PreCommentary: Another version of Jules Verne's Journey to the Centre of the Earth.

Notes: International Picture Show Co.
Professor Otto Lindenbrock: Kenneth More
Axel: Pep Munne
Glauben: Yvonne Sentis
Olsen: Jack Taylor
Hans: Frank Brana

Produced: Almena Films
Directed: Piquer Simon
Screenplay: John Melson.

Summary: Professor Christophe complains about theories of the origin of the earth being "just theories" since humans have descended only three miles so far. We get the credits behind early science fiction film clips and a bizarre Welsh drinking song--really weird.

At a bookseller's shop, an old man sells to Lindenbrock an ancient book by Arne Saknussemm. The Professor's niece Glauben is being wooed by Axel, from the Imperial Prussian Military Academy. Lindenbrock tries to decode a text within the Old English book. His niece superimposes the two transparent slides and Lindenbrock sees the answer in a mirror, telling them where to enter the earth. This has to happen at 11:29 on June 19th, and it is June 20th, but fortunately Saknussemm was using the Julian calendar vs. the Gregorian, so they still have several days to arrive.

They hire a guide, Hans, who will be paid in sheep, which is his fixation. Humor is attempted through Axel's dignified narrative vs. scenes of his chickenhood. They take "instruments, tools, weapons," the "essentials," and descend into Mt. Sneffels.

Glauben drops the water supply, although humidity is 95%, and the Saknussemm guidebook blows away. A dinosaur from the misty waters goes unwitnessed. Glauben is terrorized when her light goes out. She sinks in quicksand but is helped out by an unknown hand. No one believes her.

They hear noise which seems human. Axel: "Perhaps they're animals of some sort; they could even be dangerous!" Actually it's themselves, because of acoustical echo. A cave-in follows. They meet a mysterious man named Olsen and his metal box. Obviously he helped Glauben earlier, and Axel is jealous. Axel falls and knocks himself out for two days, waking up with the others enjoying an underground ocean. While Hans makes a raft they visit giant mushrooms with deadly spores which threaten to fall. Olsen is detonating explosions, so they run.

On the raft they catch a prehistoric fish. Axel: "We'll cook it!" They consider giving some to Olsen, but he's absorbed in study. Glauben swims but sea monsters appear and fight each other. They stop at the island of giant fossilized turtles. Axel: "They must have been man-eating, but they died of hunger." (Dumb-ass.) The turtles flash vicious teeth and fangs, and screech. The humans realize they're not fossils and run away.

Back on the raft there's electricity in the air. A storm bursts and fireballs burn the sail and mast. Ashore after a shipwreck, Olsen is missing. Axel and Glauben stroll to "a prehistoric cemetery for animals." There are dinosaur teeth, but Axel starts chickening again. He explains that he is considering marriage and in the same breath "babies." (Dumb-ass.) As if on cue, a giant ape looms, also with fangs, and terrorizes the two inside a tree, which it tears from the ground. Olsen saves them, shows them an underground city in which all the people are Olsen, they arbitrarily decide they can't tell the Professor, and on the way out they see more dinosaurs.

Lindenbrock has been reading Olsen's book, published in 1914 although it's only 1898 now, and a reference is made to time's relativity. Inside a water-cave their passage is blocked. The Professor goes mildly berserk, hacking at the rock wall. Olsen will solve the problem, and tells them to row back a short way. He blows up the wall and presumably himself. During the following cataclysm, the water level rises, lots of explosions occur, and the four humans emerge from under the earth, barely missing a volcano which blows.

Hans gets sheep, Glauben and Dumb-ass are married, the Professor is at the bookstore. He sees a box of metal and the ancient man through the window, who takes off his glasses and is Olsen. Another bizarre Welsh drinking song ("Candyland?") provides the insane finale.

Commentary: The hell??? This is pretty dull going, although the giant ape from a distance is impressive. Why anyone felt that the introduction of the supposedly mysterious (but really just listless and detached) Olsen would help is baffling, although Axel is insufferable, Glauben an idiot, and Hans a prop. Lindenbrock is a stone drag too. And what are the implications of a city of busy Olsens under the earth? I want my money back. I want my two hours back. Is it too late to bail out of this whole dinosaur film project?