That was Variety's assessment of Crack in the World when it was released in 1965. I pretty much agree, although time has been kind to this well-made, modestly-budgeted science fiction film. In retrospect, it is one of the better sci fi efforts of the 1960s, though certainly not in the same category as the somewhat similar The Day the Earth Caught Fire.
|Dana Andrews as Dr. Sorenson.|
His colleague, Ted Rampion (Kieron Moore), adamantly opposes that plan, claiming the explosion will trigger ruptures in existing fissures created by previous nuclear tests. Sorenson ignores Rampion's warnings and, after securing permission by a government commission, he detonates the atomic bomb. Without minutes, an earthquake creates a crack in the Earth's crust that travels along a fault line at 3 miles per hour--threatening to literally cut the Earth in half.
|Rampion (Kieran Moore) in the volcano.|
The film's human elements don't work as well. The terminally-ill Sorenson pushes away his younger wife--right into the arms of her former lover Rampion. If it was because he was concerned about her future happiness, he might come across as sympathetic. As it is, Sorenson remains an egotistical genius ("I have an opportunity to turn the pages of history"), who becomes consumed by guilt after his actions result in thousands of lost lives.
|Janette Scott as a blonde.|
Shot in Spain, Crack in the World looks more expensive than its budget. Much of that credit belongs to Eugène Lourié, who received credits for both art direction and special effects. Born in France, Lourié first gained fame as an art director working with Jean Renoir on classics such as Grand Illusion (1937). He moved to America during World War II and worked on films ranging from the The House of Fear (with Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes) to Charles Chaplin's Limelight. Lourié also directed occasionally, with his best work being another above-average 1960s sci fi film Gorgo.