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HISTORY

The 1 May 1964 NYT announced that production was scheduled to begin that summer. On 30 Dec 1964, DV revealed that the project had been delayed for several months, preventing director Richard Fleischer's participation in Battle of the Bulge (1965, see entry). Principal photography began 25 Jan 1965, as stated in 5 Feb 1965 DV production charts. In the 1 Feb 1965 issue, Fleischer admitted that the outlandish designs for sets and gadgetry required several months to realize, and some were still being developed at the time of the article. Post-production effects and animation were expected to last another six months after filming was completed, requiring $200,000 of the film's $6.5 million budget. Location shooting was currently underway at the Los Angeles Sports Arena, which contained a series of tunnels similar to the catacombs underneath the Pentagon in Washington, DC. Filming had to be completed and equipment stored away before 5:00 pm every evening, so as not to interfere with sporting events.
       The picture marked the first major screen role for actress Raquel Welch, who told the 12 Sep 1965 LAT that she was recommended by the wife of producer Saul David. After screen testing for Our Man Flint (1966, see entry), Welch was placed under contract to Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation, and won the role of Cora Peterson by demonstrating her ability to "run down a long flight of stairs gracefully without looking at her feet."
       Casting notices included Edward Binns (19 Jan 1965 DV); Bob Goshen (21 Jan 1965 LAT); Breland Rice, ... More Less

The 1 May 1964 NYT announced that production was scheduled to begin that summer. On 30 Dec 1964, DV revealed that the project had been delayed for several months, preventing director Richard Fleischer's participation in Battle of the Bulge (1965, see entry). Principal photography began 25 Jan 1965, as stated in 5 Feb 1965 DV production charts. In the 1 Feb 1965 issue, Fleischer admitted that the outlandish designs for sets and gadgetry required several months to realize, and some were still being developed at the time of the article. Post-production effects and animation were expected to last another six months after filming was completed, requiring $200,000 of the film's $6.5 million budget. Location shooting was currently underway at the Los Angeles Sports Arena, which contained a series of tunnels similar to the catacombs underneath the Pentagon in Washington, DC. Filming had to be completed and equipment stored away before 5:00 pm every evening, so as not to interfere with sporting events.
       The picture marked the first major screen role for actress Raquel Welch, who told the 12 Sep 1965 LAT that she was recommended by the wife of producer Saul David. After screen testing for Our Man Flint (1966, see entry), Welch was placed under contract to Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation, and won the role of Cora Peterson by demonstrating her ability to "run down a long flight of stairs gracefully without looking at her feet."
       Casting notices included Edward Binns (19 Jan 1965 DV); Bob Goshen (21 Jan 1965 LAT); Breland Rice, Brendon Boone, Kitty Kelly, Marie Janisse, Anne Merman, Ellen Leddy, Judy Stoner, Saul Gorss , Carol Kepple, Edith Nichols, and Regan Burke (2 Feb 1965 DV); Harry Carter (5 Feb 1965 DV); Joel Fluellen (2 Mar 1965 DV); Simon Scott (10 Apr 1965 LAT); and Laurence Haddon (19 Apr 1965 LAT). The 28 Dec 1964 DV announced Jack Roe as second assistant director, and the 13 Aug 1965 edition identified Martin Fink as unit publicist.
       According to the 11 Feb 1965 DV, Twentieth Century-Fox was reserving at least four stages to contain the elaborate sets until the projected 26 Apr 1965 close of principal photography. Because one sequence required four special effects printed on the same strip of film, the sets were to remain intact until the process could be completed, in case retakes were necessary. The 26 Mar 1965 DV noted that one of the sets would be adapted for use in Our Man Flint. The 5 Apr 1965 edition reported that filming of the inner-capillary sequence was underway on Stage 5. Cast members dressed in skin-tight diving suits were suspended by wires to create the illusion of swimming through the bloodstream. Raquel Welch was nearly rendered unconscious when the harness "exerted unexpected pressure," while a similar experience left Stephen Boyd "severely bruised."
       In the 14 Mar 1965 LAT, Richard Fleischer described the submarine used in the picture as forty-one and one half feet in length, twenty-three feet wide, fifteen feet high, and weighing 8,000 pounds. Four smaller versions were also built, ranging in size from one and one half inches to five feet in length. Devices conceived for the production included a "micro tracker," intended to follow the submarine's progress, and Fleischer's suggestion, "thermal blankets," which supposedly lowered the body temperature and slowed blood flow. Fleischer also mentioned that the film's advertising campaign would be designed by surrealist painter Salvador Dali. Screenwriter Harry Kleiner appended the 142-page script with "an indexed book of physical research," which was copied and distributed to all departments of the production.
