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At the Earth's Core (film)Edit

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393px-Earths core film
;"|[1] film poster by Tom Chantrell |- ! ;"|Kevin Connor |- ! ;"|Produced by ;"|John Dark Max Rosenberg Milton Subotsky |- "|Written by ;"|Edgar Rice Burroughs(novel) Milton Subotsky |- ! ;"|Peter Cushing Doug McClure Caroline Munro |-;"|Mike Vickers |- ! ;"|Cinematography | ;"|Alan Hume |- ! ;"|Studio | ;"|American International Pictures Amicus Productions |- ! ;"|Distributed by | style="vertical-;"|American International Pictures British Lion Films (UK) (Sony Pictures Entertainment) |-;"|Release date(s) | ;"|July 1976 |;"|Running time | ;"|Country;"|United Kingdom |- ! "|;"|English |- ;"|Budget [1] |}

At the Earth's Core is a 1976 fantasy-science fiction film produced by Britain's Amicus Productions. It was directed by Kevin Connor and starred Peter Cushing,Caroline Munro, Philippa Herring and Doug McClure.[2] It was filmed in Technicolor. It was based on the fantasy novel At the Earth's Core, by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the first book of his Pellucidar series, in token of which the film is also known as Edgar Rice Burroughs' At the Earth's Core. The original music score was composed by Mike Vickers.

ContentsEdit

 [hide*1 Plot summary

Plot summary[edit source | editbeta]Edit

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Dr. Abner Perry, a British Victorian period scientist (Cushing), and his US financier David Innes (McClure) make a test run of their Iron Mole drilling machine in aWelsh mountain, but end up in a strange underground labyrinth ruled by a species of giant telepathic flying reptiles, the Mahars, and full of prehistoric monsters and cavemen.hings quickly go awry and the pair eventually arrive in a vast cave world full of weird plants and even weirder beasties. No sooner have David and Perry left their machine then they are set upon by some strange sort of dinosaur-like creature-bird beek and claws-not scene the original story. Fleeing the monster, they are quickly captured by the pig-faced Sagoths, a humanoid henchman race who do the bidding of the mysterious, reptilian Mahars, who hold dominion over the native human population.The Sagoths lock David and Abner in chains alongside a number of other humans, including the ravishing Princess Dia (Caroline Munro), and take them to the ancient Mahar city. Along the way, David defends Dia from the depredations of Hooja the Sly One (Sean Lynch), but doesn't realize that local tribal custom dictates that when a man fights over a woman and wins, he may claim her as his own. Dia seems not averse to the idea, but quickly takes offense when the understandably clueless David makes no move in that direction, and from then on, during the remainder of the trek, she and the others give the the two strangers the cold shoulder.The prisoners finally arrive at the Mahar city and are brought before the winged overlords, who seem to communicate with the Sagoths via telepathy.   The cruel Mahars,as in book, who keep primitive humans as their slaves through mind control. David falls for the beautiful slave girl Princess Dia (Munro) and Dian as in novel.Innes like the novel rescues her ,but fails to unknowingly take as his mate,as it is coustum in Pellicidar.but when she is chosen as a sacrificial victim in the Mahar city, David and Perry must rally the surviving human slaves to rebel and not only save her but also the freedom of the slaves..

After a period slaving away in the mines with the other captives, David manages to escape through a disused cave tunnel and encounters Ra, a chieftain of one of the human tribes. In time-honored fashion, the two fight and become fast friends once David rescues Ra from the clutches of a carnivorous plant.  Thinking to dissuade David from his plan to free Perry and the rest of the humans from the Mahars' rule, Ra brings him back into the Mahar city to witness their hideous ritual of feasting upon the more comelier female captives. This just strengthens David's resolve to bring the various warring human factions together and eliminate the Mahars for once and all. But first, he is reunited with the lovely Dia and must fight Jubal the Ugly One Michael Crane, the most ferocious warrior in the land, for her hand.David Innes defeats Jubal,by knocking into some powder puffy plant<that kills him.In the David wants to Dia to his world,but like a Burroughs story,she declines.David Innes and Abner Perry leave Pellicidar to drill in front of Buckingham Palace,trying an ending for laughs and avoiding the novels cliffhanger,where David Innes is standing in the Sahara Desert,waitting to tell the fictional version of Edgar Rice Burroughs his adventures At the Earth"s Core.
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Reception

