The modern predilection for re-making old movies( The Time Machine [DVD] [2002
] ,The Day The Earth Stood Still [DVD] [2008
]) and giving them bigger scope and a CGI spin always seems to me to be missing one vital element. Charm .All those old films have a certain magic completely missing from any of the contemporary versions. Never has this been better exemplified after watching the 2008 version Journey To The Center Of The Earth 3D  [DVD
] and indeed the made for TV rehash starring Treat Williams .
Even taking into account the fact the modern version , isn't like the 1959 version an adaptation of the Jules Verne Journey to the Centre of the Earth (Wordsworth Classics)
novel, though that is a fairly loose adaptation , there is simply no comparison between the two. The recent version is a gaudy event driven sequence of peril free situations , light on characterisation and despite all its, modern trappings failing to capture a sense of wonder. The 1959 version directed by Henry Levin from a screenplay by Walter Reisch and Charles Brackett does that effortlessly aided by some terrific sets, decent special effects and some weighty actors .The tangible sense of the Victorian era adds to the films appeal for me as well.
James Mason( replacing the originally cast Clifton Webbe) adds considerable gravitas to the role of Sir Oliver Lindenbrook who leads the titular expedition to the centre of the Earth tackling dinosaurs, seismic rumbles, whirlpools, an errant duck , Pat Boones singing and the evil Count Saknussem( Thayer David) .Along for the ride are the aforementioned Boone as Alexander Mckuen ,Arlene Dahl as the feisty nemesis of Lindenbrook ( James Mason reportedly had very little patience with the "movie star" preening of Arlene Dahl and the relationship between the two off set was very much like the audience see's on screen) Carla Goteborg , Diane Baker as Jenny Linden brook , Peter Ronson as the immense Icelandic guide Hans Belker who brings along Gertrude the duck whose inclusion is extremely silly but not too silly it drags the film down.
Neither does Pat Boone,s singing either , indeed he's rather good as the doughty but somewhat naïve Alex . This is one of those films like Mysterious Island [DVD] [1961
], Jason And The Argonauts [DVD] [1963
] ,The Time Machine [DVD] [1960
] and the Sinbad Collection - Seventh Voyage Of Sinbad/Golden Voyage Of Sinbad/Sinbad And The Eye Of Tiger [DVD
] films that is just great fun to watch just about anytime.
Fox gave the green light to this big-budget Cinemascope production partially on the basis of the success of the Jules Verne adaptations, Walt Disney's 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea [DVD] [1954
] and Michael Todd's Around The World In Eighty Days  [DVD
] . The company wanted to go up against Disney and as with those films, the heavy cost proved to be a good investment, resulting in a big hit at the box office Like I said earlier the film has great charm but mostly it's just terrific family entertainment,appealling to both adults and kids, something hard to come by nowadays.