Crack in the World 1965 2010 Horror Movie Review
Horror movies Review
The plot of Crack in the World is pretty simple (and cliched): Dr. Stephen Sorenson (Dana Andrews) plans to tap the geothermal energy of the Earth’s interior by detonating a thermonuclear device deep within the Earth despite the dire warnings of Scientist Ted Rampion (Kieron Moore). Naturally, things go wrong and the Earth’s crust cracks, threatening to split the planet in half. Millions die and dozens overact as doomsday approaches. Add to that the fact that Andrews is dying of cancer and that Moore is in love with Andrews’ young pretty wife Maggie (Janette Scott) and suddenly Irwin Allen and Roland Emmerich look like masters of subtlety in comparison.
I saw Crack in the World when I was ten on TV. It’s pretty bad when, even at that young age, you realize just how stupid the plot and dialogue really are. At one point, the audience is treated to this exchange:
Sir Charles Eggerston (Alexander Knox): The question now is not who is to blame, but how we can stop the catastrophe.
Dr. Ted Rampion: At present we don’t know any way we can stop it. First, we have to learn to understand the natural forces involved, and if possible, find some way to control them in the time that is permitted to us.
Sir Charles Eggerston: What is being done? Now?
Dr. Ted Rampion: Every university, every scientist, every thinking military leader is helping us.
Sir Charles Eggerston: Is there anything that we can do?
Dr. Ted Rampion: Pray.
Not exactly All About Eve quality dialogue, is it? I certainly wasn’t unusually sophisticated or mature for my age, but even back then I rolled my eyes and laughed.
But for me, the highlight of the movie—the scene that transformed Crack in the World from a serious sci-fi/disaster film to an unintentional comedy—was when Moore devises a plan to stop the crack. How does he attempt to save the world? No, not by using a giant band-aid, but by detonating another nuclear weapon in the path of the advancing crack. In this sequence, Moore demonstrates his plan with a large piece of plywood with a circle cut in the center. Theoretically, Moore states, the crack will stop when it reaches the large hole caused by the second nuclear explosion. As a ten year old, I remember watching the scene and saying out loud, “That’s stupid—won’t the explosion just cause the crack to move faster?” Not that I claim to be smarter than any scientist—even a fictitious scientist—but this plan seemed akin to trying to stop the bleeding by sticking a razor blade into the wound. Sure enough, the crack accelerates and a large chunk of the Earth splits off forming a new moon. Of course, I learned later than with the tectonic plates, the Earth’s surface is full of cracks already and that gravity would prevent a chunk of the planet’s surface to split off. However, even with the limited knowledge I had at that early age, I already realized just how stupid the plot was.
Andrews, of course, was in classics like Laura and The Best Years of Our Lives. Moore and Scott were together in the far superior Day of the Triffids. The director, Andrew Marton, helmed The Longest Day and was a second unit director on Ben-Hur, Catch-22, Kelly’s Heroes, and The Day of the Jackal. In other words, Crack in the World isn’t something that would rank high on the resume of anyone involved. In the annals of unintentional comedy, however, it’s a masterpiece.