At the Earth's Core (1976)

PG | 89 mins | Fantasy | 1 September 1976

Director:

Kevin Connor

Writer:

Milton Subotsky

Producer:

John Dark

Cinematographer:

Alan Hume

Production Designer:

Maurice Carter

Production Company:

Amicus Productions
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HISTORY

A 23 Jun 1975 HR news item stated that principal photography would begin in the summer of 1975 at the Shepperton Studios in England. The news brief also mistakenly described the film as a sequel to The Land That Time Forgot (1975, see entry). While both movies are based on novels by Edgar Rice Burroughs and were made by producer John Dark and director Kevin Connor, as well as star Doug McClure, the two films do not share any characters or story lines.
       The 2 Feb 1976 Box announced that principal photography started 26 Jan 1976 at Pinewood Studios in London, England. Another Box news item on 12 Apr 1976 stated that the nine-week schedule had just been completed.
       As stated in a 23 Aug 1976 Box brief, the film opened on Edgar Rice Burroughs's birthday, 1 Sep, in theaters and drive-ins throughout Southern ... More Less

A 23 Jun 1975 HR news item stated that principal photography would begin in the summer of 1975 at the Shepperton Studios in England. The news brief also mistakenly described the film as a sequel to The Land That Time Forgot (1975, see entry). While both movies are based on novels by Edgar Rice Burroughs and were made by producer John Dark and director Kevin Connor, as well as star Doug McClure, the two films do not share any characters or story lines.
       The 2 Feb 1976 Box announced that principal photography started 26 Jan 1976 at Pinewood Studios in London, England. Another Box news item on 12 Apr 1976 stated that the nine-week schedule had just been completed.
       As stated in a 23 Aug 1976 Box brief, the film opened on Edgar Rice Burroughs's birthday, 1 Sep, in theaters and drive-ins throughout Southern California. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
2 Feb 1976.
---
Box Office
23 Aug 1976.
---
Hollywood Reporter
23 Jun 1975.
---
Hollywood Reporter
17 Jun 1976
p. 2.
Los Angeles Times
1 Sep 1976
p. 10.
Variety
23 Jun 1976
p. 16.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Amicus Productions
A Max J. Rosenberg & Milton Subotsky Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr
1st asst dir
PRODUCERS
Prod
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Process photog
Cam focus
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Asst ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dresser
Const mgr
COSTUMES
Ward supv
MUSIC
Mus comp & played
SOUND
Dubbing mixer
Sd ed
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff supv
MAKEUP
Make-up
Hairdresser
PRODUCTION MISC
Exec in charge of prod for Edgar Rice Burroughs In
Prod admin
Continuity
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel At the Earth's Core by Edgar Rice Burroughs (Chicago, 1922).
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Edgar Rice Burroughs' At the Earth's Core
Release Date:
1 September 1976
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 1 September 1976
Production Date:
26 January--mid Aprilil 1976 at Pinewood Studios, London, England
Copyright Claimant:
Orion Pictures Corporation
Copyright Date:
18 June 1976
Copyright Number:
LP46577
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Color by Technicolor®
Duration(in mins):
89
MPAA Rating:
PG
Countries:
United Kingdom, United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
24513
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Dr. Abner Perry, an elderly Victorian inventor, and his youthful sponsor, David Innes, test their “Iron Mole” digging machine by burrowing under a Welsh hill. When something goes wrong with the angle of descent, the machine starts drilling straight down. Both men fight to change course until they faint from the intense heat of the Earth’s inner mantle. Nearing the Earth’s core, they awaken to find they are drilling through ice instead of molten iron. Abner turns the contraption upward, but they hit an underground lake that causes the Iron Mole to lose power as they bore into a giant cave. There, the men find themselves in a subterranean world full of prehistoric plants and a pink sky. In the cave, a creature with a dinosaur's body and bird's head pursues the men. They escape, only to be taken prisoner by hominids who shackle them to a group of other enslaved humans. Marching through the jungle, David speaks to Dia, a woman dressed in animal skins, and notices Hoojah, another male slave, looking at him. Dia warns that Hoojah is not to be trusted. Later, while resting, Abner explains that the “sky” is actually magma twenty miles above. Dia says their captors are the Sagoths, soldiers of the Mahars, who rule the underground Kingdom of Pellucidar. The Sagoths force the prisoners to their feet, but before they can get up, Hoojah grabs Dia’s wrist. When David defends her, Dia and the rest of the prisoners stare at him with hostility. The prisoners are marched to the city of Phutra, where the entrance is a tunnel protected by a wall of flowing lava that the Sagoths control with a lever. ... +