       According to the 25 Sep 1966 LAT, Dr. B. V. Dryer, "an eminent heart specialist from the University of Pittsburgh," was profoundly impressed with the giant reproductions of internal human organs used on screen. Expenditures on sets and special effects were estimated at more than $3 million, causing Twentieth Century-Fox to forego efforts at cost-containment halfway through production. Using medical illustrations provided by the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), the studio's art department sketched the individual sets, from which the various departments collaborated on creating "something photographable." One of their achievements was a simulated bloodstream, composed of thirty-six pressure jets attached to a water tank, which contained a mixture of mineral oil, petroleum jelly, and vegetable dye. A different mixture, comprised in part of "carbopol and oil, colored with a blend of dyes," was developed to simulate an oncoming barrage of white corpuscles.
       On 13 May 1965, DV stated that another month of shooting was expected, which prevented actor William Redfield from accepting a role in The Chase (1966, see entry). More than two weeks later, the 28 May 1965 DV anticipated five months of special effects work following a total seventeen weeks of principal photography. Expenditures to date were estimated at $5 million. The 16 Jun 1965 issue announced the completion of filming. As of 19 Aug 1965, DV stated that another six months would be needed to ready the film for release.
       Sets and props from the production were displayed at the Lytton Center of the Visual Arts in Los Angeles, CA, from 1 Feb to 15 Apr 1966, as reported in the 27 Jan and 25 Feb 1966 issues of DV. Titled "Fantastic Voyage-From Image to Imagination", the exhibit also included footage and still photographs from the picture, along with "works of modern abstract artists to demonstrate the merging of art and science in the modern world." Props included "the heart valve, brain, lymph nodes and pleural cavity." An adaptation of the screenplay was published as a two part series in the 26 Feb 1966 and 12 Mar 1966 editions of the Saturday Evening Post. The 9 Feb 1966 DV claimed it was the "longest fiction piece" to ever appear in the magazine.
       An article in the 9 Mar 1966 DV reported that the National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) were requesting the best releases from major studios for their "National Movie Week" the following Sep. Twentieth Century-Fox could not guarantee that The Fantastic Voyage would be ready in time.
       The 26 Jul 1966 DV announced the 16 Aug 1966 premiere at Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, CA. The film was originally scheduled to open fifteen days later, until theater management determined that their current feature, What Did You Do in the War, Daddy? (1966, see entry) was not drawing sufficient crowds. The premiere screening was by invitation only, as stated in the 1 Aug 1966 LAT. The New York City opening followed on 7 Sep 1966 at the Loew's State and Festival theaters. Reviews were generally positive, as was public response, earning the film $65,000 during its opening week in Los Angeles.
       Fantastic Voyage garnered Academy Award nominations for Cinematography, Color (Ernest Laszlo); Film Editing (William B. Murphy); Sound Effects (Walter Rossi); Special Visual Effects (Art Cruickshank); and Art Direction-Set Decoration, Color (Jack Martin Smith, Dale Hennesy, Walter M. Scott, and Stuart A. Reiss). It won in the latter two categories. The film also won awards from the American Cinema Editors USA, and Motion Picture Sound Editors USA, along with nominations for Hugo and Laurel Awards. The Harvard Lampoon took an opposing view, declaring it one of the ten worst pictures of the year. On 3 Jan 1967, DV noted that the film earned $514,214 during its Los Angeles run, making it the city's sixth highest-earning release of 1966.
       A novelization of the screenplay, written by Isaac Asimov and published by the Houghton-Mifflin Company, was reviewed in the 27 Mar 1966 NYT.
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GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
28 Dec 1964
p. 11.
Daily Variety
30 Dec 1964
p. 2.
Daily Variety
19 Jan 1965
p. 3.
Daily Variety
21 Jan 1965
p. 15.
Daily Variety
1 Feb 1965
p. 2.
Daily Variety
2 Feb 1965
p. 6.
Daily Variety
5 Feb 1965
p. 2, 10.
Daily Variety
10 Feb 1965
p. 2.
Daily Variety
11 Feb 1965
p. 6.
Daily Variety
2 Mar 1965
p. 2.
Daily Variety
26 Mar 1965
p. 2.
Daily Variety
5 Apr 1965
p. 2.
Daily Variety
13 May 1965
p. 2.
Daily Variety
28 May 1965
p. 2.
Daily Variety
16 Jun 1965
p. 2.
Daily Variety
13 Aug 1965
p. 2.
Daily Variety
19 Aug 1965
p. 1.
Daily Variety
27 Jan 1966
p. 27.
Daily Variety
9 Feb 1966
p. 17.
Daily Variety
25 Feb 1966
p. 20.
Daily Variety
9 Mar 1966
p. 3.
Daily Variety
25 Jul 1966
p. 3.
