Henry Levin's JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH
Movie review by Dennis D. McDonald
This thoroughly enjoyable 1959 classic is a childhood favorite. Viewed again recently I was pleasantly surprised to see how enjoyable it remains.
Yes, great liberties have been taken with the Jules Verne original story, but overall the emphasis on science and adventure in fantastic and scary circumstances is a delight.
The color, set design, artwork, and costuming are professionally and imaginatively done. This is the era of Ben-Hur and Forbidden Planet, after all, a time when traditional movie making craft professionals could operate at their peak when given an appropriate budget.
Here they were. The beautiful set design and imaginative rendering of fantastic and odd underground features remain engaging, pulled together by James Mason’s strong and convincing performance as the brave and fiercely intelligent expedition leader.
My favorite scenes are the crystalline caverns and the chamber of giant mushrooms. They still impress. Add the fantastic score by Bernard Herrmann and you have a totally entertaining package.
Review copyright (c) 2011 by Dennis D. McDonald