Fantastic Voyage


1h 40m 1966
Fantastic Voyage

Brief Synopsis

A team of scientists shrinks to remove a blood clot from the brain of a defecting scientist.

Film Details

Genre
Drama
Adaptation
Sci-Fi
Release Date
Jan 1966
Premiere Information
Los Angeles opening: 24 Aug 1966
Production Company
Twentieth Century--Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 40m
Sound
Mono (Westrex Recording System)
Color
Color (DeLuxe)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1

Synopsis

In 1995 Czech scientist Jan Benes escapes from behind the Iron Curtain and is brought to the United States for interrogation. U. S. scientists are able to reduce objects, including people, to the size of bacteria, but the miniaturization can be sustained for only 60 minutes. The Czech scientist has learned the secret of prolonging the miniaturization; but before he reveals this knowledge, he sustains a severe brain injury which can be treated only from within his body. A plan is conceived whereby a crew of five will be placed in an atomic-powered submarine, miniaturized, injected into the scientist's bloodstream, and set on a course through the arteries to the brain. In addition to American secret agent Grant, the crew consists of Dr. Duval, the surgeon who will perform the operation; Cora Peterson, his assistant; Dr. Michaels, a circulatory expert; and Captain Owens, the sub's pilot. To save some of the 60 minutes, the group decides to stop the scientist's heart to allow the submarine to pass through the heart. Then Grant and the crew leave the sub, and by means of a snorkel tube attached to the patient's lungs, replenish their oxygen supply. As they near their destination, a nurse in the operating room drops a pair of surgical scissors, and the sound causes tremendous vibrations in the sub that hurl the crew from their positions. With only 6 minutes left, Dr. Michaels reveals himself to be an enemy agent intent on sabotaging the mission. The remaining crew members escape as white corpuscles envelop and digest both the submarine and Michaels. The operation is successfully performed by removing a blood clot with a laser beam, and the four survivors leave the scientist's body by swimming along the optic nerve and emerging through a tear duct.

Photo Collections

Fantastic Voyage - Lobby Card Set
Fantastic Voyage - Lobby Card Set
Fantastic Voyage - Novelization
Here is the Bantam novelization of Fantastic Voyage (1966) by noted science fiction author Issac Asimov.

Videos

Movie Clip

Fantastic Voyage (1966) - There Should Be A Tremendous Surge Knocked off course by an undetected medical condition, supervised by military brass Arthur O’Connell and Edmond O’Brien, the crew of the miniaturized submarine (Arthur Kennedy, Stephen Boyd, Donald Pleasence, Raquel Welch, William Redfield) attempt to shoot through the temporarily stopped heart of their Cold War defector patient in Fantastic Voyage, 1966.
Fantastic Voyage (1966) - Opening, Benes After a dramatic jet landing, joining director Richard Fleischer’s artful opening, briefly introducing Stephen Boyd, and Jean Del Val as the defector Benes, from Fantastic Voyage, 1966, also starring Raquel Welch, Edmond O’Brien, Arthur Kennedy and Donald Pleasence.
Fantastic Voyage (1966) - An Ocean Of Life The big moment as the miniaturized submarine is injected into the bloodstream of the ailing Cold War defector, William Redfield the pilot, Arthur Kennedy, Donald Pleasence and Raquel Welch the medical crew, Stephen Boyd the CIA man along for security reasons, in director Richard Fleischer’s Fantastic Voyage, 1966.
Fantastic Voyage (1966) - About The Size Of A Microbe Colonel Arthur O’Connell tangles with doctors Arthur Kennedy and Donald Pleasence, as General Edmond O’Brien introduces spy Grant (Stephen Boyd), to the crew, including Raquel Welch and William Redfield, all planning to miniaturize a submarine to perform emergency surgery on a valuable defector, in Fantastic Voyage, 1966.
Fantastic Voyage (1966) - Combined Miniature Deterrent Forces We have the general impression that Stephen Boyd is a CIA man, summoned unexpectedly to a giant underground facility where General Carter (Edmond O’Brien) explains the problem, indirectly introducing Arthur Kennedy, Raquel Welch and Donald Pleasence, early in Fantastic Voyage, 1966.

