The bold and daring Journey to the Center of the Earth Trivia Quiz!


By: Julie Medina

4 Min Quiz

Image: TMDB

About This Quiz

Explore an adventure film adapted from the Jules Verne novel. Recall dangerous whirlpools, dinosaurs, the lost city of Atlantis, lava eruptions, a murderer, and more in this bold and daring trivia quiz.

What is the name of the professor who is a geologist at the University of Edinburgh?

The movie is set In Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1880, where Professor Sir Oliver Lindenbrook is a geologist at the University of Edinburgh. Sir Oliver Lindenbrook is played by James Mason, a top UK box office attraction in 1944 and 1945, and then one of Hollywood's biggest stars. His films included The Desert Fox, A Star Is Born, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Lolita, North by Northwest, Prisoner of Zenda, Journey to the Center of the Earth, Bigger Than Life, Julius Caesar, Georgy Girl, The Deadly Affair, Age of Consent, Heaven Can Wait, The Boys from Brazil, The Verdict, Mandingo, Murder by Decree, and Salem's Lot. He was nominated for three Academy Awards and three Golden Globes (winning the Golden Globe in 1955 for A Star is Born).


Who gave Sir Oliver Lindenbrook a rock that proved to be quite a riddle?

Sir Oliver Lindenbrook is given a piece of volcanic rock by his admiring student, Alec McEwan. Alec McEwan is portrayed by Pat Boone, an American singer, composer, actor, writer, television personality, motivational speaker, and spokesman. He was a successful pop singer through the 1950s and early 1960s. He sold over 45 million records, had 38 Top 40 hits, and appeared in more than 12 Hollywood films.


Why was the rock unusual?

The volcanic rock was extremely heavy, which is quite unusual. Instead of slowly heating up the rock to shed its outer core, the lab assistant carelessly exploded the furnace with the rock inside, splitting open the rock and revealing the additional weight that was inside. The lab assistant is portrayed by Ben Wright, an English actor in radio, film, and television.


What was inside the rock?

It was a plumb bob with writing on it. It was written by a scientist named Arne Saknussemm who, almost 300 years earlier, found a passage to the center of the Earth. The inscription told them where to find the entrance which would need to be used for this journey. Wondering what a plumb bob is? It’s a weight, usually with a pointed tip on the bottom, that is suspended from a string and used as a vertical reference line.


Where did Arne Saknussemm find this passageway?

The passage to the center of the Earth is found by descending into Snæfellsjökull, a volcano in western Iceland. However, the underground scenes were not filmed in Iceland. They were filmed at Carlsbad Caverns National Park in the Chihuahuan Desert of southern New Mexico. It features more than 100 caves.


How does this become a race to the center of the earth?

When Professor Goteborg receives correspondence from Lindenbrook, he chooses to steals the idea for the expedition and begins acquiring equipment. At the same time, Count Saknussemm meets with Professor Goteborg, demanding that, as Arne Saknussemm’s descendant, he has the right to claim the expedition. All the while, Sir Oliver is champing at the bit to begin the expedition.


Who does Sir Oliver take with him on the expedition?

Sir Oliver takes Alec with him. But before they leave, Alec announces his engagement to Sir Oliver’s daughter, Jenny, and asks for Sir Oliver’s blessing. Jenny worries the entire time they are gone. Jenny is portrayed by Diane Baker, an actress and producer who has appeared in motion pictures and on television since 1959. Her career-long film contributions are too long to name, from The Diary of Anne Frank in 1959 to The Silence of the Lambs, The Joy Luck Club, The Cable Guy, The Net, and A Mighty Wind. On TV, through 2012, she played the mother of the lead character in House.


What happens when Sir Oliver and Alec get to Iceland?

They get abducted and held at an eider feather storehouse. They are rescued by Hans and his duck, Gertrude, who then accompany them on their journey to the center of the earth. Gertrude the duck won a PATSY award. The letters are an acronym for Performing Animal Television Star of the Year. The very first recipient of a PATSY was Francis the Talking Mule in 1951, in a ceremony hosted by Ronald Reagan at Hollywood's Carthay Circle Theater.


