Sunday, January 30, 2011

At the Earth's Core - film (1976)

This B Cheese Science Fiction was a treat to watch. I just recently read ERB novels At the Earth's Core and Pellucidar, so I was anxious to watch this. After watching the 2009 A Princess of Mars, I was unsure as to what to hope for; however, the fact that ATEC stars Peter Cushing laid some of my fears to rest.

Released in 1976, it also stars Doug McClure and scream queen Caroline Munro.

I'll admit, I'm more forgiving of a movie made in this era. I want to see rubber monsters and cheesy set design. I crave it. Peter Cushing being in this one gave me high hopes, but I found I didn't really care for his portrayal of Dr. Abner Perry. Cushing spoke in a high nasally voice and presented the doctor as much more bumbling then I remembered him. However, Cushing did get off the best line of the movie: "You can't mesmerize me! I'm British!"

Doug McClure as David Innes was adequate, but was not how I visualized David Innes. McClure did two more ERB films with director Kevin Conner. The Land that Time Forgot preceded ATEC in 1975, andThe People that Time Forgot followed in 1977. For some reason, The People that Time Forgot is available on DVD, but "The Land" is not (there is however a 2009 remake

The best part of the movie, in my humble opinion, is Caroline Munro as Dia. Munro is known to Hammer Horror Film fans. She also starred in fantasy and science fiction movies in the 70's and 80's. She makes a delicious looking Dia.

The film follows the novel just well enough to be recognizable, but is just different enough to bother purists. Some of the more interesting portions of the novel, are not touched upon, such as the geography of Pellucidar. Many other things are rushed as well so as to pack in as much action in 92 minutes as possible.

I very much recommend this film. It has hilarious MST3K moments, and is just coherently "ERB" enough to be enjoyable.

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