At the Earth’s Core, from the Edgar Rice Burroughs novel, is an okay fantasy adventure film. Made in England, it’s a fast-paced, slightly tongue-in-cheek tale about stalwart hero Doug McClure’s battles with underground monsters. There’s old-fashioned rooting interest in the outlandish exploits of McClure and his doddering old professor sidekick, Peter Cushing, who goes through the entire ordeal carrying his umbrella.
Pic takes place in the Victorian Era, charmingly evoked at the beginning when The Iron Mole, McClure and Cushing’s experimental earth-boring contraption, embarks on a test mission. The machine goes awry, and they wind up in the land of Pellucidar, becoming slaves to a race of bird-like creatures. McClure falls in love with Caroline Munro, another captive.
Director Kevin Connor keeps the right balance of humor and straightforward adventure in the story, never making the fatal mistake of condescending to his plot or his audience.