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Saturday, February 27, 2010

VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA (1961)

This typically cheesy Irwin Allen production sounds like a rip-off of Disney’s first-rate adaptation of Jules Verne’s 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA/’54, with dollops of THE CAINE MUTINY/’54 and FORBIDDEN PLANET/’56 added to the mix. But it’s more like a sly, if possibly unintentional, goof on Stanley Kramer’s nuclear annihilation soaper, ON THE BEACH/’59. Both films feature motley crews in high-tech subs that roam the sea as the world above burns up. But in VOYAGE, the atomic missiles that destroyed the Earth in ON THE BEACH are now used to save it. Hurrah for atomic weapons! The slightly worn cast (Walter Pigeon, Joan Fontaine, Peter Lorre and tiny Frankie Avalon) don’t take things too seriously which helps the fun, but these Irwin Allen entertainments are a lot better when he lets someone else do the megging. Listen up to hear Robert Easton, ‘dialogue coach to the stars’, mangle a southern accent so deep-fried you’ll want to shout ‘Hush puppy!’

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