Fantastic Voyage, 1966

In August of 1966, the classic science fiction movie “Fantastic Voyage” was first premiered. “Fantastic Voyage” was really quite a revolutionary movie when it came out.  Up until that time, throughout the 50’s and early 60’s,  science fiction features were mostly relegated to Drive-In-B movies. But “Fantastic Voyage” was a 20th Century Fox experiment that turned into a big success. In fact, in 1966, Stephen Boyd was lucky enough to part of two of the top grossing movies of the year – “The Bible” was #1, and “Fantastic Voyage” was #22 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1966_in_film#Top-grossing_films_.28U.S..29). This also confirmed Stephen Boyd’s undeniable Hollywood status as a stalwart, handsome leading man in a massive studio production. It was an expensive looking movie with a very good cast, including Stephen Boyd, Donald Pleasence, Arthur Kennedy, Edmond O’Brien, and newcomer (soon to be 60’s icon) Raquel Welch. It took a completely out of this world idea of shrinking a scientific crew to microscopic size and inserting them into the bloodstream of a patient who needed a blood clot operated on inside the brain. It was filmed at Fox Studios, and also at the Los Angeles Sports Arena, which substituted as the inside of the fictional C.M.F.D.M. headquarters. Even though now the ‘lava lamp’ special effects look somewhat dated, this movie still looks exquisite, especially on blu-ray. The sleek, zippered, sexy white uniforms the cast wears look perfectly modern by today’s standards. The studio even enlisted the iconic science fiction writer Isaac Asimov to write the movie-tie in book to give the film additional clout.  This movie paved the way for more and more high-end popular science fiction films of the late 60’s and into the 70’s, including Charlton Heston’s “Planet of the Apes’ in 1968.  Without the success of ‘Fantastic Voyage”, the world of science fiction movies may have looked very different!

 

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