From executive producer Ivan Tors, Around the World Under the Sea is a stolidly adolescent widescreen celebration of underwater life and gleaming submarine technology with Lloyd Bridges (from Tors’ TV series Sea Hunt), Marshall Thompson (later in Tors’ Daktari), Keenan Wynn (grouchy), David McCallum (cold and slippery), and the bikini’d woman doctor (Bond girl Shirley Eaton) who spends the whole movie feeling the tension with tall dark first mate Brian Kelly (from Tors’ Flipper) until they finally lock lips. He chastises her about being so shapely and female, which is bound to cause problems on a serious scientific mission, dammit, but she never complains about the bare-chested guys, wise girl. Bridges is quite assertive and cavalier about not caring that she’s a woman (or a bombshell) as long as she’s good enough for the job, and he declares loudly that women will be going into space too.
The movie swims along until somebody realized it was practically over and nothing much had happened, so they hastily introduce a giant squid (played by a small squid attacking a model) and then amp things up much better with an underwater volcano, which also goes better as a climax to the simmering romantic tension. Any movie about a sexy couple in a submarine positively must have an underwater volcanic eruption, or what’s the point?
Producer-director Andrew Marton worked often with Tors’ family-friendly projects on animals and environments. He specialized in being a second-unit director of action sequences, so he and the movie wake up at this point to send the audience out satisfied over harmless adventure. This made-on-demand item from Warner Archives surely must appeal to every nostalgic who saw this movie at age 12, if nobody else.
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