Culture Magazine

The Island at the Top of the World (1974)

By Newguy

The Island at the Top of the World (1974)Director: Robert Stevenson

Writer: John Whedon (Screenplay) Donald G Payne (Novel)

Starring: David Hartman, Donald Sinden, Jacques Marin, Mako, David Gwillim, Agneta Eckemyr

Plot: In 1907, four explorers discover a lost colony of Vikings in the Arctic.

Tagline – Adventure beyond imagination

Runtime: 1 Hour 33 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Dated Adventure Journey

Story: The Island at the Top of the World starts when Sir Anthony Ross (Sinden) is determined to find his son that went to the Artic, he recruits Professor Ivarsson (Hartman) and with Captain Brieux (Marin) to make the journey in his flying zeppelin. The men head to the north where they find the small settlement where the missing son stopped by at with the guide Oomiak (Mako) knowing where he went.

The journey takes them to an island with Vikings living in peace, not being welcoming of visitors believing they will be trying to conquer them. It soon becomes a race for survival for the explorers.

Thoughts on The Island at the Top of the World

Characters – Professor Ivarsson is an expert on culture and language, he is almost forced into going on this expedition, where he gets to show off all the skills he has, while being wowed by the new location they find. Sir Anthony Ross has put together the expedition in hopes of finding his son, who has been missing for two years. He has always used his position of power and money to get what he wants and must learn to let his son live his own life. Captain Brieux is the captain of the zeppelin, he might have his own style which does clash with Anthony’s but he will take the risks others would consider. Oomiak is a local guide that is known as the most fearless in the land, he is the generic local figure that understands weak English.

PerformancesThe performances for the most part do feel very British, while that might be what the film was targeting, it does have a lot of, the idea that these people are better than anyone else, Donald Sinden is the highlight of this because he will get laughs from just how over the top he actually is in the performance. David Hartman doesn’t show that much charisma which might have made his character more interesting. Jacques Marin get laughs with his role, while Mako gets the laughs, he is capable of something much more entertaining.

The Island at the Top of the World (1974)

StoryThe story here follows four explorers that go in search of a mysterious island in the Artic, this will take people from different backgrounds to an unknown location with an unknown threat which they must survive. The story does feel like it is just another version of ‘Journey to the Centre of the Earth’ or ‘The Lost World’ which can be entertaining to watch, but they aren’t the most challenging of films to watch once you have seen a few. This story does feel tamer, while trying to bring a more realistic balance with the threat being Vikings, which could work with the number of tribes around the world that don’t want human contact. The story does rely on how the visuals of the settings look with most of the running scenes which just takes more away from the story’s impact on us.

Adventure/Fantasy/Sci-Fi The adventure side of the film is searching for a new world, this is always going to be appealing and once we see the new world, we are left with our jaw dropped at how beautiful it is. The fantasy sci-fi elements mix together as they show how a community of people could have survived in an isolated location away from the world for so long.

SettingsThe film does rely heavily on the settings which do look wonderful, we have the open ice location before we hit the land which is a thing of beauty, even if certain parts involving peril could have looked even more threatening.

The Island at the Top of the World (1974)

Scene of the Movie –
The escape.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The dated special effects.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most British attempts at a brand-new adventure idea, it is filled with stunning locations which only end up leaving us feeling like we have seen this all before.

Overall: The Brits will lead the way.


The Island at the Top of the World (1974)


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