Sunday, May 6, 2012
City Beneath the Sea (1971)
For the big audience Irwin Allen is the genius behind such seventies blockbusters as The Poseidon Adventure and Towering Inferno, two of the best disaster movies ever made. Go a couple of steps down and you'll find the fans of the TV-series he made in the sixties, The Time Tunnel, Lost in Space, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea and Land of the Giants - all among the most expensive and, in their time, spectacular TV-productions. After you have the fans of the mega-failure The Swarm (count me in there!) and those who love all the stuff he made for TV during the seventies, and that's where we are today.
I wish I could say that I saw City Beneath the Sea a lot on TV as a child, but I can't. Because this is the first time I've seen it! I'm not sure how many of Mr Allen's TV-projects went on air in
, if any, but here I am -
putting another piece of my own entertainment-puzzle together. Sweden
Admiral Michael Matthews (Stuart Whitman) is ordered back to take command over underwater city
It's just an ordinary science and recreation-city, but when the news is that a
giant meteorite is hurdling towards earth and will strike exactly at the same
position as the city Matthews needs to organize a rescue mission and evacuate
everyone. What he doesn't know is that one member of his team is planning to
rob Pacifica of
it's gold resources and use the panic to sneak out with a submarine filled with
City Beneath the Sea is a very typical production of Irwin Allen, and it reminded me a lot of what I've seen in this sixties serials. The sets are corny, the dialogues are corny and the effects are more colourful than realistic. You could put Stonehedge in the middle of this movie and it would look like masonite painted grey. The whole productions is SO artifical. Not to mention the huge amount of miniatures. The whole city looks like old radios and vertical vacuum cleaners. But I'm not bashing it, believe me. It starts of quite slow and have a hard time getting the attention of the audience, but when finally the heist subplot sets in the whole movie lifts itself from the "ordinary" to the "actually quite good" in a matter of minutes.
Stuart Whitman has always been a good hero, a rugged manly man-machine with a rough Beatles-haircut, and here he's good - but maybe a bit on the tired side. The best actor is Robert Wagner, sporting a smashing moustaches. He acts like he's in a "real" movie and not a made for TV cheapie by Irwin Allen.
Irwin Allen belongs to the same traditions of filmmakers like Bert I. Gordon and Kevin Connor: they made entertainment. Pure entertainment. Shameless shallow silliness made with heart and passion (well, I'm not sure we'll find any of that in Beyond the Poseidon Adventure and When Time Ran Out...).
City Beneath the Sea is out from Warner Archive, but also from Warner in
. Give it
a shot! If you're a returning reader here you will enjoy it a lot! Spain