Reel Reviews

Crack in the World - Blu-ray Review

{2jtab: Movie Review}

Crack in the World - Blu-ray Review

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3 Stars

Mass-destruction on an apocalyptic level isn’t really a laughing matter…at least not always.  Driven by absurd logic, one-note performances and drive-thru fantasy, director Andrew Marton’s Crack in the World is precisely what happens when science fiction hooey meets old school B-movie hocus pocus.  It isn’t a great a film by any stretch but it certainly is fun...especially in hindsight from what we now know to be true.  Deadly serious in performance and woe-be-the-earth passion, this low-budget affair finds itself leaning more toward a cheesy sci-fi comedy than anything else.

Believing an atomic missile can burn through the earth’s magma core and solve energy concernse, a team of scientists, led by Dr. Stephen Sorenson (Dana Andrews), attempt to harness the “clean” energy of the earth to power man’s toys forever.  Consequently, a deep fissure opens and begins to engulf the world with fire and magma.  Dr. Rampion (Kieron Moore), who warned of the dangers of Sorenson’s plan and once carried on with Sorenson’s wife (Janette Scott), finds himself trying to assemble a world-renown team to relieve the pressure forcing the magma out and stop the crack for good.  Meanwhile, Dr. Sorenson, humbled by his HUGE mistake in theory, discovers that he is dying (rather quickly) of cancer.  Forgo any thoughts of parallels between Sorenson’s cancer and the earth’s destruction, this soap opera magnum opus was written solely to entertain the teenagers of 1965.

What is certainly amazing about Marton’s film is just how well the special effects, designed by Eugène Lourié, hold up.  From submarines to deep volcanic spelunking, Crack in the World is impressive in what it does visually especially for 1965.  Think Star Trek meets Planet of the Apes meets M*A*S*H and you get the idea.  Essentially, Lourié’s gripping production designs help carry the weight when the acting has you clutching your sides with laughter.  In one way, Crack in the World is a perfect unintended cinematic design of sorts.

The use of stock footage doesn’t always blend seamlessly and, when the classic footage of a mushroom cloud over the ocean is used followed by the team’s use of cellophane goggles to protect from the UV, the results are certainly not what the filmmakers intended.  The ruin is widespread and the use of familiar destruction-themed stock footage is also widespread.  In the film’s most climactic moments, the use of models overwhelms the storyline in its presentation of the disaster.  A speeding jeep (in a scene not out of place in Jurassic Park) is used to warn a train full of fleeing civilians that they are heading right toward the crack.  Cut to a model train gutted from its bridge by falling debris and so on.  Crack in the World is filled with these moments; all B-movie schlock, shtick and passion.

Released the same year scientists accepted the theory of plate tectonics, Crack in the World’s narrative logic found little hope in survival beyond its original release.  It’s that dopey.  Yet, due to its passion as the little movie that could, Marton’s film continues to find fans.  Now on blu-ray, courtesy of Olive Films, Crack in the World has a chance of being something a tad more than cheesy drive-in fare...maybe.

{pgomakase}

{2jtab: Film Details}

Crack in the World - Blu-ray ReviewMPAA Rating: This movie has not been rated by the MPAA.
Director
: Andrew Marton
Writer
: Jon Manchip White
Cast:
Dana Andrews; Janette Scott; Kieron Moore; Alexander Knox; Peter Damon; Jim Gillen
Genre: Science Fiction
Tagline:
Thank God it's Only a Motion Picture!
Memorable Movie Quote: "Suppose the Macedo trench splits open under the ocean? A crack a thousand miles long, bringing superheated magma in contact with the ocean... Earthquakes, tidal waves, mass destruction on an apocalyptic scale!"
Distributor:
Paramount Pictures
Official Site:
Release Date:
April 15, 1965
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
July 5, 2011

Synopsis: Dr. Steven Sorenson plans to tap the geothermal energy of the Earth's interior by means of a thermonuclear device detonated deep within the Earth. Despite dire warnings by fellow scientist Ted Rampian, Dr Sorenson proceeds with the experiment after secretly learning that he is terminally ill. This experiment causes a crack to form and grow within the earth's crust, which threatens to split the earth in two if it is not stopped in time.

{pgomakase}

{2jtab: Blu-ray Review}

Crack in the World - Blu-ray Review

Component Grades
Movie

Blu-ray Disc
3 Stars

1 Star



Blu-ray Experience
2 stars

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - July 5, 2011
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: None
Audio:
English: LPCM Mono
Discs: 25GB Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD)
Playback: Region A

The AVC encoded 1080p transfer in 1.78:1 appears to be from the same print Olive Films used for the DVD release last year.  It isn’t the most perfect of transfers as white flecks, dust, and a few scratches do appear from time to time.  What is perfect is the saturation which presents a warm picture that engages the senses with bright colors and nice 60s cinema flair.  Limitations in the special effects are apparent and the high resolution doesn’t really soften those limitations; rear projection moments suffer from discoloring and large flares.  Still, this is the best this film has looked on television and home video.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • None

Special Features:

  • None, just be happy the movie was released on blu-ray.

{2jtab: Trailer}

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