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Unknown World

Unknown World (1951) Movie Poster
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USA  •    •  74m  •    •  Directed by: Terry O. Morse.  •  Starring: Bruce Kellogg, Otto Waldis, Jim Bannon, Tom Handley, Dick Cogan, George Baxter, Marilyn Nash, Victor Kilian, Harold Miller.  •  Music by: Ernest Gold.
        Scientists use a gigantic drilling machine for an expedition to the center of the earth.

Review:

Image from: Unknown World (1951)
Image from: Unknown World (1951)
Image from: Unknown World (1951)
Image from: Unknown World (1951)
Image from: Unknown World (1951)
Image from: Unknown World (1951)
Image from: Unknown World (1951)
Image from: Unknown World (1951)
Image from: Unknown World (1951)
Image from: Unknown World (1951)
Combining Verne's "Journey to the Center of the Earth" with Burrough's "Pelucidar" without putting in any of the good bits of either, this earnest piece of polemic is for the most part deadly dull and does not make much sense even when it isn't.

It opens (a la Citizen Kane) with a newsreel about a group of scientists who believe the only way mankind would survive the inevitable nuclear war is to find a refuge deep beneath the earth. ThisN uses a lot of stock footage and must have been very cheap to make. A newspaper tycoon's son funds their plans to build a near indestructible perfect self-propelled rock-eating underground boring machine (to be called the Psychotram or something) if he can go along too.

Curiously the narrative is then taken up by the female doctor on the team who voices over as she writes tiny little columns on huge sheets of paper (so they fit onto the screen neatly). This narration is then dropped till near then end of the movie. It looks like it was added in post production to try and add some coherence to the script.

So, having built their super dooper machine they all set out for an extinct volcano to start their decent. As they arrive (after one of the worst effects shots committed to celluloid) the volcano next door starts to erupt - conforming with Hollywood Rule number 34a "Any white people coming within sight of a volcano will cause it to erupt." They start their decent. The Mighty Psychotram grinds into action. Then stops. Then they all get out and walk about huge caves getting themselves killed one by one and generally getting depressed and acting like idiots. At one point, with their water supply contaminated by toxic gas, they are in danger of dying of thirst. They hear running water. After pressing their ear to the cave wall they declare there is an underground river the other side and start whacking at it with a couple of sledge hammers - forgetting for a moment that they have just spent the last year constructing a near indestructible perfect self-propelled rock-eating machine. After a few whacks WHHOOOOSH! super-heated steam shoots out (what happened to the river?) Run away! Run away! They all climb into the near indestructible perfect self-propelled rock-eating machine (now they remember!) and wait for the steam to condense so they can drink it. (!)

Later they find a HUGE underground cavern with lots of light and deserts and waterfalls. They hang around for a bit. Could this be the Eden they are looking for?... err no... apparently not. The rabbits they have bought with them have stillborn kits. "I don't understand it," muses one of the brilliant boffins, "It must be something biological" (Duh? No sh!t, Einstein).

After peering down a small microscope (Hollywood rule 467d "All not very nice scientific discoveries are made by peering down a small microscope, looking away for a moment in deep thought, peering back in, then calling over another white-coated scientist to confirm your grim discovery) the good lady doctor announces that nothing can be born alive in this place. Devistated at this piece of news the perfectly stable geological area they have stumbled into decides to explode. (See rule 34a above). The Psychotram sinks to the bottom of the underground sea (despite having floated on a different underground sea earlier in the movie - maybe that one was salty and had a higher specific gravity. Who knows. Who cares?) anyway, there they are; the last three survivors sitting at the bottom of this underground ocean all getting very depressed about things when suddenly they start to go up... and up...

and up....

2600 miles straight up. In a matter of minutes. How? Why? (Who knows. Who cares?) And guess what? Their ears don't even pop on the way up! My ears pop if I go up a thousand feet in a matter of half an hour (I know. I live in a mountainous region. I do it regularly.) Take me up 2600 miles in a matter of minutes and my head would explode! Anybody's would. Not in dumb boring movies like this they don't - which is a pity because it might have made the movie more watchable if they had.

It took me three attempts to watch this movie - I fell asleep twice.


Review by junk-monkey from the Internet Movie Database.