What happens when Sir Oliver and Alec visit Professor Goteborg in his room?

Sir Oliver and Alec find Göteborg dead in his room at an inn. Sir Oliver finds some potassium cyanide crystals in Göteborg's goatee and concludes that he has been murdered. The role of Sir Oliver was meant to be played by Clifton Webb. According to Walter Reisch, the co-screenwriter, “Clifton Webb went to the hospital for a checkup, and they never let him out. He had to undergo major surgery. Unless my memory fails me completely, it was a double hernia…”


How does Göteborg's widow learn the truth about Sir Oliver’s involvement with the expedition?

Göteborg's widow initially believed Lindenbrook was trying to capitalize on the work of her deceased husband. However, she learns the truth from her husband's diary. James Mason reportedly had little patience with the diva personality of Arlene Dahl. The relationship between the two on and off the set was very similar.


How does Goteborg’s widow, Carla, join the expedition?

Carla (Arlene Dahl), makes a hard bargain with Sir Oliver. She wants to be part of the expedition to represent her husband, because she feels that her life is over since he died. The deal is agreed upon and she provides the equipment and supplies Göteborg had gathered. Arlene Dahl, who portrays Carla, reached the peak of her popularity and success in the 1950s. Her films include Reign of Terror, Three Little Words, and Slightly Scarlet. She was a staple on TV through 1999, starring in everything from The Love Boat to being a game show panelist on What’s My Line.


What does the mark look like that Arne Saknussemm makes on the path to guide them to the center of the earth?

They are aided by the three straight notches chiseled into the stone by Arne Saknussemm, showing the path he took 300 years before. Sir Oliver’s name in the original novel (French language) was Otto Lidenbrock, a German. In the movie, it was changed to Oliver Lindenbrook, a Scotsman. The name of his assistant Axel was Caledonized into Alec. (This was done because of historical hindsight, as 19th-century Scots had become known as the best field geologists, with Germans preferring lab-bound geology.)


Who trails the group secretly, with his servant?

Count Saknussemm, an unsavory man, secretly trails the group with his servant. When Alec becomes separated from the others, he almost trips over Saknussemm's dead servant. Thayer David, who portrays Count Saknussemm, was a film, stage, and television actor. He was best known for his work on the cult ABC serial, Dark Shadows (1966–71), and as fight promoter George Jergens in the 1976 film, Rocky.


Who gets shot by Count Saknussemm?

When Alec refuses to be the dead servant’s replacement, Saknussemm shoots Alec in the arm. Lindenbrook locates Saknussemm from the reverberations of the sound of the shot, and Alec is reunited with the expedition. Alexander Scourby was the original Count Saknussemm, but the producers were unhappy with him and he was replaced with Thayer David.


Count Saknussemm is sentenced to death by the group for killing his servant, but what ends up happening?

Although the expedition team sentences him to death, no one is willing to execute Count Saknussemm, so they bind him and reluctantly take him along. He quickly frees himself from the ropes that bind him. Besides filming in the Carlsbad Caverns National Park, other shooting locations included Amboy Crater and Sequit Point, California, as well as Edinburgh, Scotland.


What caused the flooding in the crystal cavern?

No one had to worry about Gertrude the Duck when the cavern flooded, because she simply floated on top of the water. The actual cause was Sir Oliver’s chipping off a piece of crystal from the wall. Did you ever wonder what happened to Gertrude the Duck? Gertrude retired to a small Italian farm, to the south of Venice.


To get the raft into the sea, what did the expedition have to escape?

They had to escape a family of dimetrodons - dinosaurs. Hans used a whale harpoon to kill one of the dimetrodons, which the other dimetrodons happily ate, not noticing their prey was getting away on a raft. The dimetrodons in the movie were played by a large type of lizard called a rhinoceros iguana. It is about 3-6 ft. long and is kept as a pet in many places. Dimetrodon in real life was a type of Synapsid reptile. It reached about 12 feet in size and lived in Western North America.


What did they use to construct a raft, to navigate the underground sea?

