Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (1961)

105 mins | Science fiction | 12 July 1961

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HISTORY

An article in the 15 Sep 1960 DV announced that Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp. recently added Irwin Allen’s Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea to its production slate. The 5 Oct 1960 DV noted that Allen’s most recent film, The Lost World (1960, see entry), had grossed an impressive $10 million worldwide, to that time.
       Principal photography was initially scheduled to begin on 16 Jan 1961, but was slightly delayed until 25 Jan 1961, as noted in a 27 Jan 1961 DV production chart. It was preceded by special effects shooting. The 7 Dec 1960 DV stated that one large-scale fire sequence, estimated to cost $37,000, began filming the previous day at Twentieth Century-Fox’s Sersen Lake, which was drained for the occasion. The majority of the picture, set in the near future of 1965 according to the 24 Feb 1961 DV, took place inside a submarine. Technical advisor Fred Zendar, who had built his own two-man submarine, advised Allen on the use and design of such vessels, as noted in the 20 Dec 1960 DV, and a 24 Feb 1961 NYT article added that researcher Elizabeth Emanuel further consulted with the U.S. Navy and scientists at Southern CA universities. According to NYT, art director Herman A. Blumenthal relied heavily on a “picture layout of American nuclear submarines in The Illustrated London News,” but did not consult the Navy directly because he did not want to share the script. When Allen deemed Blumenthal’s submarine design lacking, he added fins to the bow to give the vessel “a ... More Less

An article in the 15 Sep 1960 DV announced that Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp. recently added Irwin Allen’s Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea to its production slate. The 5 Oct 1960 DV noted that Allen’s most recent film, The Lost World (1960, see entry), had grossed an impressive $10 million worldwide, to that time.
       Principal photography was initially scheduled to begin on 16 Jan 1961, but was slightly delayed until 25 Jan 1961, as noted in a 27 Jan 1961 DV production chart. It was preceded by special effects shooting. The 7 Dec 1960 DV stated that one large-scale fire sequence, estimated to cost $37,000, began filming the previous day at Twentieth Century-Fox’s Sersen Lake, which was drained for the occasion. The majority of the picture, set in the near future of 1965 according to the 24 Feb 1961 DV, took place inside a submarine. Technical advisor Fred Zendar, who had built his own two-man submarine, advised Allen on the use and design of such vessels, as noted in the 20 Dec 1960 DV, and a 24 Feb 1961 NYT article added that researcher Elizabeth Emanuel further consulted with the U.S. Navy and scientists at Southern CA universities. According to NYT, art director Herman A. Blumenthal relied heavily on a “picture layout of American nuclear submarines in The Illustrated London News,” but did not consult the Navy directly because he did not want to share the script. When Allen deemed Blumenthal’s submarine design lacking, he added fins to the bow to give the vessel “a rakish appearance and more showmanship.”
       On 7 Apr 1961, Allen and special effects man L. B. Abbott completed the longest and costliest special effects schedule in Fox history, according to the 10 Apr 1961 DV. “Undersea and outer space sequences” shot over thirty-six days cost an estimated $860,000.
       Items in the 3 Feb, 8 Feb, 10 Feb 1961 DV listed Robert Buckingham, William Herrin, Jody Desmond, and Art Baker as cast members.
       A novelization was set to be released by Pyramid Books, according to the 23 Dec 1960 DV, which indicated that an initial printing of one million copies had been ordered.
       General release in 600 theaters was scheduled to take place on 12 Jul 1961, as stated in the 10 Apr 1961 DV. The picture proved to be a commercial success. On 11 Aug 1961, DV announced that the film had grossed over $1 million and was expected to outpace The Lost World.
       Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea marked the first time Michael Ansara appeared in a feature film with his then wife, Barbara Eden, according to a 16 Jan 1961 DV. The 2 Feb 1961 DV noted that Eden choreographed her own dance number in the picture. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
15 Sep 1960
p. 4.
Daily Variety
5 Oct 1960
p. 1, 9.
Daily Variety
7 Dec 1960
p. 2.
Daily Variety
20 Dec 1960
p. 4.
Daily Variety
23 Dec 1960
p. 4.
Daily Variety
16 Jan 1961
p. 1.
Daily Variety
27 Jan 1961
p. 10.
Daily Variety
2 Feb 1961
p. 6.
Daily Variety
3 Feb 1961
p. 26.
Daily Variety
8 Feb 1961
P. 19.
Daily Variety
10 Feb 1961
p. 4.
Daily Variety
24 Feb 1961
p. 2.
Daily Variety
10 Apr 1961
p. 3.
Daily Variety
25 May 1961
p. 4.
Daily Variety
23 Jun 1961
p. 3.
Daily Variety
11 Aug 1961
p. 1.
Daily Variety
17 Jan 1962
p. 3.
Los Angeles Times
28 Jul 1961
Section A, p. 9.
New York Times
24 Feb 1961
p. 22.
New York Times
8 Jul 1961
p. 9.
New York Times
20 Jul 1961
p. 32.
Variety
7 Jun 1961
p. 7.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
An Irwin Allen Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
Story
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Underwater photog
ART DIRECTORS
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Orch
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog eff
MAKEUP
Makeup
Hairstyles
PRODUCTION MISC
Asst to the prod
Tech adv
SOURCES
SONGS
"Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea," music and lyrics by Russell Faith.
COMPOSER
DETAILS
Release Date:
12 July 1961
Premiere Information:
Washington, D. C., opening: 12 July 1961
New York opening: 19 July 1961
Los Angeles opening: 26 July 1961
Production Date:
began 25 January 1961
Copyright Claimant:
Windsor Productions
Copyright Date:
12 July 1961
Copyright Number:
LP20072
Physical Properties:
Sound
Westrex
Color
De Luxe
Widescreen/ratio
CinemaScope
Duration(in mins):
105
Country:
United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

