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Unknown World

1951

Dr. Morley (dubbed the Prophet of Doom by at least one newspaper reporter) is an obsessive opponent of all things nuclear. Fearing that atomic weapons will destroy all life on earth, he recruits a group of scientists for his Society to Save Civilization, and they make plans to find a living space deep within the earth where man can survive and rebuild from the nuclear holocaust they see just over the horizon. After the group fails to secure any funding, a rich newspaper publisher's son forks over the cash and accompanies them on their monumental journey. They design a cyclotram, basically a great big ugly metal boxcar with a humongous drill for a nose, ascend to the top of an extinct volcano, go down into the crater and start drilling through rock as they make their way downward. Every so often, they stop for a minute to fight or to provide an opportunity for one of them to die.


Unknown World is a 1951 in film independent film, science fiction, adventure film, directed by Terry O. Morse and starring Bruce Kellogg, Marilyn Nash, Jim Bannon and Otto Waldis. Although it may have been inspired by Jules Verne's novel Journey to the Center of the Earth (1864), the film was not based on the novel, nor "At the Earth's Core (novel)" by Edgar Rice Burroughs, which it just as much resembles.
The film was also known as Night Without Stars and To the Center of the Earth.

Plot

Dr. Jeremiah Morley (Victor Kilian) is concerned about an imminent nuclear war. He organizes an expedition of scientists and has them use an atomic-powered machine, capable of drilling through earth and stone, known as the Cyclotram, to find an underground environment where people could escape from nuclear obliteration. The expedition, consisting of Jim Bannon, Marilyn Nash, Otto Waldis, Tom Handley and Dick Cogan (actor) begins, after government funding has fallen through and they are bailed out at the last minute with private financing from a newspaper heir Bruce Kellogg, who insists on going with them as a lark. Romantic rivalry develops between Bannon and Kellogg for Nash, and two lives are lost to perils of the expedition, but in the end, the scientists accomplish their goal and find an enormous expanse with plentiful air, its own ocean and phosphorus light. However, the lab rabbits they have brought with them give birth to dead rabbits. Nash discovers through an autopsy that the underground world has rendered the rabbits, and hence any other life form sterile. Dr Morley is depressed by the news and when an underground volcano erupts he doesn't enter the cyclotram and perishes. The survivors enter the underground sea and find themselves rising up to the surface of the upper world in the ocean, fortunately near a tropical island.
Many of the plot elements seem to have been reused in The Core.

Cast

  • Victor Kilian as Dr. Jeremiah Morley
  • Marilyn Nash as Joan Lindsey
  • Bruce Kellogg as Wright Thompson
  • Otto Waldis as Dr. Max A. Bauer
  • Tom Handley as Dr. James Paxton
  • Dick Cogan as Dr. George Coleman
  • Jim Bannon as Andy

Locations

  • Parts of Unknown World were filmed in Carlsbad Caverns, and at Bronson Caves, Nichols Canyon, and Pismo Beach.
  • Category:1951 films
    Category:American science fiction films
    Category:1950s science fiction films
    Category:American disaster films
    Category:English-language films
    Category:Cold War films
    Category:Films directed by Terry O. Morse
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