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Unknown World (1951)

Approved | | Adventure, Sci-Fi | 26 October 1951 (USA)
Scientists use a gigantic drilling machine for an expedition to the center of the earth.


Terry O. Morse (as Terrell O. Morse)


Millard Kaufman (original screenplay)


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Complete credited cast:
Bruce Kellogg ... Wright Thompson
Otto Waldis ... Dr. Max A. Bauer
Jim Bannon ... Andy Ostergaard
Tom Handley Tom Handley ... Dr. James Paxton
Dick Cogan ... Dr. George Coleman
George Baxter ... Carlisle Foundation Chairman
Marilyn Nash ... Dr. Joan Lindsey


Dr. Jerimiah Morley becomes convinced that the world is headed to an inevitable worldwide nuclear war. He organizes an expedition made up of a team of expert scientists and an atomic-powered rock-boring vehicle called a "cyclotram" to find a subterranean environment where holocaust survivors could live indefinitely. When funding falls through, independently rich adventurer Wright Thompson underwrites the project under the condition that he be allowed to go. As the group goes deeper beneath the Earth's crust, personalities clash, tempers flare, and the dangerous journey claims the lives of several expedition members. When they come upon an enormous underground expanse with its own ocean and phosphorescent light, it appears that their goal has been achieved. Written by Gabe Taverney {duke1029@aol.com)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A Journey to the Center of the Earth (original poster) See more »


Adventure | Sci-Fi


Approved | See all certifications »






Release Date:

26 October 1951 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Night Without Stars See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Lippert Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Watch carefully as the cyclotram passes rock formations. It passes many identical rock formations as video clips are reused. See more »


The "science" regarding the interior of the earth is wrong, and was known to be wrong at the time the movie was made. It does not get cooler the deeper one goes into the earth. A few feet below the surface the ground temperature is around 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Going deeper from that depth the temperature goes up at a rate of approximately 1 degree Fahrenheit per 70 feet. See more »


Dr. Jeremiah Morley: Go back to what? To a world bent on self destruction? We can live the rest of our lives here in peace.
Dr. Joan Lindsey: Morley, you're wrong! This isn't peace! This is a resting place for the living dead! I don't believe it's the end of the world! I don't believe it's the end of mankind!
Dr. Jeremiah Morley: You're young! You don't know! I've lived through the terrors of two great wars! I've had enough!
See more »

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User Reviews

Very surprising
13 January 2009 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

The film begins with some stock footage about nuclear war and is part of a presentation scientists are making in order to drum up support for an ark, of sorts, to be sent deep within the planet. This way, in case we have a nuclear war, the species can survive deep inside mother Earth. The story, at times, is highly reminiscent of Jules Verne's JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH.

When I rented this film, I assumed based on the box cover that it was a typical low-budget 1950s sci-fi/horror film. However, to my surprise, there were no bug-eyed monsters, alligators or lizards with cheap fins pasted on or silly masked ghouls. While it certainly did not have a huge budget, the film made a genuine effort to entertain, have SOME basis in scientific facts of the day and say something about mankind. While some might find this all pretty dull, I actually enjoyed it more than I thought and in hindsight I am glad the usual silly and schlocky monsters and such were missing. Now this isn't to say this is a masterpiece. Occasionally, the characters behave a bit silly--such as their needlessly bickering (which makes no sense for such an expedition) and the science behind all this is suspect (such as the lack of differences in air pressure, the presence of drinkable water as well as breathable air over a thousand miles inside the Earth and their ability to ascend at an incredible rate without exploding!). Still, it is oddly compelling and the acting (while they weren't arguing) was pretty good. Plus, unlike JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH, it's nice NOT to see dinosaurs and other creatures waiting to greet our heroes.

Final verdict--well worth a look and a decent time-passer despite some limitations.

PS--This film is from Alpha Video--one of the worst producers of DVDs out there. Fortunately, unlike many of their films which are scratchy public domain prints, this one is a very good copy and is very watchable.

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