20000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954) Other movies recommended for you
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Plot: A ship sent to investigate a wave of mysterious sinkings encounters the advanced submarine, the Nautilus, commanded by Captain Nemo. Runtime: 127 mins Release Date: 23 Dec 1954
A parable, an exemplary sci fi story, a classic tragedy (by tom_amity)
This is by far the most literate, the most moving, and the most cinematically sophisticated film Disney has ever made. Those of the reviewers at this IMDb site who dismiss it as a kiddie movie, or who sneer at the special effects "time has not been kind" to this film, one of them says; according to another, "the thrill is gone" seem simply prejudiced, rather like those who automatically deride any film that features Charlton Heston or deals with a biblical theme. It is indeed quite amazing that any special effects filmed in 1954 would continue to stack up so well. I <more>
suppose Lucas or Spielberg could improve on the giant squid today, but so what? The acting is almost uniformily superb, although I seem to be in the minority in my opinion that Kirk Douglas' yo-ho-ho cliché sailor is rather wooden. v. following paragraph James Mason portrays Captain Nemo as a tragic hero in the classic sense, neither "byronic" nor a "mad scientist": a man so far ahead of his time that the world can only see his invention as a monster to be hunted with harpoons---and yet he is so tragically wounded by the whose malice and envy of lesser men that he has indeed become, in some ways, a monster. Paul Lucas is equally heartrending as Professor Arronax, the good-hearted bourgeois academician who truly believes that anyone can be made to "see reason" and become, in effect, a nice guy. Between these huge opposites are the robust common man of action, Ned Land "Nemo's cracked", "I want to escape!" , the Professor's worry-wart servant, Conseil Peter Lorre , and Nemo's equally devoted, spookily laconic First Mate Robert J. Wilkes . I may as well say at the outset that to my mind the characterization of Ned Land, along with Kirk Douglas' stiff and utterly unnuanced portrayal, remains the major fault of the film. I would have liked to have seen an attempt at capturing Verne's taciturn Ned, half-mad from the tension between his enforced submarine claustrophobia and his romantic longing to once again swab a deck, reef a sail, or entrust himself to winds and currents; indeed, according to the novel's Aronnax, Ned's recitals of his adventures are worthy of a "Homer of the North". Most unfortunately, the wisecracking, womanizing Ned of the film seems to reflect Douglas' momentary screen persona more than Verne's character, since it bears so little resemblance to the latter. Also, the fact that Douglas out-bills Mason in credits and advertisements is as weird as the ubiquitous poster art in which Douglas' head is two sizes larger than Mason's. Leaving aside my pet peeve i.e., Douglas , there are many Shakespearean qualities here in addition to the tragedy of Nemo. For one thing, much of the action takes place inside the characters' heads: First Arronax, Conseil and Land analyze Nemo, assaying a most dangerous attempt to ferret out his motivations. Then Nemo analyzes Aronnax who, almost in retaliation, develops his own analysis of Nemo. Then Conseil and Land analyze Aronnax analyzing Nemo. Meanwhile, the claustrophobia of the submarine boat acts on their minds like an amphetamine drug, causing the latter to function more and more frantically for good or ill. Also like Shakespeare, the dialog and it is wonderful dialog, grave but also lively with repartee and wordplay--just see the digest of quotes preceding these reviews! alternates with comic relief and action scenes. As to the former, worry-wart Conseil is extremely funny, one of my favorite lines being his dismissal of Ned's message-in-a-bottle idea: "That went out with Robinson Crusoe! This is the nineteenth century!" And action scenes, as the famous fight with the giant squid, serve the same purpose as the ghosts, sword fights, etc. that the Bard provided for the groundlings---so that it is indeed "family entertainment"; people of all ages can watch this film with pleasure. Masterfully, the film contains almost precisely the necessary updating to make the story meaningful to modern audiences. The common notion that Verne foresaw atomic power is certainly apocryphal; the Vulcania scenes are adapted from Verne's novel Facing the Flag, even if his super-nitroglycerine "Fulminator" is replaced here by nuclear fission. Nonetheless, Verne's speculations on power do make a good symbolic match with the notion of atomic energy, birthing a very credible meditation on the nineteenth century in the light of its successor. The somber and frighteningly beautiful finale causes us to wonder just at what point before 1900 this or that fateful corner was turned.