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In Britain, the independent production company Amicus (most noted for their horror anthologies like From Beyond the GraveAsylumDr. Terror's House of Horrors, etal) took a chance and brought three of Burroughs'  more memorable novels to the big screen. Amicus, founded by Milton Subotsky and Max Rosenberg, enjoyed a certain level of success and made some fine genre films. To say their efforts in bringing Burroughs' larger-than-life, elaborate lost worlds to filmwere not entirely successful would be an understatement. However, the three films in question -The Land that Time Forgot (1975) and its sequel, The People That Time Forgot (1977) (based off the Caspak trilogy) and At the Earth's Core (1976) (the first book in the Pellucidar series) - all have their hearts in the right place and bring plenty of old-fashioned fun to the table. For those of us who saw these movies as youngsters when they first came out, they still hold a certain nostalgic appeal that (just barely) transcends their clumsy monster effects and generalsilliness, and most of their (many) faults can be blamed on the production teams' trying to do far too much with way too limited means.

High adventure and hooty special effects make At the Earth's Core a colorful camp treat. Doug McClure plays David Innes, the brawn to Dr. Abner Perry's brains. The two have developed the Iron Mole, a vehicle that bores through solid rock. A test run goes too well and before you know it they're neck-deep in scantily clad cave women and telepathic lizard-birds. Peter Cushing has a good time playing against his usual type as the absentminded Professor Perry,-says funny lines like You can"t to me,I"m british."", while McClure sticks to cigar-chomping macho swagger. Older kids will enjoy the colorful sets and fire-breathing animals, while adults will get a kick out of the hilariously outdated gender politics.The movie takes many liberties from the novel.In the movie,Pellicidar is a huge cave,while the novel sets thing at the Earth"s Core_hense the books title.Both are lite by the Eternal Sun.Implaussible as Hollow Earth Theory is,Burrough felt was too good a fantastic idea not to use.The goes for everything on the cheap,from silly,crampt sets,to weird duck billed creatures with claws,instead of books Tree Sloth and a fire breath Triceritopean Rhino.Carolyne Monroe,portrays the Princess Dia,while the book ,she is the Princess Dian the Beautiful. The movie also portrays the Sargoth,as British looking monkey dwarves,with weird cherpie speach.Edgar Rice Burrough reveals in the Tarzan/Pellicidar series crossover,that the Sargoth speak a language similar to Lord Greystokes Great Apes.One wonders,if this David Innes and Abner Perry made their way to real world of Pellicidar or a cheap,theme park imatation instead.

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McClure makes for an agreeable (if slightly pudgy) action hero, but the film really belongs to Peter Cushing and Caroline Munro. Cushing, the esteemed horror star famous for his depictions of cold, steely intelligence in the Hammer Frankenstein films, as well as Sherlock Holmes on film and television, has a
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total field day here. Some have criticized Cushing for laying the ham on a bit thick as the kindly, doddering professor Perry, but he's far and away the best thing in this film. He knows he's stuck in a bit of silly juvenalia and gets right into the spirit of things with a very broad, charming performance. Whether waving his brolly at a towering monster and exclaiming "Shoo!" or sending a flurry of arrows into the side of a fire-breathing giant frog, Cushing is constantly endearing. He also gets all the best lines, including "You can't hypnotize me - I'm British" and (of the piggish, sadistic Sagoths) "Oh, they're so excitable, like all foreigners"... not to mention the immortal "I have a firm grip upon your trousers, David" (as McClure is leading him out of a cave). Cushing classes up this joint and enjoys an easy rapport with McClure. His presence goes a long way to making the movie as watchable as it is.
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Caroline Munro, far and away the film's best special effect. Something else indispensable to the movie is the appearanceof that super sexy 70s siren, Caroline Munro. Miss Munro was one of my very first movie crushes, her dark, sultry looks, alluring curves and feminine demeanor striking an immediate chord with this particular pre-teen male.