Dr. Abner Perry, an elderly Victorian inventor, and his youthful sponsor, David Innes, test their “Iron Mole” digging machine by burrowing under a Welsh hill. When something goes wrong with the angle of descent, the machine starts drilling straight down. Both men fight to change course until they faint from the intense heat of the Earth’s inner mantle. Nearing the Earth’s core, they awaken to find they are drilling through ice instead of molten iron. Abner turns the contraption upward, but they hit an underground lake that causes the Iron Mole to lose power as they bore into a giant cave. There, the men find themselves in a subterranean world full of prehistoric plants and a pink sky. In the cave, a creature with a dinosaur's body and bird's head pursues the men. They escape, only to be taken prisoner by hominids who shackle them to a group of other enslaved humans. Marching through the jungle, David speaks to Dia, a woman dressed in animal skins, and notices Hoojah, another male slave, looking at him. Dia warns that Hoojah is not to be trusted. Later, while resting, Abner explains that the “sky” is actually magma twenty miles above. Dia says their captors are the Sagoths, soldiers of the Mahars, who rule the underground Kingdom of Pellucidar. The Sagoths force the prisoners to their feet, but before they can get up, Hoojah grabs Dia’s wrist. When David defends her, Dia and the rest of the prisoners stare at him with hostility. The prisoners are marched to the city of Phutra, where the entrance is a tunnel protected by a wall of flowing lava that the Sagoths control with a lever. When David realizes that Dia is missing, an elderly slave named Ghak says that Hoojah ran off with her, adding that David insulted Dia by not claiming her as his mate after fighting Hoojah. Ghak explains that Dia is a princess who is hiding from Jubal, a man with the strength of many men. The captives are marched into a misty chamber where a dozen Pterodactyl-like Mahars telepathically command the Sagoths to separate the prisoners into groups. While David is sent into a tunnel to chisel stones, Abner becomes a scribe to copy the Mahars’ books. Later, Abner tells David that the Mahars’ power comes from lava; however lava threatens the city, so the slaves are forced to build canals to control the lava’s flow. The next day, David is whipped by a Sagoth, but he kills his tormentor with his hammer and escapes from the city. When David steals a piece of meat from a fire, Ra, another human, attacks him. During their struggle, a man-eating plant grabs Ra. However, David rescues Ra by using Ra’s knife to cut the plant’s tendrils. When David asks why humans do not fight the Mahars, Ra leads him into a tunnel that opens above a huge antechamber. Below, four women are immobilized by the Mahars’ telepathic control. One of the Mahars swoops down and feeds on a woman's flesh. As David and Ra search for Abner, they are quickly recaptured and Ra is chained to a stone pillar. As other prisoners watch, David is forced to fight a dinosaur with a wooden spear and he defeats the beast by stabbing its ear. One of the Mahars attacks David, but Ra breaks free of his chains and uses the shackles to strangle the monster. The prisoners rise up, kill their Sagoth guards and try to escape, only to find a wall of falling lava blocking them. Abner leads David though a small passageway to the Mahars' hatchery, a large, egg-like container that is suspended over a pool of molten lava. Abner explains the Mahars use this machine to control the fire curtain. Outside, David and Abner see Hoojah chasing Dia, who breaks off the pursuit when a fire-breathing toad appears. David attempts to fight the creature off with a rock, but Abner saves them by shooting the beast with a bow and arrow. Dia fears Hoojah will return and kill David, but David relieves her anxiety with a kiss. Soon, Hoojah returns with Jubal, an enormous man carrying a mace. Abner raises his bow, but David defeats Jubal himself with a spear. After Hoojah runs off, Ghak and Ra appear to tell David that Dia is now his woman, but David declines to accept his mate until they successfully conquer the Mahars. Much later, after uniting the warring human tribes of Pellucidar and training them in archery, David explains his battle plan to a war council. David bids Dia farewell and heads off to battle. However, Dia spots and follows Hoojah, who is captured by the Sagoths. Dia warns Abner that Hoojah may tell the Mahars about the impending battle. Since it is too late to call off the attack, Abner leads Dia and Ra further into the tunnels, where they are stopped by Sagoths. Ra escapes and makes his way into the hatchery, but he is severely wounded before he kills the guards. Although barely able to move, Ra turns a capstan that shuts off the lava flow to the fire curtain, then redirects the lava to destroy the hatchery. With the fire curtain down, David’s troops fight their way into the main chamber but find it empty. Meanwhile, Abner and Dia are brought into the feeding chamber where the Mahars use their mind control to freeze them in place. David arrives with his troops, but a wooden gate blocks them. Abner’s archers enter the chamber from above, open fire, and ovecome the Mahars. David breaks through the gate and kills the last of the Mahars with a spear. Meanwhile, the lava causes the tunnels to explode. David leads the human slaves out of the caves, but attempts to turn back when he realizes Ra is not with them. However, Abner stops David just as the caves and the city of Phutra blow up. Later, a victory celebration is held and Abner fixes the Iron Mole. Before leaving, David announces that, according to custom, he is claiming Dia as his wife, but Dia explains she is now queen and must stay with her people. David sadly boards the machine and he and Abner drill to the Earth’s surface. However, instead of coming up in Wales, they break through the lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C. +

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

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