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Classic Science Fiction Movie Review--"Unknown World" (1951)

Be Advised: This review may contain **spoilers**

Starring: Victor Kilian as Dr. Morley, Bruce Kellogg as Wright Thompson, Otto Waldis as Dr. Max A. Bauer, Dick Cogan as Dr. George Coleman, Marilyn Nash as Dr. Joan Lindsey

I've read a lot of reviews of the 1951 Science Fiction classic "Unknown World," the majority of which were negative. However, I was pleasantly surprised when I saw it.

And we do have to remember this a low-budget B-movie.

Directed by Terry O. Morse (Godzilla, King of the Monsters!--1956), "Unknown World" is the story of a group of scientists and a rich adventure seeker who, due to a fear of the extinction of humanity because of "The Bomb," set out on a journey down inside the Earth to find a safe haven.

The story immediately reminded me of "The Core" & "Journey To The Center Of The Earth." Even so, this movie can't be compared to those. That would be like comparing a moped to a Harley Davidson motorcycle. They are similar products, but from two different worlds with different purposes. Though the story isn't all that original, I thought it was fairly tight and flowed as it should've. There were a few minor holes, but, being low-budget, they aren't big enough or numerous enough to be outright bad.

The acting...well, lets just say I expected a lot worse. The actors (and actress) weren’t the top echelon of talent but did pretty well. These types of Science Fiction movies are notorious for overacting. If anything, there was more "underacting."

"Unknown World" did have some suspense and the musical score added to it. The right music at the right time actually had me on the edge of my seat a few times. Once I realized it, I thought, "This isn't supposed to happen when you watch a B-movie!"

The special effects were typical. Not great, not bad. What especially impressed me was the scene of the underground "world" they eventually find. It actually looked like an exotic alien planet that could wow even the most hard-to-impress Science Fiction fan (among whom I count myself).

As a low-budget film, "Unknown World" is a movie I would recommend for good, solid entertainment. Possibly in the top 5-10 of Science Fiction B-movies I've seen.

My rating: 4 out of 5 (B-Movie Scale)

1 comment:

Dennis Pope said...

I'm glad somebody agrees with me that this isn't a bad film. I felt the moodiness of this was right on target. I did think some of the male characters were somewhat cold, but, perhaps that heightened the feeling of isolation which was right on target. Marilyn Nash was well suited to the part she played and although somewhat understated, her presence added to my enjoyment of this film. I liked that this was more of a moody drama then the typical action usually found in "center of the Earth" style films. Obviously, the science inaccuracies make it a little like fantasy as opposed to science fiction, but that's just fine with me and gave the story a somewhat otherworldly quality.

Unfortunately the current DVD release is not up to what this film deserves. Actually the VHS is from a much MUCH better print. (It has almost none of the film breaks and a lot less cropping). Good prints exist and I'd like to see a decent copy of this cult film released.

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