Disney Filming Verne's Masterpiece (by theowinthrop)
If one wants to read the best edition in English of Jules Verne's TWENTY THOUSAND LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA, the edition to turn to is edited by Mr. Walter Miller, and published by Washington Square Press. Miller did a wonderful job at showing how the editions of the novel have been bowdlerized over the last 137 years it was published in 1870 by translators who were determined to dampen the anti-imperialist/anti-British theme of the novel. Miller who also did the definitive modern edition of FROM THE EARTH TO THE MOON did the first edition about 1985 and the second edition in the <more>
1990s.Someone, at the start of the novel, has been attacking various ships on the seven seas, ramming them from underwater. In several cases the ships almost been sunk in the movie one is blown up . Yet the culprit, from the descriptions of survivors, seems to be a monstrous fish or sea serpent. An expedition is sent out by the U.S. government under a Captain Farragut Ted De Corsia here , in the brig U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln. On board is harpooner Ned Land Kirk Douglas , Professor Pierre Arronax of France an expert on oceanography - played by Paul Lukas , and Arronax loyal servant Conseil Peter Lorre . Despite the doubts of Captain Farragut, Arronax is certain it must be a serpent. Eventually the Lincoln is attacked by the strange creature and Land, Arronax, and Conseil are thrown off the brig and land on the "creature". It turns out to be a submarine boat, and it's owner and navigator is Captain Nemo James Mason . Although at first willing to sink his boat below the ocean's surface to allow the three men to drown, he changes his mind - but insists that they are now his prisoners. And the three are taken on a cruise of the world's seas by Nemo for the rest of the novel.Now, it was a novel written in 1870. At that time submarines were experimented with, but with indifferent success. Cornelius Drebbel had built a successful one that was tried in the Thames in the 17th Century. David Bushnell's "Turtle" had tried to sink a British frigate in New York Harbor in 1776. Robert Fulton had designed a successful submarine in 1802, and tried to interest first England and then France in his weapon. In 1859 a French submarine was tried out. Then in 1864 although it is doubtful if Verne knew about it the Confederate hand-cranked submarine C.S.S. Hunley successfully sank the U.S.S. Housatonic in the first successful submarine attack in war. The problem was that submarines looked flimsy as opposed to the strong looking frigates and naval surface craft at the time including early ironclads . Also, to be truthful, there seemed something sneaky about warfare under water.But Verne took it one step farther - the submarine "Nautilus" is designed for comfort, not only for warfare more hereafter . It has luxurious accommodations like a parlor with organ, a museum of various nautical curiosities, a library, staterooms for Nemo, his guests, and his crew. So far, in the 108 years since John P. Holland's submarine was bought by the U.S., the idea of a luxury yacht submarine has not caught on yet - particularly the parlor has a thick glass window to allow you to see the creatures of the sea like in a vast fish bowl.Verne did mention electricity as the key to the motion power of the ship - the film suggests Nemo has discovered a new power to move the engines i.e. "atomic" . Verne never dealt with atomic power - one of the few examples of a lack of imagination that Verne ever showed. He was a firm believer in modes of propulsion that one could see and feel - hence his attack on H.G.Wells' use of "cavourite" in the FIRST MEN IN THE MOON, which was a chemical based on hydrogen. Verne's moon cannon "the Columbiad" worked with gun-cotton.The key to the novel was the political attack on imperialism - in particular British. In the attacks of the Nautilus on the ships, it does the worst damage to British based ships. The reason is that Nemo is an ex-Indian Prince named Dakar from the Sepoy Revolt. Unless you read the complete novel you do not realize that the Prince lost his wife and children in the reprisal killings of the Sepoy Revolt, and he and his men are cruising the seas doing damage to the British Empire financing anti-British activity throughout the empire when they can . The explorations of the seas is secondary to the political reasons for Nemo's actions.Some of the adventures of the Nautilus and it's crew and passengers are exciting, but now are dismissed as false. The submarine cruised under the ice to reach the South Pole - actually it would not get far due to the Antarctic continent. But in the 20th Century the U.S.S. Nautilus the first nuclear powered submarine cruised under the ice to reach the North Pole in the 1950s.Mason gives a good performance as the tormented Nemo, who is basically a good man but is consumed by hatred although it is never made clear why . Douglas is good as a happy go lucky but realistic sailor, who is determined to escape. Also this film is one of the few where Douglas sings "A Whale of a Tale" . Peter Lorre does well as Lucas' servant, who gradually realizes that his employer has become besotted by the "learning experience" of staying with Nemo forever - Lucas forgets the danger he and his associates are in. The special effects, for 1954, are first rate - and the film remains quite effective. It is possibly the best film ever made out of a Jules Verne novel.
