Friday, January 16, 2009

Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (DVD)

As a bit of a change from yesterday's film Cold Mountain, a masterclass in wrenching a screenplay out of Joseph Campbell's Hero With a Thousand Faces, I'm watching "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea" (1961) featuring Barbara Eden and Peter Lorre amongst others, walking around a giant, spacious nuclear submarine with massive forward viewing windows. This is the famous planarian-shaped Seaview.

The plot is simple and nobody in the crew is called Walker or Hiro or Turner or Inman or any other Deep Names. The Van Allen belts are on fire, and the world has heated up so much that everyone not on a submarine is dead. Admiral Thingy has to go to the marianas trench to fire a missile to douse the Van Allen belts. All kinds of obstacles present themselves, such as minefields in the middle of nowhere (as if someone knew during WWII to tether mines in case a big nuclear submarine wanted to get through in a hurry 15 years later).

We had a bet which Denizen of the Deep the divers laying phone lines would face. I uncharacteristically let STB lay claim to the giant inert rubber squid trying to Swallow Our Seamen and claimed for myself the old "getting your flipper caught in a giant clam horror". STB, of course, was right.

A giant octopus turned up later - go cephalopods! - but nothing daunted the Seaview and the world (slightly scorched and presumably barren, so I hope Barbara Eden's up to having a lot of babies) is saved once again.

This is an Irwin Allen production, of course. The set was so expensive The Master of Disaster kept it and persuaded ABC to make VTTBOTS into a series. I remember watching it as a kid and one of my very early science fictional efforts was based on the TV series. I think I was seven. I should look it out.

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