Hosted Intro

Film Details

Genre
Drama
Adaptation
Sci-Fi
Release Date
Jan 1966
Premiere Information
Los Angeles opening: 24 Aug 1966
Production Company
Twentieth Century--Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 40m
Sound
Mono (Westrex Recording System)
Color
Color (DeLuxe)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1

Award Wins

Best Art Direction

1966

Best Special Effects

1967

Award Nominations

Best Cinematography

1966

Best Editing

1966
William B Murphy

Best Sound Editing

1967

Best Sound Effects Sound Editing

1966

Articles

Fantastic Voyage


With an opening title card that would make P.T. Barnum and William Castle proud, Fantastic Voyage begins its cinematic voyage by informing the viewers: "this film will take you where no one has ever been before." Before explaining that along with some of the amazing things on the horizon--like going to the moon, viewers may one day live to see miniaturized doctors swimming inside human bodies. Or not. Interestingly, that opening phrase sounds a lot like the famous opening of Star Trek released on television just a month after Fantastic Voyage, but completed before either side knew the importance of those words. And, yes, the movie did take viewers where they had never been before and, and with a few exceptions, never went again, which is what makes Fantastic Voyage such a unique movie.

The movie began a couple of years before its release with a story treatment that got expanded by famed science fiction author, Isaac Asimov. In writing the screenplay, Asimov felt there were too many compromises and plot holes with the story and asked if he could write a novel based on the story. While novelizations are now commonplace, at the time it was confusing to many viewers, especially since the novel came out first. The reason was because of multiple delays on the set and the speed with which Asimov put the novel together. Both have the same story, but Asimov's book version explains a few things in detail that his screenplay does not.

The story of Fantastic Voyage is fantastic indeed. Both the US and the USSR have developed science for miniaturizing people and objects, but in the case of the United States, only temporarily. After a short while, the people revert back to their normal size. However, a Soviet scientist, who holds the secret to permanently miniaturizing people, has escaped the USSR and been recovered by the CIA. An assassination attempt leaves him with a blood clot on the brain. Rather than risk surgery, they miniaturize a team of specialists who take a miniature sub into his body, make their way to the brain and dispatch of the clot, all before reverting to normal size and thus killing the scientist.

As sci-fi plots go, Fantastic Voyage is a very clever retelling of the exploration theme as well as the ticking time-bomb trope. It's a crew of explorers bounding into undiscovered landscapes, but on a mission that has a countdown attached. Taking that idea and turning it inwards to the human body was definitely a new approach to the theme. Although there was an I Dream of Jeannie episode (no, really) released before the movie that had Captain Nelson (Larry Hagman) on the set of a movie about a miniaturized astronaut going into the body of a Soviet spy, the treatment for Fantastic Voyage was already underway. Besides, after the success of The Incredible Shrinking Man, it was only a matter of time before adventurous tales of miniaturized protagonists hit the big screen again.

Playing the roles of the miniaturized biological warriors and coordinating military team was an assorted cast of old pros and fresh newcomers. There was Stephen Boyd, Edmund O'Brien, Arthur Kennedy, Arthur O'Connell, Donald Pleasence and new bombshell sensation, Raquel Welch. At the time, casting Welch was considered the creation of a new Hollywood sex symbol, but as her theatrical career before and after showed, including her successful run on Broadway in Woman of the Year, she was a well-trained actress who comes off extremely well against her more seasoned colleagues.

Pleasence is superb as always, and O'Connell and O'Brien do their level best to take the proceedings seriously without becoming too overheated. O'Connell succeeds for his part, O'Brien gets a little overheated. Boyd and Kennedy provide the steady core of the movie and while no one will ever say it's their best work, it's pretty good nonetheless.