When I was 13, I visited Disney World as a present for my graduation from elementary school. I was already too old, and I was rather annoyed at most of it. Particularly annoying was the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. It had the longest line and, when I finally got on the ride, it was utterly boring. It also takes longer than all of the other rides, as well. Well, the movie on which the ride is based is fortunately much more fun and you could probably watch it thrice in a row from the time you step into the ride's line up to the moment you get back off the thing! . It's actually one of <more>
the best films Disney ever put its name on, counting both live action and animation. In fact, the only one I can think of off hand that I definitely prefer is Mary Poppins. A good deal of 20,000's success can probably be found in Jules Verne's novel. I have a feeling that a lot of the dialogue and plot were left intact I know some of it was changed . The script and dialogue are enormously literate. Disney films rarely if ever express this much intelligence and depth. It would only equal half the movie, though, if the lead actors weren't aboard. Kirk Douglas, Paul Lukas, Peter Lorre, and James Mason are at their bests here. Douglas and Mason in particular give stellar performances Lukas' character is more of an observer and Lorre is, well, Lorre, but both have great scenes . Douglas plays Ned Land, a harpooner and the sole survivor of a ship's crew which was attacked by the Nautilaus. He's energetic and funny, and he also effectively communicates his dilemma as someone who has no real purpose on the ship, and is thus disposable. Heck, Kirk even sings a great song, believe it or not! Mason plays Captain Nemo, a character that became so archetypical afterwards that he might seem somewhat cliche to some. But Mason has some of the most amazing line readings. Richard Fleischer's direction is quite good. The film also benefits from an obviously enormous budget, as the production values are awe-inspiring. Take for example a scene in which the Nautilaus begins to sink. We see various bolts burst and pipes bend. We see the details when they repair the ship. And the giant squid attack is actually quite well done. The special effect technology is a bit crude at the time a goofy rubber shark thankfully only appears in one shot , but the squid's enormous tentacles look and move realistically, or at least as realistically as one can demand for a film from this period. I'm telling you, don't ignore this movie just because Disney produced it and you can only get it in one of those giant plastic retard cases. It's a great, great film. 10/10.
