Rating: ** Threat: Fissure in the earth's crust
Paramount. Written by Jon Manchip White & Julian Halevy; Photographed by Manuel Berenguer; Special effects by Alex Weldon & Eugene Lourie; Edited by Derek Parsons; Music by John Douglas; Produced by Bernard Glasser & Lester A. Sansom; Directed by Andrew Marton. 96 minutes
Dana Andrews (Dr. Stephen Sorenson, director of Project Inner Space); Janette Scott (Maggie, Sorenson's wife); Kieron Moore (Dr. Ted Rampion, project geologist & Maggie's former boyfriend); Alexander Knox (Sir Charles Eggerston, head of United Nations scientific commission); Peter Damon (John Masefield, second-in-command of Project Inner Space); Jim Gillen (Rand, commission member); Gary Lasdun (Markov, project statistician); Mike Steen (Steel, Rampion's assistant); Emilio Carrere (Bill Evans, Sorenson's physician); Sydna Scott (Angela, Sorenson's secretary); John Karlson (Dr. Reynolds, eccentric project scientist); Alfred Brown (Dr. Gupta, project scientist); Todd Martin (Simpson, engineer at volcano); Ben Tatar (Indian commissioner).
Crack in the World is rooted in a brilliant and imaginative concept, but the script was never properly developed, so the resulting motion picture is undermined by clumsy plot loopholes. Nevertheless, the film crowds enough quickpaced action and dazzle to be entertaining, at least for the juvenile audience, for which it was primarily intended.
The story opens as a jeep convoy winds its way down a road in a remote area of Tanganyika, traveling to the headquarters of Project Inner Space. This facility is attempting to drill through the earth's crust to access the magma, which would give the world a limitless source of thermal energy and an abundance of new minerals. Central operations is located in the deepest natural shaft in the world, two miles down. The United Nations (UN) scientific commission is coming to hear a progress report by Dr. Stephen Sorenson, head of the project. The drilling has been stymied by an impenetrable mantle deep in the earth. Sorenson has a plan to penetrate the mantle with a ten-megaton nuclear device, and he needs their approval. Sir Charles Eggerston, the commission's leading member, questions Sorenson about the risk. The doctor mentions that his staff geologist, Dr. Ted Rampion, fears that underground nuclear tests have weakened the earth's crust and that there is danger of a fissure that would cause a major calamity. The other staff scientists feel the risk is minimal.
Dr. Sorenson is suffering from a strange skin disease, which his physician,