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Member's Reviews

Journey to the Center of the Earth, a review by GSyren

TitleJourney to the Centre of the Earth (9-345228-001424)
DirectorHenry Levin
ActorsPat Boone, James Mason, Arlene Dahl, Diane Baker, Thayer David
Produced1959 in United States
Runtime129 minutes
AudioEnglish DTS-HD Master Audio 4.0, Music Only DTS-HD Master Audio 2-Channel Stereo
OverviewThe accent is on fun and fantasy in this film version of Jules Verne's classic thriller that stars James Mason, Pat Boone, and Arlene Dahl. With spectacular visuals as a backdrop, the story centres on an expedition led by Professor Lindenbrook (Mason) down into the earth's dark, threat-laden core. Members of the group include the professor's star student, Alec (Boone), and the widow (Dahl) of a colleague. Along the way lurk dangers such as kidnapping, death, sabotage by a rival explorer, and attacks by giant prehistoric reptiles. But they also encounter such magnificent wonders as a glistening cavern of quartz crystals, luminescent algae, a forest of giant mushrooms, and the lost city of Atlantis. Remaining faithful to Verne's story, this is a sweeping adventure that offers enough thrills and entertainment to satisfy every explorer in the family.
My thoughtsJourney to the Center of the Earth is one of the first fantasy films that I saw on my own back in 1960. I loved it back then, and I still do. Probably more than it is really worth. I learned too late that Twilight Time had released it on blu-ray. Now it costs big bucks on eBay. Bummer! But then I learned that it had been released on BD in Australia as well, and I could get that one at a reasonable price. Joy!

So, since I have seen this film quite a few times, I looked at it a little more critically this time. The whole concept of traveling to the center of the earth is preposterous, of course. But hey, this is fantasy, so we don't question the plausibility of the story. Like so much from Jules Verne, it's a story that appeals to your imagination rather than to your logic.

Now, it's a v-e-r-y long time since I read the book (and the Classics Illustrated comic), but I'm pretty sure there was no duck in it. And probably not a woman, either. Or a Swedish scientist named Göteborg. Or a living relative of Arne Saknussemm. Or a sunken continent. In fact, it seems to me that the screenwriters have taken quite a lot of liberties with Verne's novel.

For my taste they could have dispensed with some of the comedic moments. The whole sequence with the kidnapping of James Mason's and Pat Boone's characters, just to introduce them to Gertrude the duck and her owner Hans, is a waste of time.

Still, the film is quite a fun ride, and most of it is very well made. The mix of real caves (in this case Carlsbad Caverns) and studio sets work quite well for the most part. There are a few places where the art design is a bit over the top, the crystal cave being one of them. And there are a few places where the matte paintings are a bit too obvious.

The sequence with the big rolling boulder is really well executed, and I wonder if this isn't where Spielberg got the idea for the similar scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Using live lizards to represent giant monsters is usually a groan-inducing trick, but it actually works better than expected here. There are a couple of really accomplished split screen scenes.

The acting is fairly good for the most part. It's Peter Ronson's only acting credit. It's clear that he is not an actor, but he's acceptable as Hans, their Icelandic guide. Pat Boone isn't much of an actor, either, and his singing feels like a filler, but otherwise he's not too bad. Professor Lindenbrook is hardly James Mason's most taxing role, but it's always good to see him. Apparently he didn't much like Arlene Dahl, but that works fine since that pretty well mirrors what his character feels.

If I had seen this for the first time today I would probably not rate it more than max 4, if that. But with the good memories I have, and the fact that re-watching it hasn't diminished them, I rate it a very strong 4.5.
My rating

(From Reviews and ramblings by Gunnar on May 26th, 2014)

Member's Reviews

The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister, a review by Tom

     The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister (2010/United Kingdom)
IMDb | Wikipedia

2 entertain Video (United Kingdom)
Director:James Kent
Writing:Jane English (Writer)
Length:91 min.
Video:Anamorphic Widescreen 1.78
Audio:English: Dolby Digital 5.1

Maxine Peake as Anne Lister
Anna Madeley as Mariana
Susan Lynch as Tib
Christine Bottomley as Ann Walker
Gemma Jones as Aunt Lister

Revealing a surprising side to the world painted by Jane Austen and the Brontës, this moving drama tells of the passionate and dramatic life of Anne Lister, Britain's first modern lesbian.

"I was not born to live alone. I must have someone with me and in loving and being loved, I could be happy"

Maxine Peake delivers a remarkable and heartfelt performance as Anne Lister, an early 19th century Yorkshire landowner whose deciphered journals reveal the agonies and ectasies behind her scandalous lifestyle...

A landowning gentlewoman who defied convention, Anne Lister follows her passion in pursuing and seducing the beautiful Mariana. However just as their exhilarating, illicit affair threatens to scandalise society, Mariana chooses to marry the older but wealthy Charles Lawton.

A distraught Anne, denied the love of her soul mate, is forced to look elsewhere for the passion she craves. In her remarkable struggle to survive Anne discovers new depths that test her spirit and the fortitude of her convictions.

  • Featurettes
  • Scene Access

My Thoughts:
An okay movie. But I didn't enjoy it as much as Fingersmith, which is set around the same time I believe. Nothing really surprising. It is about as much as I expected from the trailer.


(From Lesbian Movie Marathon on October 23rd, 2010)

Member's TV Reviews

Firefly Marathon, a review by Tom

07. Jaynestown
Writer: Ben Edlund (Writer)
Director: Marita Grabiak
Cast: Nathan Fillion (Mal), Gina Torres (Zoe), Alan Tudyk (Wash), Morena Baccarin (Inara), Adam Baldwin (Jayne), Jewel Staite (Kaylee), Sean Maher (Simon), Summer Glau (River), Ron Glass (Shepherd Book), Gregory Itzin (Magistrate Higgins), Daniel Bess (Mudder), Kevin Gage (Stitch Hessian), Zachary Kranzier (Fess Higgins), Jordan Lund (Foreman), Bob McCracken (Well-Dressed Man), Ronald Craig Williams (Busker), John Jabaley (Bartender), Laura Niemi (Woman), Simon Brooke (Prod), Clement E. Blake (Mudder Elder)

A lot of great moments. I love the scenes between River and Book. How River is trying to fix the bible :)
And all that hair!
And I also like the Jayne storyline, where a town is celebrating him as a hero. Really funny is the scene where the crew learn about this while listening to the Jayne-Song.


(From Firefly Marathon on February 28th, 2010)