Crack in the World (1965)

Article 1954 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 7-21-2006
Posting Date: 12-18-2006
Directed by Andrew Marton
Featuring Dana Andrews, Janette Scott, Kieron Moore

When a scientific team uses a nuclear bomb to break through a hard crust so they can tap in to the geothermal energy of the earth, they open a crack which threatens to circle the world and destroy it.

The plus side of the movie is that it does a good job of selling its science fiction premise; I don’t know if the science is accurate, but the movie does a strong job of explaining and demonstrating the ideas, and the movie works well in this regard. I’m less impressed with the human story that attaches itself to this premise; it’s one of the most hackneyed subplots around. I wish I could come up with a pithy little phrase for it, but for now I’ll call Standard Triangle Subplot #1. The basic description is – Two men are personal and professional rivals working on the same project, but with differing views on how things should be run. They are also rivals for the affection of the same woman, who really can’t decide between them (though she may actually be married to one of them). In the end, there’s only one way to resolve this conflict – one of them must heroically sacrifice himself so that the woman is spared the agony of having to choose.

That’s pretty much the human story at play here. The only interesting variation on it here is that one of the men is also dying from cancer, and this element actually does a good job of making us understand the actions of that character, in terms of the both the subplot and the main story. However, that doesn’t change the fact that there are virtually no surprises in the subplot. Still, the main plot is strong enough to hold your attention, and the special effects are excellent, and this movie is worth viewing for these reasons alone.


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