Behind the camera was the talented pro, Richard Fleischer, whom in 1954, put Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea up for Disney and it still stands as one of the best adventure movies ever made. In fact, the Proteus, the miniaturized sub for Fantastic Voyage,was designed by Harper Goff, the very same artist who designed the Nautilus for 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. To say Fleischer does an excellent job is to state the obvious, but it still must be remarked that this type of story in the wrong hands can come off as exceptionally silly and amazingly, Fantastic Voyage does not.

There were a few other movies that later explored similar themes, most notably Inner Space (1987) and Osmosis Jones (2001), but none succeeded quite like Fantastic Voyage. The movie's logical flaws (things left behind in the body that should have killed the scientist when they expanded back to normal size) don't detract as much as amuse. And no, we never did see miniaturized doctors swimming around the blood streams of their patients, but we did get to see a story so fantastic it's still a voyage worth taking every time.

Director: Richard Fleischer
Producer: Saul David
Screenplay: Harry Kleiner and David Duncan
Art Direction: Dale Hennesy and Jack Martin Smith
Cinematography: Ernest Laszlo
Editing: William B. Murphy
Original Music: Leonard Rosenman
Principal Cast: Stephen Boyd, Raquel Welch, Edmund O'Brien, Donald Pleasence, Arthur O'Connell, William Redfield, Arthur Kennedy, Jean Del Val
C-100m.

By Greg Ferrara
Fantastic Voyage

Fantastic Voyage

With an opening title card that would make P.T. Barnum and William Castle proud, Fantastic Voyage begins its cinematic voyage by informing the viewers: "this film will take you where no one has ever been before." Before explaining that along with some of the amazing things on the horizon--like going to the moon, viewers may one day live to see miniaturized doctors swimming inside human bodies. Or not. Interestingly, that opening phrase sounds a lot like the famous opening of Star Trek released on television just a month after Fantastic Voyage, but completed before either side knew the importance of those words. And, yes, the movie did take viewers where they had never been before and, and with a few exceptions, never went again, which is what makes Fantastic Voyage such a unique movie. The movie began a couple of years before its release with a story treatment that got expanded by famed science fiction author, Isaac Asimov. In writing the screenplay, Asimov felt there were too many compromises and plot holes with the story and asked if he could write a novel based on the story. While novelizations are now commonplace, at the time it was confusing to many viewers, especially since the novel came out first. The reason was because of multiple delays on the set and the speed with which Asimov put the novel together. Both have the same story, but Asimov's book version explains a few things in detail that his screenplay does not. The story of Fantastic Voyage is fantastic indeed. Both the US and the USSR have developed science for miniaturizing people and objects, but in the case of the United States, only temporarily. After a short while, the people revert back to their normal size. However, a Soviet scientist, who holds the secret to permanently miniaturizing people, has escaped the USSR and been recovered by the CIA. An assassination attempt leaves him with a blood clot on the brain. Rather than risk surgery, they miniaturize a team of specialists who take a miniature sub into his body, make their way to the brain and dispatch of the clot, all before reverting to normal size and thus killing the scientist. As sci-fi plots go, Fantastic Voyage is a very clever retelling of the exploration theme as well as the ticking time-bomb trope. It's a crew of explorers bounding into undiscovered landscapes, but on a mission that has a countdown attached. Taking that idea and turning it inwards to the human body was definitely a new approach to the theme. Although there was an I Dream of Jeannie episode (no, really) released before the movie that had Captain Nelson (Larry Hagman) on the set of a movie about a miniaturized astronaut going into the body of a Soviet spy, the treatment for Fantastic Voyage was already underway. Besides, after the success of The Incredible Shrinking Man, it was only a matter of time before adventurous tales of miniaturized protagonists hit the big screen again. Playing the roles of the miniaturized biological warriors and coordinating military team was an assorted cast of old pros and fresh newcomers. There was Stephen Boyd, Edmund O'Brien, Arthur Kennedy, Arthur O'Connell, Donald Pleasence and new bombshell sensation, Raquel Welch. At the time, casting Welch was considered the creation of a new Hollywood sex symbol, but as her theatrical career before and after showed, including her successful run on Broadway in Woman of the Year, she was a well-trained actress who comes off extremely well against her more seasoned colleagues. Pleasence is superb as always, and O'Connell and O'Brien do their level best to take the proceedings seriously without becoming too overheated. O'Connell succeeds for his part, O'Brien gets a little overheated. Boyd and Kennedy provide the steady core of the movie and while no one will ever say it's their best work, it's pretty good nonetheless. Behind the camera was the talented pro, Richard Fleischer, whom in 1954, put Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea up for Disney and it still stands as one of the best adventure movies ever made. In fact, the Proteus, the miniaturized sub for Fantastic Voyage,was designed by Harper Goff, the very same artist who designed the Nautilus for 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. To say Fleischer does an excellent job is to state the obvious, but it still must be remarked that this type of story in the wrong hands can come off as exceptionally silly and amazingly, Fantastic Voyage does not. There were a few other movies that later explored similar themes, most notably Inner Space (1987) and Osmosis Jones (2001), but none succeeded quite like Fantastic Voyage. The movie's logical flaws (things left behind in the body that should have killed the scientist when they expanded back to normal size) don't detract as much as amuse. And no, we never did see miniaturized doctors swimming around the blood streams of their patients, but we did get to see a story so fantastic it's still a voyage worth taking every time. Director: Richard Fleischer Producer: Saul David Screenplay: Harry Kleiner and David Duncan Art Direction: Dale Hennesy and Jack Martin Smith Cinematography: Ernest Laszlo Editing: William B. Murphy Original Music: Leonard Rosenman Principal Cast: Stephen Boyd, Raquel Welch, Edmund O'Brien, Donald Pleasence, Arthur O'Connell, William Redfield, Arthur Kennedy, Jean Del Val C-100m. By Greg Ferrara

