Far out in space, the Van Allen radiation belts are causing the polar ice cap to burn, threatening life on earth. The only hope lies in the experimental atomic super-submarine, the Seaview, which is launched to break through the ice caps and fire missiles at the crucial moment to extinguish the fire and save the world. Led by martinet Admiral Walter Pidgeon, the sub faces countless perils on its journey, not least of which comes from the enemy within (Peter Lorre).
For its time, the effects are very fetching – the vessel alone cost $400,000 – and the whole adventure makes for rollicking entertainment, provided you don’t harbour a serious concern for nuclear science.
The film was a full-blown feature, not a television pilot, but the subsequent television series (1964-’68, executive-produced and sometimes directed by Irwin Allen) was made for 20th Century Fox to cash in on the box office success of the movie and to recycle the hardware, costumes and second-unit footage.
USA / 145 minutes / 1961
Director: Irwin Allen
Writers: Irwin Allen, Charles Bennett
Walter Pidgeon as Adm. Harriman Nelson
Joan Fontaine as Dr. Susan Hiller
Barbara Eden as Lt Cathy Connors
Peter Lorre as Comm. Lucius Emery
Robert Sterling as Capt. Lee Crane
Michael Ansara as Miguel Alvarez
Frankie Avalon as Lt
Regis Toomey as Dr. Jamieson
John Litel as Vice-Adm. B.J. Crawford
Howard McNear as Congressman Llewellyn Parker
Henry Daniell as Dr. Zucco
Skip Ward as Crew member
Mark Slade as Seaman Jimmy ‘Red’ Smith
Charles Tannen as CPO Gleason
Del Monroe as Seaman Kowski
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