The 1970s, pre-Star Wars, was a golden age for film adaptions of the works of H.G. Wells and Edgar Rice Burroughs (Non-Tarzan.) After the release of Star Wars, in 1977, these films, and their kind fell by the wayside, which I consider a downright shame, and a loss for the genre.
Many of these adaptions featured a host of stars recognizable for other genre films, especially from Hammer House horror films. Production values vary from “pre-ILM Good” to laughable, but they always had heart and often some very good performances, given the low budgets and production time-constraints. This adaption of ERB’s classic Fantasy-Science Fiction novel, “At The Earth’s Core” is no exception. With excellent work by the always-dependable genre actor Doug McClure, and the unimpeachable talent of Peter Cushing and the classic Hammer-House regular, and classic genre actress (and a personal crush,) Caroline Munro, this is a classic you have to see, if you’re a fan of Fantasy-Science Fiction!
As always, Wikipedia gives us the full breakdown…
At the Earth’s Core is a 1976 fantasy–science fiction film produced by Britain’s Amicus Productions. It was directed by Kevin Connor and starred Doug McClure, Peter Cushing and Caroline Munro. It was filmed in Technicolor, and based on the fantasy novel At the Earth’s Core, by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the first book of his Pellucidar series, in token of which the film is also known as Edgar Rice Burroughs’ At the Earth’s Core. The original music score was composed by Mike Vickers.
Dr. Abner Perry (Peter Cushing), a British Victorian period scientist, and his US financier David Innes (Doug McClure) make a test run of their Iron Mole drilling machine in a Welsh mountain, but end up in a strange underground labyrinth ruled by a species of giant telepathic flying reptiles, the Mahars, and full of prehistoric monsters and cavemen.
They are captured by the Mahars, who keep primitive humans as their slaves through mind control. David falls for the beautiful slave girl Princess Dia (Caroline Munro) but when she is chosen as a sacrificial victim in the Mahar city, David and Perry must rally the surviving human slaves to rebel and not only save her but also win their freedom.