Fantastic Voyage 1966 ***


Richard Fleischer’s sci-fi adventure is a novel twist on the usual outer-space shenanigans; when defecting diplomat Jan Benes (Jean De Val) is picked of by a bullet in a Kennedy-style motorcade, scientists decide to miniaturise a team of submariners who enter Benes body and attempt to fix a blot clot on the inside. As if the stakes aren’t high enough for Stephen Boyd and his men, one of the team is a woman (Raquel Welsh); the notion of sharing professional space with a woman seems to cause everyone as much consternation as being miniaturised. Once inside Benes’ body, Fleischer uses his old-school Hollywood know-how to create some strikingly colourful imagery around this playful conceit, allows Donald Pleasance to indulge his special gift for having a good freak-out under pressure. The setting of films inside the body is a very minor sub-genre (Inner Space, Osmosis Jones), and Fantastic Voyage is the granddaddy of them all, with a remake inevitable but unlikely to retain the kitsch appeal.