Set in 1907, this Disney film opens in London, where wealthy aristocrat Sir Anthony Ross (Donald Sinden) hires visiting American archaeologist Professor Ivarsson (David Hartman) for an expedition to the North Pole.
It seems Sir Anthony’s estranged son, Donald (David Gwillim), disappeared while investigating reports of a mysterious island in the Arctic, rumoured to be adjacent to a mythical bay where whales go to die.
Sir Anthony also hires French aviator Captain Brieux (Jacques Marin), who has built a propeller-driven airship – the Hyperion – to provide the expedition’s transportation.
Arriving in the Arctic after a few in-flight scares, Sir Anthony’s team discovers that Donald made contact with Vikings who have lived in a valley that’s heated by a nearby volcano for a thousand years. They call their remote outpost ‘Astragard’ and do not take kindly to strangers dropping by!
Things pick up during the extended chase/escape sequence in the final third of the movie, with our heroes sliding down chutes inside ice floes, running from lava, and surviving an attack by a pod of killer whales.
The acting is perfunctory (David Hartman retired from acting and became a long-running Good Morning America anchor), but the vintage FX create an almost surrealistic quality while the composer Maurice Jarre keeps things lively with a robust score.
Sir Anthony Ross
Sverre Anker Ousdal
Chief of Boat Archers