At the Earth’s Core (1976)
Article 5450 from Dave Sindelar
Directed by Kevin Connor
Featuring Doug McClure, Peter Cushing, Caroline Munro
Country: UK / USA
What it is: Burroughsian adventure film
Two explorers tunnel through the Earth’s crust to end up in the land of Pellucidar. They are taken captive along with a handful of natives and enslaved by telepathic monsters and their brutish minions.
Though this is the second of the four Kevin Connor/Doug McClure old-fashioned adventure series, it’s the fourth and final one that I’ve seen. I’ve been fairly lenient with the series; I like them in spirit enough that I find myself somewhat forgiving of their technical deficiencies. This is the one, however, that most tries my patience. Part of the reason is that it tries to take a more lighthearted approach to the material that verges on camp, and I prefer the tone to be a bit more serious. Going in hand with that, I’m also disappointed with Peter Cushing’s performance here; much as I love him as an actor, I find him least interesting when he takes on the role of a dotty old eccentric (like he does in his two Dr. Who movies) because he seems to be playing beneath his real abilities. My greatest problem, however, is with the movie’s action sequences. So many of them are shot with rapid-fire editing between close-ups and medium shots with seemingly random scenes thrown in that they become confusing, and nothing makes me lose interest as quickly as a badly edited action sequence. As much as I like the attempt to bring the world of Pellucidar to life, I’m afraid I have to rate this one as the weakest of the four movies.