Sunday, August 22, 2010

Crack in the World (1965)

I have no nails left. This is a common syndrome from watching Crack in the World, Andrew Marton’s classic disaster-flick with Dana Andrews in the performance of his career. It’s silly to criticize new movies, to compare them with old movies (and of course, all the older movies are always better according to the fan boys out there). But now, for once, this is a movie that is in every way better than modern examples like The Day after Tomorrow or 2012. Not that it has the same kinda budget, but it’s a real nail-biter and has character that somehow feels real and that you can relate to.

Here we have Dana Andrews as the aged, sick and very bitter Dr. Stephen Sorenson. He’s married with the young and beautiful Dr. Maggie Sorenson (Janette Scott). She actually loves him, for real. But the tension is very frail because of her former lover, Dr. Ted Rampion (Kieron Moore), who works with them. Stephen is convinced that she don’t want him anymore, and uses this to put Ted in a bad light.

In this case this silly game is more serious, because they together are trying to reach the hot interior of the earth to from there gain energy. It’s just that Ted believes that the way Stephen wants to do it, is dangerous and will create the destruction of the earth! And guess what, he was right…

The budget was probably not that high, but Crack in the World still looks magnificent. The look is big and fancy and with intelligent direction by Andrew Marton. He let the actors faces speak, and never cuts away to fast or let the camera linger to long. He knows he has a great script to work with, and in the centre of it is Dana Andrews with a very complex character. He shows off every emotion, but never too much. It’s subtle, but still manages to affects the audience. All the other actors are wonderful, but Dana steals the show.

Now, the script builds the story quite slow. The movie never had so much money to show all the disasters, and it’s a lot of talking about what’s happening around in the world – but the further the movies goes, the more of Eugène Lourié’s awesome special effects. Lots of explosions, a couple of very nice miniatures and a very tense final where all the disaster clichés comes to use and still it feels fresh and original.

It’s recently been released by Olive Films, so get this DVD – it’s an order!


Samuel Wilson said...

My local library got the DVD. The film had a good idea but the soap-opera elements of the story made it hard to take the characters seriously as objective scientists. I agree, though, that it's a better movie than most modern disaster films.

Ninja Dixon said...

For me the soap is an important ingredient in a typical disaster movie :) I was talking with a friend about the Charlton Heston/Ava Gardner-relationship in Earthquake the other day - which we both love - that's mega-soap :D