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The film's title card reads "Jules Verne's Journey to the Center of the Earth ." The film closes with the following written acknowledgment: "Carlsbad Caverns National Park served as the background for portions of the motion picture. Twentieth Century-Fox expresses its appreciation for the cooperation extended by the National Park Service of the U.S. Department of the Interior." According to studio publicity contained in the film's production files at the AMPAS Library, filming was allowed only at night because of daily public tours scheduled in the caverns. Location filming was also done in Edinburgh, Scotland; Amboy Crater, CA and Sequit Point, CA.
       A number of studios and producers considered filming Verne's novel prior to Twentieth Century-Fox's production. According to Dec 1955 and Feb 1956 LAT news items, producer Eugene Lourie planned to film a version in Italy with Gerard Philipe and Michele Morgan as the stars. According to Sep 1956 items in HCN and DV , producer Bryan Foy bought the rights to the novel for release through Columbia, but Columbia withdrew its plans upon learning that RKO had begun extensive pre-production work on the same subject.
       In Oct 1958, a LAEx news item stated that Charles Brackett, in association with Twentieth Century-Fox, had bought the rights to the novel from the Korda estate and wanted Clifton Webb to play the role of "Oliver Lindenbrook." Although an Apr 1959 HR news item added that Lincoln Barnett was to write the screenplay for Brackett, Barnett's contribution to the released film has not been determined. According to a Mar 1959 HR news item, Cooga Mooga Film ... More Less

The film's title card reads "Jules Verne's Journey to the Center of the Earth ." The film closes with the following written acknowledgment: "Carlsbad Caverns National Park served as the background for portions of the motion picture. Twentieth Century-Fox expresses its appreciation for the cooperation extended by the National Park Service of the U.S. Department of the Interior." According to studio publicity contained in the film's production files at the AMPAS Library, filming was allowed only at night because of daily public tours scheduled in the caverns. Location filming was also done in Edinburgh, Scotland; Amboy Crater, CA and Sequit Point, CA.
       A number of studios and producers considered filming Verne's novel prior to Twentieth Century-Fox's production. According to Dec 1955 and Feb 1956 LAT news items, producer Eugene Lourie planned to film a version in Italy with Gerard Philipe and Michele Morgan as the stars. According to Sep 1956 items in HCN and DV , producer Bryan Foy bought the rights to the novel for release through Columbia, but Columbia withdrew its plans upon learning that RKO had begun extensive pre-production work on the same subject.
       In Oct 1958, a LAEx news item stated that Charles Brackett, in association with Twentieth Century-Fox, had bought the rights to the novel from the Korda estate and wanted Clifton Webb to play the role of "Oliver Lindenbrook." Although an Apr 1959 HR news item added that Lincoln Barnett was to write the screenplay for Brackett, Barnett's contribution to the released film has not been determined. According to a Mar 1959 HR news item, Cooga Mooga Film Productions was Pat Boone's production company. Under Boone'e deal with Twentieth Century-Fox, Boone was to produce and star in the film for a share in the profits, as well as a salary. Journey to tne Center of the Earth marked Boone's first production. In Verne's novel, the character of Lindenbrook was German. The characters "Carla" and "Saknussemm" were added for the film.
       Journey to the Center of the Earth was nominated for the following Academy Awards: Best Art Direction, Best Set Decoration, Best Sound and Best Special Effects. Modern sources add that Anna Jane Sitton worked as Arlene Dahl's stand-in and that Alexander Scourby was orginally cast as Saknussemm. According to modern sources, Pat Boone wrote and recorded a theme song that was never used in the film.
       Verne's novel has been filmed several other times. In 1976, Almena Films, a Spanish company, released Viaje al centro de la Tierra , starring Kenneth More and directed by Juan Piquer Simón, and in 1989, the Canon Group/Golan-Globus released a version directed by Rusty Lemorande and starring Erno Philips. From 1967-69, ABC television broadcast an animated series loosely based on Verne's novel. Several new feature film versions of Verne's novel were announced in the early 2000s, but the only projects that have been completed as of summer 2008 were the 2008 movie of the same name broadcast over the USA cable television network, starring Rick Schroder, Victoria Pratt and Peter Fonda, and the 2008 3-D theatrical release of the same title, directed by Eric Brevig and starring Brendan Frasier. Unlike the other adaptations of Verne's novel, the 2008 theatrically released film had a modern setting in an updated story. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
14 Dec 1959.
---
Daily Variety
14 Sep 1956.
---
Daily Variety
7 Oct 1958.
---
Daily Variety
8 Dec 59
p. 3.
