Review: Crack in the World DVD

STUDIO: Olive Films | DIRECTOR: Andrew Marton | CAST: Dana Andrews, Janette Scott, Kieron Moore, Alexander Knox
RELEASE DATE: 7/27/10 | PRICE: DVD $24.95, Blu-ray $29.95
SPECS: NR | 96 min. | Science-fiction thriller | 1.78:1 widescreen | Dolby Digital 1.0

RATINGS (out of 5): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

Watching the DVD of science-fiction movie Crack in the World, I’m immediately reminded of the “That’s Armageddon” bit in Kentucky Fried Movie from 1977. A coming attraction parody of the disaster movie cycle that ruled the world in the late 1960s and early 1970s, “That’s Armageddon” featured George Lazenby (the one-time James Bond from On Her Majesty’s Secret Service) telling his nurse lover about his other girlfriend as the world crumbles around him. “I could no more run away from her than I could run away from myself,” he intones as a fireball lands at his feet and a building collapses in the background. I can’t be positive, but I think one of the movies that Kentucky’s filmmakers were sending up is Andrew Marton’s 1965 Crack in the World.

One of 27 classic Paramount movies that Olive Films licensed for release in the second half of 2010, Crack in the World is actually a not-bad sci-fi thriller with a pretty cool premise. A terminally ill scientist (Dana Andrews) sets up an experiment wherein he will detonate a powerful thermo-nuclear device deep beneath the Earth’s bedrock so that man can reach the center of the planet and harness the geothermal energy that pulses within. It has been a dream of his for years — “How many men get a chance to turn a page of history? Newton, Pasteur, Eisnstein…?” — and he receives lots of encouragement from the government and his curvy girlfriend (Janette Scott), but not her ex-flame, a fellow scientist (Kieron Moore) who senses disaster on a Roland Emmerich, 2012-like scale. It turns out he’s right, as the experiment causes a crack within the Earth’s crust that threatens to split the planet in two if it isn’t stopped in time. Now that’s definitely Armageddon!

Forty-five years ago, Crack in the World must have played a whole lot scarier than it does today, but there’s no denying that the science-fiction angle of the story is intriguing and that the love triangle bit even works. The special effects are also okay, though lots of them are augmented with natural disaster stock film. Still, overall, the concept and execution delivers in a 1960s-ish kind of way.

Oh, and as for the Kentucky Fried Movie comparison, let me also tell you that the tagline for Crack that appeared on its one-sheets proclaimed, “Thank God it’s only a motion picture!”


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About Laurence

Founder and editor Laurence Lerman saw Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest when he was 13 years old and that’s all it took. He has been writing about film and video for more than a quarter of a century for magazines, anthologies, websites and most recently, Video Business magazine, where he served as the Reviews Editor for 15 years.