Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea
Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea was a science-fiction film directed by Irwin Allen and released in 1961. Walter Pidgeon starred as Admiral Nelson, captain of USOS Seaview, a futuristic atomic submarine, alongside Joan Fontaine, Barbara Eden, and Peter Lorre. The theme song is sung by Frankie Avalon, who also has a part in the film.
The plot involves the Van Allen radiation belt catching fire while the submarine is in the Arctic Ocean, causing a deadly global heatwave . Trouble for those on board the submarine begins when it emerges there is a saboteur amongst them.
The film is riddled with scientific absurdities (for instance, the Van Allen belt comprises subatomic particles which cannot catch fire, even if there was oxygen in space), and the plot is driven by piling one disaster on top of another (a minefield, a hostile submarine, a giant squid, a near-mutiny and a religious fanatic, to name a few).
Near the end of the film the saboteur is unmasked, then falls into the sub's aquarium during a fight and is eaten by a shark that the sub's marine biologist just happens to have on board for research purposes.
Eventually, despite the efforts of the fanatic to prevent it, the sub launches a nuclear missile into the belt, extinguishing the fire and saving the world.
The name of the film is an inversion of a phrase appearing at about its time, concerning the exploration of the Arctic Ocean by nuclear submarines, namely, "a voyage to the top of the world." No large submarine can reach the ocean floor in the high seas and safely return.
- 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 (j.g.) Danny Romano
- Regis Toomey as Dr. Jamieson
- John Litel as Vice-Adm. B.J. Crawford
- Howard McNear as Congressman 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 Kowski
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