Film Daily
8 Dec 59
p. 8.
Hollywood Citizen-News
12 Sep 1956.
---
Hollywood Reporter
30 Mar 1959.
---
Hollywood Reporter
10 Apr 1959.
---
Hollywood Reporter
19 Jun 59
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Sep 59
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Dec 59
p. 3.
Los Angeles Examiner
7 Oct 1958.
---
Los Angeles Times
15 Dec 1955.
---
Los Angeles Times
8 Feb 1956.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
12 Dec 59
p. 516.
New York Times
17 Dec 59
p. 51.
Variety
9 Dec 59
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Photog, Carlsbad Caverns seq
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
COSTUMES
Cost des
MUSIC
Songs cond
Assoc
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog eff
Spec photog eff
Spec photog eff
MAKEUP
Makeup
Hair styles
PRODUCTION MISC
Asst to the prod
Tech adv
Tech adv
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col consultant
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Voyage au centre de la Terre by Jules Verne (Paris, 1864).
AUTHOR
SONGS
"My Love Is Like a Red, Red Rose," words by Robert Burns, set to music by James Van Heusen
"Twice as Tall," "Come Spring" and "The Faithful Heart," words and music by Sammy Cahn and James Van Heusen
"My Heart's in the Highlands," traditional.
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Jules Verne's Journey to the Center of the Earth
Release Date:
December 1959
Premiere Information:
New York opening: week of 17 December 1959
Production Date:
late June--mid September 1959
Copyright Claimant:
Joseph M. Schenck Enterprises, Inc. and Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Copyright Date:
4 December 1959
Copyright Number:
LP15096
Physical Properties:
Sound
Westrex Recording System
Color
De Luxe
Widescreen/ratio
CinemaScope
Lenses/Prints
lenses by Bausch & Lomb
Duration(in mins):
132
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
19429
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1880, Professor Oliver Lindenbrook is knighted to the acclaim of his colleagues and students. When his prize pupil, Alec McEwen, presents him with a lava paperweight to commemorate the occasion, Oliver discovers that encased within the Italian lava is a rock from Iceland, halfway across the world from the volcano. After Oliver identifies some etchings on the rock as those of Saknussemm, an Icelandic scientist who years earlier descended into the interior of the earth, never to return, he sends a dispatch to his colleague, Prof. Goetaborg in Stockholm, asking him to confirm his findings. Upon learning that Goetaborg has vanished, Oliver realizes that the Swede has decided to conduct his own expedition. Now in a race to reach the center of the earth, Oliver and Alec leave immediately for Iceland and Alec bids farewell to his fiancée Jenny, Oliver's niece. Aware that they must begin their descent on the last day of May when the sunrise will pinpoint the opening into the Earth, Oliver hurries to assemble the equipment needed for his journey, but soon learns that it has all been purchased by Goetaborg. When he goes to confront Goetaborg about the situation, Oliver discovers the Swede lying lifeless in his hotel room, poisoned. Soon after, Goetaborg's wife Carla arrives to join her husband. Oliver breaks the news of her husband's death, but when he requests the use of the equipment, Carla agrees on the condition that she be allowed to join the expedition. With no other choice, Oliver reluctantly accepts, and the three are then joined by a husky Icelandic jack-of-all trades named Hans Belker and his ... +


In Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1880, Professor Oliver Lindenbrook is knighted to the acclaim of his colleagues and students. When his prize pupil, Alec McEwen, presents him with a lava paperweight to commemorate the occasion, Oliver discovers that encased within the Italian lava is a rock from Iceland, halfway across the world from the volcano. After Oliver identifies some etchings on the rock as those of Saknussemm, an Icelandic scientist who years earlier descended into the interior of the earth, never to return, he sends a dispatch to his colleague, Prof. Goetaborg in Stockholm, asking him to confirm his findings. Upon learning that Goetaborg has vanished, Oliver realizes that the Swede has decided to conduct his own expedition. Now in a race to reach the center of the