Quotes

Yet all the suns that light the corridors of the universe shine dim before the blazing of a single thought -
- Dr. Duval
- proclaiming in incandescent glory the myriad mind of Man...
- Grant
Very poetic, gentlemen. Let me know when we pass the soul.
- Dr. Michaels
The soul? The finite mind cannot comprehend infinity - and the soul, which comes from God, is infinite.
- Dr. Duval
Yes, well, our time isn't.
- Dr. Michaels
The medieval philosophers were right. Man is the center of the universe. We stand in the middle of infinity between outer and inner space, and there's no limit to either.
- Dr. Peter Duval

Trivia

Isaac Asimov was approached to write the novel from the script. He perused the script, and declared the script to be full of plot holes. Receiving permission to write the book the way he wanted, delays in filming and the speed at which he wrote saw the book appear before the film. Asimov fixed several plot holes in the book version, but this had no effect on the film (see the Goofs entry).

The scenes of crewmembers swimming outside the sub were shot on dry soundstages with the actors suspended from wires. There was some additional hazard involved because, to avoid reflections from the metal, the wires were washed in acid to roughen them, which made them more likely to break. To create the impression of swimming in a resisting medium, the scenes were shot at 50% greater speed than normal, then played back at normal speed.

As a college student, director Fleischer was a pre-med student for a time.

When filming the scene where the other crew members remove attacking antibodies from Ms. Peterson for the first time, director Fleischer allowed the actors to grab what they pleased. Gentlemen all, they specifically avoided removing them from Raquel Welch's breasts, with an end result that the director described as a "Las Vegas showgirl" effect. Fleischer pointed this out to the cast members -- and on the second try, the actors all reached for her breasts. Finally the director realized that he would have to choreograph who removed what from where, and the result is seen in the final cut.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States July 1966

Released in United States Winter January 1, 1966

Released in USA on video.

CinemaScope

Released in United States Winter January 1, 1966

Released in United States July 1966