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Exploring the Unknown

Dr. Daniel Hembree and Dr. Patrick O’Connor discussed exploring the unknown, the value of field work in science, and the use of the Earth as a natural laboratory before a screening of the original 1959 Journey to the Center of the Earth.

About the film

Based on the 1864 Jules Verne’s novel, James Mason stars as amusingly absent-minded professor Oliver Lindenbrook, whose first step on a fabulous journey is prompted by a lump of lava brought to him by his student Alec McEwen (Pat Boone). Melting down the curiously composed lump, Lindenbrook discovers a hastily scrawled message from long-lost explorer Arne Saknussem, with directions for reaching the earth’s core. Accompanied by Carla (Arlene Dahl), widow of a famed geologist, and Icelandic guide Hans (Peter Ronson), Lindenbrook and Alec head down, down below. They are closely followed by the villainous Count Saknussem (Thayer David), descendant of the lost explorer who wrote the directions; the count hopes to use Lindenbrook’s discoveries for his own personal and political gain. What follows is a festival of superb special effects, fabulous subterranean sets, and gigantized reptiles posing as dinosaurs, all brilliantly accompanied by Bernard Herrmann’s ominous musical score.

About the speakers

Dr. Daniel Hembree is an associate professor in the Department of Geological Sciences at Ohio University, where he teaches courses in general geology, ichnology, and paleopedology. He earned a BS in geology from the University of New Orleans in 1999, and a master’s and PhD in the Department of Geology at the University of Kansas.


Dr. Patrick O’Connor is a paleontologist in the Department of Biomedical Sciences at Ohio University. He combines fossil studies in the lab with field research in Madagascar, Tanzania, Egypt, Zimbabwe, and Antarctica. Primarily focused on predatory dinosaurs and birds, his work advanced traditional fossil interpretations by his research examining how different soft-tissue systems influence the size and shape of features preserved on dinosaur skeletons.



Science on Screen® is an initiative of the Coolidge Corner Theatre, with major support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The Science on Screen program pairs films with a short talk with a scientist or technology expert. The free Science on Screen events are fun and engaging, offering dynamic speakers an unexpected jumping point to teach their field of expertise in a way that is accessible to a diverse audience.


Free admission to this event is provided by Arts for OHIO.


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Running Time: 132 Minutes132 MIN
This Film is Wheelchair Accessible

It's one of the very best Hollywood adventure movies, with lots of monsters, underground oceans, sinister villains, and touches which would have delighted Jules Verne himself.

Geoff Andrew
Time Out