Giant mushrooms grew in the underground world, with stems as hard as trees. These stems were used to craft a raft to navigate the underground sea. Pat Boone (Alec) recalled the whirlpool scene: “James Mason, Arlene Dahl, Peter Ronson, and I were on a raft, caught in a giant whirlpool. It was a tricky thing to shoot — the raft was on a revolving platform that tilted when it went around. It had to look like we were being tossed violently. Hundreds of gallons of water were being dumped on us to simulate a stormy sea.”


How did they know they were in the exact center of the earth in the whirlpool scene?

They knew the expedition was in the exact center of the earth when the metal started flying off the raft. Carla lost her ring and all the equipment disappeared into the wind. Speaking of the whirlpool scene, Pat Boone said that the noise was deafening, but not enough to drown out Dahl, who started screaming as she held on for dear life. She screamed at the director, Henry Levin, "Get me off this thing. Get me down. I’m going to pass out!" Dahl became unconscious and it took 30 minutes to revive her.


What did Hans lose in the magnetic field?

The professor deduces that they are at the center of the Earth because the magnetic forces from north and south are meeting, and they are strong enough to snatch away even gold in the form of wedding rings and tooth fillings. Hans Belker is played by Peter Ronson, an Icelandic-born athlete and actor. He competed in 110-meter hurdles at the 1960 Summer Olympics. As an actor, this was his only film.


What did Alec lose in the whirlpool scene?

Alec lost his concertina, a small musical instrument played by stretching and squeezing between the hands to work a central bellows that blows air over reeds, each note being sounded by a button. The concertina was given to him by his fiancé, Jenny. Did you know that an additional song, "The Faithful Heart" by Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen, sung by Pat Boone, was cut from the final print?


What happens to Gertrude once the raft reaches land?

Completely exhausted from surviving the whirlpool, the expedition reaches the opposite shore and falls asleep. While the others are asleep, a hungry Saknussemm catches and eats Gertrude the duck. When Hans finds out, he rushes at the count, but he is pulled off by Lindenbrook and McEwan.


Who says this about sleep? "I don't sleep. I hate those little slices of death."

Count Saknussemm says: "I don't sleep. I hate those little slices of death." This is a variation of an Edgar Allan Poe quote: "Sleep, those little slices of death; Oh how I loathe them." The Count doesn’t need much sleep, only four hours, and that is why he can get up to no good while the others sleep. Including eating a duck.


How does Count Saknussemm meet his death?

Reeling back, Saknussemm loosens a column of stones, which collapses and kills him. Right behind the collapse, the group spies the sunken city of Atlantis. While many believe the story is a myth created by Plato to illustrate his theories about politics, others insist it is based on a real historical disaster. According to Plato's account, written around 360BC, Atlantis was a major sea power located in the Atlantic. Atlantis eventually falls out of favor with the gods and submerges into the Atlantic Ocean.


Whose body do they find in the remains of the sunken city of Atlantis?

They find the remains of Arne Saknussemm. Since it has been 300 years, he is a skeleton and they can easily see why he never returned - there is a prominent break in his leg. Arne Saknussemm had almost made it back out from the center of the Earth. But even in death he was helpful to those who would come after him, because the finger of his skeleton points toward a passage to the surface. They decide that they will have to break a giant rock blocking their way, using gunpowder left by Saknussemm.


When a giant megalosaurus attacks them, how do they escape?

A giant megalosaurus attacks them, but then it is killed by the lava released in the explosion to open the passageway. Luckily, they are all in the large sacrificial altar bowl that floats on the lava. The bowl is driven upward at great speed by the lava. They reach the surface through a volcanic shaft and get thrown into the sea, except for Alec, who lands naked in a tree in the orchard of a convent. The megalosaurus was actually a painted Tegu lizard.


Who says this? “Are we to be abducted every day in Iceland?”

Carla wants to talk to both Alec and Sir Oliver but Hans cannot convey a message that they understand. So he picks them both up and delivers them to Carla. After the first abduction that landed them in a feather storehouse, one can understand why Sir Oliver says this. This film was an expensive investment. Fox gave the green light to this big-budget CinemaScope production, partially on the basis of the success of the recent Jules Verne adaptations, Walt Disney's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954) and Michael Todd's Around the World in Eighty Days (1956).