Catching At the Earth's Core on TV, followed by a school showing of The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1973), was a heady one-two punch of exotic, scantily-clad pulchritude. I came to these films for the fantastical worlds and monsters, but the lasting image I took away from them was of Caroline Munro in revealing, barely-there clothing. I was one of the many, many fans similarly captivated by Munro and her succession of skimpy outfits. Though she never became a big star, she remains a cult figure for her work in the above two films, plus a handful of others, such as the two Dr. Phibes movies (as Phibes' dear departed wife), Dracula A.D. 1972 (opposite Christopher Lee's Count), Captain Kronos - Vampire Hunter (also from Hammer, and reviewed earlier on this site), the ItalianStar Wars ripoff Star Crash, and most notably, as bad Bond girl Naomi in the popular 007 extravaganza, The Spy Who Loved Me.  Munro isn't actually in that much of At the Earth's Core, but what's there is, as they say, choice. Her role isn't exactly designed to challenge anyone's acting talents, but she more than fulfills the brief, and brings a winning mixture of tremulous vulnerability and royal hauteur to her Pellucidarian princess.----

[3]Doug McClure, a long way from THE VIRGINIAN[4] [5]Cy
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Grant as Ra[6]

The rest of the cast is decent enough, considering what's required, and the script, by producer Subotsky, is perfectly serviceable for this kind of fare. Director Kevin Connor perhaps wisely keeps the frame tight in on his stars' faces for the most part, which sometimes works in tandem with the cramped feel of the sets to make this feel like a very small lost world, but otherwise does a competent enough job moving the story forward (this clocks in at a brisk 90 minutes). What really lets the side down is the aforementioned poor effects work; it might be unfair to compare this with the marvels of Star Wars which came out a mere year later, as the budget here is surely less than a tenth of that film's, but after Star Wars, effects-heavy films would never be the same, and George Lucas' film pretty much sounded the death knell for the sort of old-fashioned yet cheap monster mayhem seen here.It is ashame,At the Earth"s Core,almost on the heels of the late 1970's big budget box office,special effects spectaculars like the Star Wars Trilogies,Idiana Jones films and decades on John Carter like Avatar,this film failled to live the authors fantastic visions of other worlds.

There's also a number of plot holes and other head-scratching moments (such as how the denizens of Pellucidar manage to speak English, for one...and where exactly did Perry get that bow and arrow? for another.) Taken as a proper adaptation of its far superior source, there's no denying that At the Earth's Core falls way short of the mark. 

At the Earth's Core is well worth turning off your brain as a guilty pleasure and taking a look,not as great film,but as perhaps so far films only attempt to do the novel. DVD version includes the original trailer and French and Spanish subtitles


The Characters:
  • Dr. Perry - Peter Cushing! Bumbling scientist that invented "The Iron Mole," a wondrous tunneling machine capable of moving at seventy-eight feet per minute through solid rock.
  • David Innes- Doug McClure! Brawny younger man and financier of the tunneling invention. If your tribe is ever beset by hypnotic and intelligent pteranodons you should call him.
  • Princess Dia - Caroline Munro! Honestly she does very little besides run around in a prehistoric woman outfit and capture David's heart.
  • Ra - Chief who helps David in convincing the tribes to fight their enslavers. He defeats several enemies in man to pig-man (explain in a minute) combat and is consumed in a wave of molten lava.
  • Hoojah the Sly One - A skinny sly guy. Almost eaten by Barney's ancestor, but lucky him, he dies by being covered in lava.
  • Jubal the Ugly One - A big ugly guy of course. Not donating to the gene pool any more after David spears him.
  • The Majars - Intelligent pteranodons with telepathic and hypnotic powers, their air horn voices command respect. Until Dr. Perry reinvents the bow and arrow that is...
  • The Sagaths - Pig-men and servants to the Majars, these guys speak the ultimate in Pig Latin.

Cast[edit source | editbeta]Edit

See also[edit source | editbeta]Edit

References[edit source | editbeta]Edit

  1. Jump up^ Brian Trenchard-Smith on At the Earth's Core at Trailers from Hell
  2. Jump up^ "At the Earth's Core (1976)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 31 May 2012.

External links[edit source | editbeta]Edit

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