Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (1961)

Detail from DVD cover
Detail from DVD cover

The atomic submarine Seaview must race across the oceans to fire a nuclear missile into the Van Allen belt, which is on fire and threatening all life on Earth. The hope is that the nuclear explosion will put out the burning belt!

The sky's on fire!
The sky’s on fire!
US poster
US poster

Starring Walter (FORBIDDEN PLANET) Pidgeon, Peter (THE RAVEN) Lorre, Joan (THE WITCHES) Fontaine, Barbara (7 FACES OF DR. LAO) Eden and Frankie Avalon, this Irwin Allen production features silly science (the Van Allen belt catches ‘fire’ and ice blocks sink, etc) but it is full of incident! There’s sabotage, a fight with a squid, an encounter with a giant octopus in the Mariana Trench, a sequence in an undersea minefield and a torpedo attack by a pursuing sub.

Zapping a giant octopus!
Zapping a giant octopus!
Giant squid attack!
Giant squid attack!
The undersea minefield sequence is pretty tense
The undersea minefield sequence is pretty tense
Walter Pidgeon has a smoke
Walter Pidgeon has a smoke
Peter Lore has a smoke
Peter Lorre has a smoke
Walter Pidgeon and Peter Lore have a smoke
Walter Pidgeon and Peter Lorre both have a smoke

Unlike the TV series that followed, there’s a lot of conflict between Admiral Nelson, Captain Crane and the crew members, with a mutiny narrowly averted. At one point Admiral Nelson does a ‘Patton’ and slaps a junior member of the crew (Avalon) for malingering.

UK quad poster

VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA is certainly a colourful flick. I especially like the shot of New York bathed in the red hot glow of the burning sky, plus the moody view of the undersea minefield vista looks pretty good.

This film also, of course, introduced us to the super-cool Seaview submarine!

The Seaview!
The Seaview!
Checking out the burning Van Allen belt
Checking out the burning Van Allen belt
Can Miguel Alvarez (far right), played by Michael Ansara, be trusted?
Barbara Eden and Michael Ansara were a couple in real life
Barbara Eden and Michael Ansara were a couple in real life

The film’s world-in-peril plot hints at Irwin Allen’s interest in the disaster genre he would become closely associated with in the future, with the likes of THE TOWERING INFERNO (1974) and WHEN TIME RAN OUT (1980).

German VHS cover
German VHS cover

Okay, here are some posters…

Italian poster
Italian poster: nice one!
Belgian poster
Belgian poster
Italian poster
Italian poster
Spanish poster
Spanish poster
Italian poster
Italian poster
Argentinian poster
Argentinian poster
Italian locandina poster
Italian locandina poster
US DVD cover

Some lobby cards…

Lobby card
Lobby card
Italian 'photobusta'-style lobby card
Italian ‘photobusta’-style lobby card
Italian 'photobusta'-style lobby card
Italian ‘photobusta’-style lobby card
Mexican lobby card
Mexican lobby card

Finally, one more shot of the Seaview sub…

The Seaview surfaces...
The Seaview surfaces… cool!

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