcome difficulties along the way.
Count Saknussem: is an ancestor of Lindenbrook who discovered the path to the center of the Earth, played by Thayer David. Saknussem appears in a flashback and is an important figure in the history of the expedition.
Grogan: is a member of the expedition, played by Alan Napier. He is a gruff and headstrong geologist who often comes into conflict with Lindenbrook.
Gertrude: is a duck who joins the expedition and becomes a mascot of the group.
These are just some of the main characters in the film, there are also other minor characters and prehistoric creatures that the group encounters along the way.
“Journey to the Center of the Earth” was produced by 20th Century Fox and directed by Henry Levin. The screenplay was written by Walter Reisch and Charles Brackett, based on the Jules Verne novel of the same name.
The film was shot primarily at 20th Century Fox studios in Los Angeles, but some scenes were filmed in Iceland to give a sense of authenticity to the setting.
To create the film’s special effects, director Henry Levin used several innovative techniques for the time, such as the use of miniatures, animatronics and projections. For example, the sequence where the group is attacked by a dinosaur was created using a model of the dinosaur that was animated by hand.
The film score was composed by Bernard Herrmann, who created an atmosphere of suspense and adventure through his music. The song “My Love Is Like a Red, Red Rose”, performed by Pat Boone, became a huge hit.
“Journey to the Center of the Earth” was a huge box office hit, grossing more than $9 million. The film received positive reviews and won an Academy Award for Best Special Effects in 1960.
Distribution and Reception
“Journey to the Center of the Earth” was released in theaters in the United States on December 16, 1959. The film was a huge box office success, grossing over $9 million worldwide.
The film was well received by critics, who praised the innovative special effects, the score by Bernard Herrmann and the performances of the main actors. In particular, James Mason was lauded for his portrayal of Professor Lindenbrook.
The film received several nominations for the Academy Awards, including Best Cinematography and Best Editing, but only won the award for Best Special Effects. Nonetheless, the film has become a classic of the adventure/science fiction genre and has often been cited as an example of how a film can transpose a Jules Verne novel in a compelling and spectacular way.
The film’s success led to the production of several derivative works, including a 2008 remake with the same title, but with a different storyline and cast.
“Journey to the Center of the Earth” is an adventure/science fiction film with a fantastic and surreal setting, which is based on the novel by Jules Verne. The film uses a combination of innovative special effects and camera techniques to create a spectacular imaginary world.
The atmosphere of the film is dominated by suspense and from the action, with a heavy emphasis on the emotions of the characters and the dangers they encounter on their journey to the center of the Earth. Bernard Herrmann’s score helps create a sense of suspense and adventure, accompanying the on-screen action with music that enhances the drama of the scenes.
The film uses a number of techniques innovative for the time, including the use of miniatures, animatronics and projections, to create the special effects and prehistoric creatures encountered by the characters on their journey. The use of these techniques gives the film a surprisingly realistic look, which sets it apart from others adventure movie of the same era.
Overall, “Journey to the Center of the Earth” is a compelling and immersive visual spectacle, effectively blending Jules Verne’s adventure, science fiction and creative imagination, resulting in a thrilling entertainment experience for the audience.
The director of “Journey to the Center of the Earth” is Henry Levin, an American director who directed a number of adventure and comedy films in the 1950s and 1960s. Levin began his career as a production assistant in Hollywood and then worked as a director for 20th Century Fox.
Levin was known for his skill in directing adventure films, and ‘Journey to the Center of the Earth’ is one of his most famous works. In the film, Levin created an immersive and spectacular atmosphere, using a combination of innovative special effects and camera techniques to bring to life the imaginary world created by Jules Verne.
Levin also directed other successful films during his career, including ‘The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm’ (1962) and ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ (1962). His prowess in directing adventure and fantasy films has enabled him to create an immersive and memorable entertainment experience for audiences around the world.