Okay The End is Nigh week has overstayed its welcome (eight days do not a week make) but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the granddaddy of the natural disaster movie, Crack in the World, which is currently available on instant Netflix.
One Line Review: Important historically but only for fans of 60s science fiction.
Crack in the World (1965) – Not rated
“To access a cache of geothermal energy buried deep inside the Earth’s crust, a team of scientists (led by Dana Andrews) decides to detonate an atomic device … despite one doctor’s (Kieron Moore) dire warning that doing so could prove deadly. Now, as a result of their actions, Earth’s surface has begun to crack, and everyone on the planet could perish. Andrew Marton directs this scientifically improbable sci-fi classic.”
“You mean, the world will come to an end?” – “The world as we know it yes. As a cloud of astral dust, it will continue to move within the solar system.”
Okay the science here is just as bad as the science in our modern versions but the public also knew a lot less about science then. Also we apparently cannot stop turning to nuclear weapons to solve our problems. Long before the planting of nuclear weapons in trenches in 10.5, long before detonating nuclear weapons to take out rogue asteroids in Deep Impact and Armageddon, we use them to penetrate a pesky layer of the earth’s crust in Crack in the World. I’ll let you guess how well that works based on the title.
Our lead scientist, Dr. Stephen Sorenson, is played by the ever reliable Dana Andrews (Curse of the Demon, Frozen Dead – two other films where he played doctors). Janette Scott (Day of the Triffids, Paranoiac) plays his better half, scientist Dr. Maggie Sorenson. Janette’s Triffid co-star Kieron Moore is Dr. Ted Rampion. Noted character actor Alexander Knox (The Vikings, The Sea Wolf) rounds out the cast as Sir Charles Eggerston.
How will the love triangle work out? What is the mysterious disease that Dr. Sorenson has? Can X-Ray treatment be beneficial? Can atomic weapons fix the damage caused by atomic weapons?
In a precursor to Category 7’s constant mispronunciation of ‘mesosphere’, here we have a scientist unable to pronounce ‘seismograph’.
Crack in the World uses a lot of stock photography to good effect. Mind you the sub bouncing around in lava was bit much. I love the atomic references – you just don’t hear that word much any more. The telephones are out of this world. Protective glasses means quick, bring out the red cellophane.
Crack in the World is very dated and does not make much sense but is still a fine example of 60s science fiction.
Addendum: Shortly after this movie (1967), Janette Scott retired before the age of 30 for thirty years. If you don’t know her but her name is familiar, she is mentioned in one of the lyrics from The Rocky Horror Picture Show.