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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great film? No. Great fun? Yes!
There are some films you love but you can't really justify. Still, I'll give it a try with The Island at the Top of the World. I can understand why a younger generation probably have a hard time taking an adventure movie with action icons Donald Sinden, David Hartman and Jacques Marin seriously. And yes, the once state of the art special effects do look quaint these days,...
Published on 15 July 2006 by Trevor Willsmer

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3.0 out of 5 stars Easy Viewing
Easy to watch film, unbelievable but entertaining. No sex or violence. The sort of film you could watch with your Grandma and kids.
Published on 17 Jun 2012 by Joannie


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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great film? No. Great fun? Yes!, 15 July 2006
By 
Trevor Willsmer (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Island At The Top Of The World [DVD] [1974] (DVD)
There are some films you love but you can't really justify. Still, I'll give it a try with The Island at the Top of the World. I can understand why a younger generation probably have a hard time taking an adventure movie with action icons Donald Sinden, David Hartman and Jacques Marin seriously. And yes, the once state of the art special effects do look quaint these days, not least Donald Sinden running furiously on the spot to outrun backprojected lava in a shot that elicited roars of laughter from audiences at the time. Maybe it's because it's one of those films I grew up with. In the pre-Star Wars seventies there weren't that many kid-friendly adventure movies, what with nihilism, Vietnam and post-Watergate cynicism setting the screen agenda, so a film that offered airships, volcanoes, killer whales, Eskimos (as we still ignorantly called them in those days), the North Pole and a lost colony of Vikings (in what looks so suspiciously like the Shangri-La of the previous year's Lost Horizon remake that you keep on expecting them to start singing The World is a Circle) was like Christmas come early.

Disney's turn-of-the-(20th)-century adventure sees millionaire businessman Sinden, in one of those naturalistic performances we know and love him for, taking Marin's airship in search of his son, who disappeared searching for a legendary island in the Arctic where the whales go to die. Naturally, he brings Hartman's archaeologist who specialises in Norse history with him, as you would on an expedition to the Arctic, kidnapping Mako's Japanese Eskimo en route. Crashlanding in the icy mountains, instead of Shangri-La and its peace-loving monks they find Astragard and its bloodthirsty Vikings. Once there, they find that junior has had enough of adventure and wants to go into business with his father. The local high priest (adequately described by Sinden as a "bloodthirsty bounder") isn't too wild about this idea and thinks they should execute them instead, setting in motion a series of saturday morning matinee cliffhangers despite the fact that most of the Vikings seem more likely to be interested in Ikea shelf-units and open topped sandwiches than rape and pillage...

The plot may be the standard three-act lost world model - spend a third of the movie getting there, a third finding out what it's like and the last third running for their lives as they attempt to escape - but Disney's now forgotten A-list director Robert Stevenson keeps it moving swiftly along, Peter Ellenshaw's Oscar-nominated production design and Alan Maley's matte paintings give it a storybook quality and it also has a beautiful Maurice Jarre score which has sadly never been released as an album. Dammit, I still enjoy it!

Sadly the Region 2 PAL DVD is completely extras-free, making Disney's 30th anniversary Region 1 NTSC special edition the one to get. The extras aren't as lavish as the Vault Disney series, but they're better than the previous Anchor Bay Region 1 version - a 1968 presentation reel for the film, a vintage behind-the-scenes featurette, 4 TV spots, 2 trailers, camera dailies and a surprisingly good stills gallery. It's just a shame they didn't carry over the isolated score from the laserdisc issue.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable Disney adventure movie, 27 Dec 2010
By 
Colin Smith (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Island At The Top Of The World [DVD] [1974] (DVD)
Although not a classic, I reckon this Disney movie deserves more credit than it already gets, I found it to be an enjoyable and charming 90 minute adventure movie.
Made in 1974, the story begins in London in 1907, when English businessman Sir Anthony Ross (Donald Sinden) meets American Archaeologist, Professor Ivarsson (David Hartman) to discuss Ross's Son, Donald, who has gone missing in the Arctic.
The only helpful clues that they have is a piece of paper describing a mythical land, and a carved piece of Whalebone, which when placed on a map appears to point out the position of the island.

The search begins aboard an airship piloted by French inventor, Captain Brieux, (Jacques Marin). During the journey the three men and a small Poodle are eventually joined by an unwilling Eskimo trapper named Oomiak (played by Mako) who was the last person to see Donald alive.
On arrival at the lost land the group are promptly captured by a party of 10th-century Vikings, and after being accused of being the forward party of an invading force, the men are put on trial, and are eventually sentenced to death after being found guilty.

The action accelerates when the group escape their captors and attempt to reach the airship, although the sets and scenery are quite impressive for the time, its during this passage of the movie that an unintentionally hilarious scene occurs, when, as other reviewers have already mentioned, Donald Sinden attempts to outrun a fast-flowing river of molten lava - guaranteed to raise at least a chuckle!

The 1:85:1 widescreen colour picture and mono sound quality are good, the disc also features various soundtrack and subtitle languages, including English, but no extras.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Polar fun with Donald Sinden, 14 July 2007
By 
David Longhorn "Pilot of the Past" (Tyneside, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Island At The Top Of The World [DVD] [1974] (DVD)
This is undoubtedly the best airship/Viking/poodle/whale movie ever made, and that's saying something. I first saw it at the pictures when I was twelve and, on re-viewing, I enjoyed it tremendously. It's worth noting that the author of the book on which the film was based, Ian Cameron (pen-name for Donald Payne), also wrote Walkabout, which became a much-loved Jenny Agutter movie. I agree with the previous reviewer about the effects, at least regards the dreaded volcanic eruption. But the model shots of the airship Hyperion are still pretty good. There are some other nice touches, notably the way the Vikings are presented as superstitious but basically decent types. Also, it's deeply satisfying that the only person who's killed is a religious bigot who brings it on himself. (Thank you, Disney, for creating such a child-friendly argument for separating church and state.) Ah, they don't do escapism like they used to.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not a bad film, 27 Feb 2011
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P. D. Willetts (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Island At The Top Of The World [DVD] [1974] (DVD)
Not a bad film at all, despite some overacting by Donald Sinden, special effects are a bit iffy, but who cares, a nice way to pass the time.
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5.0 out of 5 stars TIATTOTW, 21 Mar 2014
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This review is from: The Island At The Top Of The World [DVD] [1974] (DVD)
I have always liked films of this genre Excelent story great filminf . A film for all the family to enjoy.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Easy Viewing, 17 Jun 2012
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This review is from: The Island At The Top Of The World [DVD] [1974] (DVD)
Easy to watch film, unbelievable but entertaining. No sex or violence. The sort of film you could watch with your Grandma and kids.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Island At The Top Of The World [DVD] [1974], 30 Jan 2011
By 
RM Brewer "astraray" (Christchurch,Dorset,UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Island At The Top Of The World [DVD] [1974] (DVD)
Good Old Fashon Story,The Island At The Top Of The World [DVD] [1974] Good For The Kids An Adults Alike
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars good, 25 Jan 2013
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This review is from: The Island At The Top Of The World [DVD] [1974] (DVD)
small amount of damage when plays but does not drasticaly detract from vewing pleasure.story content very good brings back fond memorie
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 22 July 2014
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This review is from: The Island At The Top Of The World [DVD] [1974] (DVD)
very good
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 19 July 2014
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This review is from: The Island At The Top Of The World [DVD] [1974] (DVD)
very good
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The Island At The Top Of The World [DVD] [1974]
The Island At The Top Of The World [DVD] [1974] by Robert Stevenson (DVD - 2004)
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