As the U. S. O. S. Seaview, a mammoth glass-nosed atomic submarine designed by scientist Harriman Nelson, makes its trial run near the polar icecap, the Van Allen radiation belt suddenly bursts into flame and threatens to destroy the Earth. Nelson is convinced that the only hope for survival is to shoot a Polaris missile into the belt and thereby cause it to explode backward into space. When the United Nations rejects his proposal as being too dangerous, Nelson commandeers the Seaview and heads for the Marianas, where he plans to launch the missile. Also aboard the submarine are Susan Hiller, a psychiatrist studying the effects of prolonged confinement on human behavior; Cathy Connors, Nelson's devoted secretary; Lucius Emery, a noted physicist who concurs with Nelson's theory; Capt. Lee Crane, the Seaview's skipper; Miguel Alvarez, a civilian scientist; and Chip Romano, a brash young officer. Once the vessel is underway, several of the personnel begin to question Nelson's sanity; and there are repeated attempts at sabotage. After a run-in with a giant squid and a passage through a World War II minefield, the Seaview is attacked by U. N. submarines sent to prevent the launching of the missile. But Nelson, knowing that the Seaview can withstand depths far greater than any other undersea vessel, takes his craft down deeper and deeper until the tremendous pressure causes the pursuing submarines ... +


As the U. S. O. S. Seaview, a mammoth glass-nosed atomic submarine designed by scientist Harriman Nelson, makes its trial run near the polar icecap, the Van Allen radiation belt suddenly bursts into flame and threatens to destroy the Earth. Nelson is convinced that the only hope for survival is to shoot a Polaris missile into the belt and thereby cause it to explode backward into space. When the United Nations rejects his proposal as being too dangerous, Nelson commandeers the Seaview and heads for the Marianas, where he plans to launch the missile. Also aboard the submarine are Susan Hiller, a psychiatrist studying the effects of prolonged confinement on human behavior; Cathy Connors, Nelson's devoted secretary; Lucius Emery, a noted physicist who concurs with Nelson's theory; Capt. Lee Crane, the Seaview's skipper; Miguel Alvarez, a civilian scientist; and Chip Romano, a brash young officer. Once the vessel is underway, several of the personnel begin to question Nelson's sanity; and there are repeated attempts at sabotage. After a run-in with a giant squid and a passage through a World War II minefield, the Seaview is attacked by U. N. submarines sent to prevent the launching of the missile. But Nelson, knowing that the Seaview can withstand depths far greater than any other undersea vessel, takes his craft down deeper and deeper until the tremendous pressure causes the pursuing submarines to explode. When the Seaview reaches its destination, Susan is revealed to be the saboteur. Convinced Nelson's actions will destroy the world, she makes a last effort to prevent the launching, but she is accidentally killed. Crane then sets the detonator, and the Polaris is sent into space. The wild experiment proves successful as a shattering explosion restores the burning sky to a tropical stillness. +

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

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