THE INCREDIBLE PETRIFIED WORLD
The Incredible Petrified World is an incredibly dull and uninteresting film. Jerry Warren demonstrates a singular lack of directorial style. Often scenes like those aboard the ship or with the crew stranded on the ocean floor in the diving bell seem to have simply involved his pointing the camera in the general direction of the actors and turning it on. Even then, there is little action the film seems to consist of no more than the four actors standing around in the downed diving bell or the caves talking and occasional cuts back to John Carradine on the ship. There are some underwater-shot scuba diving scenes that go on for a long time these would no doubt have been of more interest in the late 1950s when the first commercially available aqualung sets were just coming on the market but today are monotonous.
The underground scenes have been filmed in the Golden Caves of New Mexico but Warren shoots these in the dullest way imaginable. The film belies its title there is no petrified world, just a series of caves, and the dreariness of the show is about as far away from being incredible as you could imagine. There is no real underground journey as you get in these underground/lost world films just the characters sitting around in 2-3 different caves. Most other lost world films pump the adventure aspect up with the discovery of lost cities, vast caverns and geological phenomena, or dinosaurs and primitive tribes. The most we get here is the single shot of a komodo dragon although at least there is the lost world genres cliche of an exploding volcano at the end. Indeed, The Incredible Petrified World has the oddity of being promoted as a science-fiction film when in actuality it holds a premise people descending to the ocean floor and discovering a series of caves that falls well within the realms of geological possibility.
John Carradine had a horror career during the 1940s but a decade later his alcohol problems meant that he was taking roles in numerous B and Z movies like this. He once laid claim to having made the greatest number of films of any actor alive and his career runs like a checklist of signing on to work with some of the worst directors out there. He has a laidback role that gives the impression it was shot in a couple of days notedly, he does not ever appear in the films title location. The film also features Robert Clarke who had a minor career in genre films of the 1950s such as The Man from Planet X (1951), Captive Women (1952), The Astounding She-Monster (1958) and Beyond the Time Barrier (1960), and even directed The Hideous Sun Demon (1959). There is also Phyllis Coates who was Lois Lane in the first season of the George Reeves Adventures of Superman (1952-8). Coates was replaced later in the series but maintained a small B movie career. When it came to The Incredible Petrified World, she claimed that Warren, a former boyfriend, tricked her into appearing here after the original actress quit the production. (It may be of significance that she plays the bitchy and hostile member of the party. She also manages to spend the entire film, including going scuba diving and exploring a series of underwater caverns, while wearing a set of pumps).
Full film available online here:-