Sunday 17 September 2023

At the Earth's Core

Wyrd Britain reviews 'At the Earth's Core' starring Peter Cushing and Doug McClure.
"This cannot be the Rhondda Valley.  I've never seen anythng like it."

As a result of the disasterous first test of their Iron Mole drilling machine Dr Abner Perry (Peter Cushing) and David Innes (Doug McClure) find themselves lost in the subterranean world of Pellucidar. A land of rubbery dinosaurs ruled over by the lady eating, telepathic pterodactyl-like Mahars.  Luckily though the nicer locals - including Princess Dia (Caroline Munro), Ghak the Hairy One (Godfrey James) and Ra (Cy Grant) - speak English and so David sets about uniting the tribes to defeat the Mahars.

"They're so excitable. Like all foreigners."

Based on the Edgar Rice Burroughs novel, scripwriter Milton Subotsky and director Kevin Connor go all out for silly fun with this technicolour adventure romp.  The cast spend much of the film running around a fiery set made entirely out of health and safety nightmares while battling beaky dinosaurs and their piggy henchmen to a soundtrack from ex-Manfred Mann woodwind player Mike Vickers.  Cushing - a year away from playing a Moff in his slippers and scolding the Green Cross Code Man - looks especially frail here but is channelling his Dr and playing his part entirely for laughs, gets all the best lines and has great chemistry with McClure who seems to be thoroughly enjoying Cushing's performance.

You cannot mesmerize me. I’m British!"  

Even on it's original release 'At the Earth's Core' was ridiculed for it's effects (and pretty much everything else) and it must be admitted it is spectacularly cheap looking and primitive even for the time it was made but personally I'll take wobbly sets, rubber monsters and a bow-legged Peter Cushing over slick effect every time and I bloody love this film.


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