Daily Variety
26 Jul 1966
p. 3.
Daily Variety
23 Aug 1966
p. 3.
Daily Variety
3 Jan 1967
p. 9.
Los Angeles Times
21 Jan 1965
Section C, p. 9.
Los Angeles Times
10 Apr 1965
p. 19.
Los Angeles Times
14 Mar 1965
Section B, p. 10.
Los Angeles Times
19 Apr 1965
Section C, p. 18.
Los Angeles Times
12 Sep 1965
Section N, p. 7.
Los Angeles Times
31 Jul 1966
Section B, p. 3.
Los Angeles Times
1 Aug 1966
Section C, p. 23.
Los Angeles Times
25 Sep 1966
Section W, p. 58, 60.
Los Angeles Times
26 May 1967
Section E, p. 12.
New York Times
1 May 1964
p. 43.
New York Times
21 Mar 1966
p. 30.
New York Times
27 Mar 1966
p. 317.
New York Times
6 Sep 1966
p. 77.
New York Times
8 Sep 1966
p. 43.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
Prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
COSTUMES
Men's cost
Men's cost
Women's ward
MUSIC
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog eff
Spec photog eff
Spec photog eff
MAKEUP
Makeup
Hairstyles
PRODUCTION MISC
Unit prod mgr
Tech adv
Tech adv for flying seq
Creative prod res
Casting
Casting
Casting
Main titles
DETAILS
Release Date:
1966
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles premiere: 16 August 1966
Los Angeles opening: 17 August 1966
New York opening: 7 September 1966
Production Date:
25 January--mid June 1965
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century--Fox Film Corp.
Copyright Date:
17 August 1966
Copyright Number:
LP33483
Physical Properties:
Sound
Westrex
Color
De Luxe
Widescreen/ratio
CinemaScope
Duration(in mins):
100
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In 1995 Czech scientist Jan Benes escapes from behind the Iron Curtain and is brought to the United States for interrogation. U. S. scientists are able to reduce objects, including people, to the size of bacteria, but the miniaturization can be sustained for only 60 minutes. The Czech scientist has learned the secret of prolonging the miniaturization; but before he reveals this knowledge, he sustains a severe brain injury which can be treated only from within his body. A plan is conceived whereby a crew of five will be placed in an atomic-powered submarine, miniaturized, injected into the scientist's bloodstream, and set on a course through the arteries to the brain. In addition to American secret agent Grant, the crew consists of Dr. Duval, the surgeon who will perform the operation; Cora Peterson, his assistant; Dr. Michaels, a circulatory expert; and Captain Owens, the sub's pilot. To save some of the 60 minutes, the group decides to stop the scientist's heart to allow the submarine to pass through the heart. Then Grant and the crew leave the sub, and by means of a snorkel tube attached to the patient's lungs, replenish their oxygen supply. As they near their destination, a nurse in the operating room drops a pair of surgical scissors, and the sound causes tremendous vibrations in the sub that hurl the crew from their positions. With only 6 minutes left, Dr. Michaels reveals himself to be an enemy agent intent on sabotaging the mission. The remaining crew members escape as white corpuscles envelop and digest both the submarine and Michaels. The operation is successfully performed by removing a blood clot with a laser beam, and the four ... +


In 1995 Czech scientist Jan Benes escapes from behind the Iron Curtain and is brought to the United States for interrogation. U. S. scientists are able to reduce objects, including people, to the size of bacteria, but the miniaturization can be sustained for only 60 minutes. The Czech scientist has learned the secret of prolonging the miniaturization; but before he reveals this knowledge, he sustains a severe brain injury which can be treated only from within his body. A plan is conceived whereby a crew of five will be placed in an atomic-powered submarine, miniaturized, injected into the scientist's bloodstream, and set on a course through the arteries to the brain. In addition to American secret agent Grant, the crew consists of Dr. Duval, the surgeon who will perform the operation; Cora Peterson, his assistant; Dr. Michaels, a circulatory expert; and Captain Owens, the sub's pilot. To save some of the 60 minutes, the group decides to stop the scientist's heart to allow the submarine to pass through the heart. Then Grant and the crew leave the sub, and by means of a snorkel tube attached to the patient's lungs, replenish their oxygen supply. As they near their destination, a nurse in the operating room drops a pair of surgical scissors, and the sound causes tremendous vibrations in the sub that hurl the crew from their positions. With only 6 minutes left, Dr. Michaels reveals himself to be an enemy agent intent on sabotaging the mission. The remaining crew members escape as white corpuscles envelop and digest both the submarine and Michaels. The operation is successfully performed by removing a blood clot with a laser beam, and the four survivors leave the scientist's body by swimming along the optic nerve and emerging through a tear duct. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.