In Fantastic Voyage when a top scientist defects to the West, suffering severe brain damage when an attempt is made on his life, the only answer is to inject a microscopic submarine containing a similarly microscopic medical team (including Stephen Boyd, Donald Pleasance and Raquel Welch) into his bloodstream to reach his brain and deal with the life-threatening blood clot.
Along the way, the crew members must navigate a world of giant obstacles, including rampaging white blood cells, tidal waves of sound in the inner ear and the cavernous vaults of the heart, while discovering that the real danger actually comes from inside their vessel itself, in the shape of a saboteur.
The special effects were cutting edge at the time and remain striking to this day. When crew members leave the ship to create the impression of swimming in a resisting medium, the actors were suspended from wires and filmed at a greater than normal speed, which was then played back at normal speed. The actors also risked more than their careers, as the wires suspending them were washed in acid to roughen them, making them more likely to break.
USA – UK | 100 minutes | 1966
Director: Richard Fleischer
Writers: Jerome Bixby, Harry Kleiner
Arthur Kennedy as Dr. Duval
William Redfield as Cap. Bill Owens
Stephen Boyd as Grant
Barry Coe as Communications Aide
Raquel Welch as Cora
Edmond O’Brien as Gen. Carter
Donald Pleasence as Dr. Michaels
Arthur O’Connell as Col. Donald Reid
Jean Del Val as Jan Benes
Ken Scott as Secret Service
Shelby Grant as Nurse
James Brolin as Technician
Brendan Fitzgerald as Wireless Operator