Fantastic Voyage (1966)

Fantastic Voyage — classic sci-fi adventure on Talking Pictures TV

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Classic sci-fi adventure Fantastic Voyage (1966) comes to Talking Pictures TV later this week

Coming at 9pm on September 30 to Talking Pictures TV is Fantastic Voyage, one of very few science fiction movies made in the 1960s. If you check Rotten Tomatoes, it scores a huge 91% with critics (against 67% with the audience), and in our view the critics are taking the wider historic context into account. Here’s the Rotten Tomatoes summary of the plot:

The brilliant scientist Jan Benes (Jean Del Val) develops a way to shrink humans, and other objects, for brief periods of time. Benes, who is working in communist Russia, is transported by the CIA to America, but is attacked en route. In order to save the scientist, who has developed a blood clot in his brain, a team of Americans in a nuclear submarine is shrunk and injected into Benes’ body. They have a finite period of time to fix the clot and get out before the miniaturization wears off

The film inspired a short-lived cartoon series and the idea has been used here in there since. It’s a classic Cold War style story with some of the dated production values of the time, so Raquel Welch is very much portrayed as the one woman (audiences could also see a lot of her in the other cult classic from 1966 One Million Years BC), though in this film her part is actually played down the line, with a minimum of ’50s style woman in lab coat in glasses screams the genre was known for previously.

The effects are all models and camera work, and tell a decent story (we were still some way from having 2001 arrive in cinema) and while a modern CGI version would no doubt look better, there’s a solid story, well told. It’s adapted from a story by Otto Clement and Jerome Bixby, written by Harry Kleiner and went on to pick up five Oscar nominations, winning Best Visual Effects and Best Art Direction on Color.
You can watch a trailer while you set your recorder.