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After somehow getting his hands on a map to the center of the earth,
professor Lindenbrook (James Mason) is possessed to embark on a journey
there himself, and soon he has assembled a skeleton crew for this
trailblazing expedition: his student Alec (Pat Boone, who also gets to
sing a few tunes in this one), Carla Goetaborg (Arlene Dahl), the wife of
one of his colleagues who tried to trick him but was killed by a
mysterious third party, and Icelandic strongman Hans (Peter Ronson), who
brings along his duck Gertrud. However, they are not even far down, when
above mentioned third party, Count Sacknussem (Thayer David), whose
ancestor's map Lindenbrook uses, starts to try and sabotage their efforts.
Soon enough, Alec loses the others too, and instead crosses paths with
Sacknussem, who wants to make him is manservant and shoots him into his
shoulder when he refuses. But the shot has attracted the others who soon
overpower the man and want to condemn him to death ... but have to realize
they are all too civilized to shoot him, so they just drag him along.
Soon they make some amazing discoveries, like some dinosaurs (who
attack them) a giant underground sea and a maelstrom at the center of the
earth. And a landslide (that finally takes Sacknussem's life, but not
before he has eaten Hans's beloved duck) leads them the way to the sunken
city of Atlantis ... where they find the skeleton of Sacknussem's
ancestor, whose map Lindenbrook has been losing - and it seems as if they
would share his fate, since they have lost all ther provisions and
equipment during their journey here. But somehow they find a way to make
use of skeleton Sacknussem's gunpowder and blow away a rock that blocks a
tunnel directly to the surface ... which though makes Atlantis, that has
been here for the last 5000 years, sink in lava, & only our heroes are
swept to the surface, riding on an altar from Atlantis ... and back on the
surface they are celebrated as heroes, even though they have not a grain
of proof for their adventures.
Not following the novel by Jules Verne too closely, Journey to the Center
of the Earth is an enjoyable, naive, colourful and cheesy 1950's
mainstream science fiction film that can be easily dismissed by more
serious genre buffs, but can be as easily liked by those who are still in
touch with their inner child.