earth, Oliver and Alec leave immediately for Iceland and Alec bids farewell to his fiancée Jenny, Oliver's niece. Aware that they must begin their descent on the last day of May when the sunrise will pinpoint the opening into the Earth, Oliver hurries to assemble the equipment needed for his journey, but soon learns that it has all been purchased by Goetaborg. When he goes to confront Goetaborg about the situation, Oliver discovers the Swede lying lifeless in his hotel room, poisoned. Soon after, Goetaborg's wife Carla arrives to join her husband. Oliver breaks the news of her husband's death, but when he requests the use of the equipment, Carla agrees on the condition that she be allowed to join the expedition. With no other choice, Oliver reluctantly accepts, and the three are then joined by a husky Icelandic jack-of-all trades named Hans Belker and his pet duck Gertrude. As they slip inside the Earth on the last day of May, they are secretly followed by Count Saknussemm, a descendent of the original explorer. Their first trial occurs when a boulder, dislodged by an earthquake, tumbles threateningly toward them. After a narrow escape, they discern a series of notches left by Saknussemm, marking the path to the center of the Earth. Unknown to them, the count has sabotaged his ancestor's markings, sending Alec over the side of a precipice. After Hans rescues Alec, Carla uncovers the real markings, and they realize they have been tricked. Becoming separated from the rest when he follows a tunnel, Alec sinks through a bed of salt into a chamber, where he comes face to face with the count. When Alex refuses to carry the count's equipment, the count shoots at him, and the sound of gunfire alerts the others to their whereabouts. Following the echoing gunshots, the three soon find the wounded Alec and the count, who threatens them all at gunpoint. After Oliver tricks the count by throwing salt in his eyes, they accuse him of murdering Goetaborg and find him guilty in a mock trial. Although he is sentenced to die, the three find themselves unable to carry out the sentence. The Count then begrudgingly joins the expedition, and as their lamps begin to fail, he discovers a luminescent algae that renders artificial light unnecessary. Two hundred fifty six days later, Carla and Oliver are still bickering about the journey. When Alec discovers a massive mushroom forest, Carla prepares the mushrooms for dinner while the count orders Hans to chop the plants down to build a raft that will carry them across the ocean of the underworld. Just as they are about to set sail, an army of giant flesh-eating lizards appear, but they escape by fleeing into the water. Once at sea, they are encompassed by a magnetic force field which Oliver realizes is the center of the Earth, whose intense centrifugal force throws them onto shore, exhausted. As they sleep, Gertrude waddles off, and when Hans awakens, all he finds is a pile of bloody feathers. Realizing that the count has eaten Gertrude for dinner, Hans lunges at him, and when the count retreats, he is crushed by a falling pillar of rocks. The collapse reveals the sunken city of Atlantis, where they find the skeleton of Saknussemm, his finger pointing to a shaft that leads to the chimney of a volcano in Stromboli, Italy, the way out of the underground. Oliver sends Hans to inspect the shaft, and when Hans reports that it is obstructed by a giant block of stone, Oliver decides to dislodge the obstruction by using a cache of gunpowder found in Saknussemm's knapsack. The group takes refuge from the explosion in a giant asbestos chalice, but when the gunpowder fails to ignite, Oliver jumps down to relight it and is attacked by a giant scorpion. Escaping with Alec's help, Oliver climbs back into the chalice just as the gunpowder detonates, killing the serpent and destroying Atlantis. The chalice and its inhabitants are swept up though the tunnel and spewed out into the sea, where all but Alec, who lands in a tree, are rescued by Italian fishermen. The party then returns triumphant to Edinburgh, where Jenny and Alec are married. When Oliver asks Carla to stay and collaborate with him on his memoirs, she reacts with indignation at being relegated to the role of his secretary until he proposes and embraces her. +

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

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