Who is talking to Count Saknussemm? Count Saknussemm: “I resent that bourgeois classification. I'll spare your lives. You have my word of honor.” “Give me your hand on that.” [he throws salt into Count Saknussemm's eyes] “A bourgeois trick. So sorry.”

Sir Oliver meets Count Saknussemm, who holds a gun on him and the rest of the expedition. Sir Oliver outwits him by throwing salt in his face to blind him. When the salt hits his face, he closes his eyes (too early) before impact. The salt hits the right side of his face. Then you’ll see a continuity mistake. There is an angle change and we see a close-up of him (or a stunt double - his hair is different) and the salt hits the actor squarely in his face with his eyes open to the last microsecond. The scene changes back to show Sir Oliver and the Count with the salt on the right side of his face again and him in agony.


Who says this? "Do you realize we know less about the earth we live on than about the stars and the galaxies of outer space? The greatest mystery is right here, right under our feet!”

Sir Oliver says this in his speech when he is honored for returning safely and discovering the center of the Earth. After the speech, he tells Carla that he needs her to record his memoirs as he can’t do it alone without someone jogging his memory. Then they kiss, showing they have fallen in love with each other during the expedition.


Who is the woman talking to? “Did you get your injuries when the volcano blew up, in the hot lava?” “Oh no. No, it happened in Edinburgh at our wedding.”

Alec has a broken leg and a woman from the crowd is talking to him after Sir Oliver’s speech. Jenny happily adds to the conversation, “He was in such a hurry leaving the church, he fell all the way down the steps.” Woman: “Oh! You poor wee bride. After all that waiting. It's been no marriage for you at all.” Jenny: “You underestimate Alec.” Did you know many of the people in the crowd scenes were students of Edinburgh University?


Who says this? “You've had enough! Well, let me tell you, you... you dried up walnut of a man, if anyone's had enough, it's me!”

Carla Göteborg says this to Sir Oliver during their travels underground. It didn’t take much acting as they both disliked each other. In fact, Mason (Sir Oliver) thought that the behavior of Dahl (Carla) was similar to a prima donna personality. According to Pat Boone, when Mason had to wear very heavy parkas, feigning winter during very hot July weather, Dahl complained of heat prostration.


Who says this, “Listen, young foreigner, I don't have to steal what belongs to me. You're in my world now.”

Count Saknussemm says this to Alec when Alec accuses the Count of stealing Sir Oliver’s information to get to the center of the Earth. Speaking of Alec (Pat Boone), did you notice that when Alec falls out of a tree, naked, he is wearing skin-colored foot thongs on his feet so he won't cut himself on the fallen tree branches? Such are the hazards of working nude.


What did the critics think of the film?

The film received positive reviews from critics, as most liked it. On the review aggregator, Rotten Tomatoes, 83% of critics gave the film positive reviews, with the general consensus being that Journey to the Center of the Earth is "a silly but fun movie with everything you'd want from a sci-fi blockbuster – heroic characters, menacing villains, monsters, big sets and special effects."


What did the fans think of the film?

The audience liked it enough to make it a financial success. On a budget of $3.4 million it earned $5 million at the box office. Pat Boone says he was reluctant to make the film because it was science fiction, even after Fox promised to add some songs. It was only when they offered him 15% of the profits that he agreed, at the urging of his management. He said, "Later on, I was very glad I did it, because it was fun to do, it had some good music and it became a very successful film."


How many Academy Award nominations did this film receive?

Journey to the Center of the Earth was nominated for three Academy Awards, for Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Best Effects, Special Effects and Best Sound. It won a second-place Golden Laurel award for Top Action Drama in 1960.


Explore More Quizzes

About Zoo

Our goal at is to keep you entertained in this crazy life we all live.

We want you to look inward and explore new and interesting things about yourself. We want you to look outward and marvel at the world around you. We want you to laugh at past memories that helped shape the person you’ve become. We want to dream with you about all your future holds. Our hope is our quizzes and articles inspire you to do just that.

Life is a zoo! Embrace it on