Journey to the Center of the Earth (1959)

Genres - Adventure, Fantasy  |   Sub-Genres - Costume Adventure, Fantasy Adventure, Prehistoric Fantasy  |   Run Time - 132 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Richard Gilliam

Journey to the Center of the Earth is a grand adventure story with charismatic performances, imaginative production design, and a superb Bernard Herrmann score that enhances the film's sense of wonder. The high point in veteran director Henry Levin's career, Journey wisely veers away from the procedural nature of the Jules Verne source novel, adding a central conflict and more diverse character development. The film is held together by James Mason's rousing performance, compensating for the stiffer efforts of Arlene Dahl and Pat Boone. Of particular note are the set designs and special effects, which create a convincing underground world into which the film's heroes venture. Carl Faulkner's sound engineering is also a substantial asset, outpacing many of the visual effects in realism.