The Underwater City (1962)

Article 3060 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 9-23-2009
Posting Date: 12-30-2009
Directed by Frank McDonald
Featuring William Lundigan, Julie Adams, Roy Roberts
Country: USA
What it is: Science Fiction of the “New Frontiers” variety

A project is undertaken to build a self-sufficient underwater city.

This is an earnest, well-intentioned slice of Heinleinian science fiction; it generally eschews melodrama in favor of the step-by-step process by which the city is developed, settled, and becomes able to fend for itself. It’s rather cheesy at times, the characters are two-dimensional, and it occasionally relies too much on devices such as narration and newspaper headlines, but after a while, the sincerity does win through. There’s an eel attack, a manta ray attack, and a battle between an octopus and an eel, but they’re all side issues (in fact, the manta ray attack is dispensed with via a newspaper headline), so you can’t really call it a monster movie. The movie was shot in color, but it was released to theaters in black and white; however, television prints were in color. My favorite scene occurs near the end, where the celebration of the city’s success is undercut by an ominous revelation.

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