There's something out there roaming the Pacific Ocean destroying a whole lot of shipping and killing a lot of people. The more maritime the nation, the more losses it's suffering. Jules Verne's story has the United States of America taking the first crack at finding what's going on in the Pacific.On a ship commanded by Ted DeCorsia are two Frenchmen, renowned scientist Paul Lukas and his assistant Peter Lorre. Also along is Kirk Douglas who is crack whaling harpooner. Of course they meet up with the beast and it's no living thing, but a submarine. This was all new back <more>
then, although prototype submarines were used in the Civil War they had limited effectiveness. In fact this particular kind of submarine was something unheard of until the middle of the last century. It's captain is a misanthropic fellow named Nemo, played by James Mason. He's taking it out on the nation's of the world for some personal losses sustained. His brilliance as a scientist, his refinement also attracts Paul Lukas. But Kirk Douglas just wants to escape because for all of Douglas's carefree philistinism, he sees Nemo as a murderer and a menace. The conflict between both is what drives the story.20,000 Leagues Under the Sea won Oscars for both Special Effects and Art direction. It is probably Walt Disney's most successful live action film ever done, even beating out Mary Poppins dare I say. Even in this day of computer generated effects, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea still holds its own with more modern films.Kirk Douglas enjoyed the part of Ned Land the harpooner and it's a favorite of his today. He might have made a few more films for Walt Disney but for an incident that took place after the film. Disney was also at the same time creating his first theme park, Disneyland in Anahem, California. When it was opening he invited Kirk and his family to spend the day there on him and he even agreed to furnish a camera crew to follow the Douglas family around as they enjoyed the park attractions. So Kirk took his wife and his sons and they had a grand old time and got some free home movies as a souvenir. But Walt Disney kept the negative and the films showed up on his Walt Disney Presents television show. Of course Kirk never got paid for this appearance and neither did any of the rest of his family including young Michael Douglas. Even though this left a sour taste in Kirk Douglas's mouth as he related in his memoirs, The Ragman's Son, he liked his work in this film very much and the part certainly has the same kind of exuberance we expect from a Kirk Douglas movie. Kirk even gets to sing in the film, a nice little sea chantey called A Whale of a Tale. He even made a record of it and I'm sure if you can find it, the item might be worth a few dollars as a collectible.Right around the time 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea was released the United States Navy launched it's first atomic submarine. In tribute to that most popular of French authors with American audiences, the Navy named the ship the Nautilus. A great tribute to a great writer of fabulous tales of imagination. And Walt Disney couldn't have gotten better publicity had he paid for it.Don't believe me, I swear by my tattoo.
Great DVD Makes This Fun Again (by ccthemovieman-1)
One of the first movies, along with "Shane," that I ever saw as a young kid that I still watch and enjoy today is this one. One of the reasons I still enjoy it is the wonderful restoration job someone did in the latest DVD that was released in 2004.Of course, it's not as exciting as seeing this on the big screen as a youngster, but it's still entertaining thanks to the intelligent dialog of James Mason, the humor believe it or not of Peter Lorre and the good special effects. The submarine is still neat to watch, particularly at night with the green glow to it. I <more>
haven't seen anything like it since. I haven't seen a giant squid attacking a boat, either, come to think of it. That still is pretty cool.I don't find this movie "spectacular" as its reputation but it's still a very worthy addition to any movie buff's collection. It's one of the classics of the '50s that has been revived with this great-looking DVD which also has some interesting extra features.
_20,000 Leagues Under the Sea_ is probably the greatest novel by the father of the entire science fiction genre.I happen to own an "annotated edition" of the novel. Its editor explains that French and other European readers take Verne more seriously as an author than do most Anglophones, who consider him a writer for boys. The latter verdict is unfortunate and can be blamed on incompetent translators and disrespectful publishers. For one thing, they mangled technical passages which they did not understand, causing critics to disparage unjustly the science in Verne's science <more>
fiction. Secondly, they completely omitted many passages of shrewd social commentary from Verne's original French.It is true that Disney was not altogether faithful to details in the novel. But in other ways, I found him confronting his viewers, young though they were, with questions of uncommon sophistication and probity, just as did the real Jules Verne. Disney pulled no punches with respect to the moral ambiguity of all three of his major characters. They are not hero-white and villain-black. To say they are shades of gray does not do justice to their vividness. Let us say that they are zebras. McCarthyites must have squirmed to see a film which made kids think so hard about what one should or shouldn't do in the name of science, or of fighting slavery, or of escaping incarceration.Another striking aspect of this screenplay is how it is reminiscent of Sartre, a major philosopher in the 1950s. His play _Huis Clos_ No Exit was published only ten years earlier. In connexion with this play, Sartre stated his view that a portrayal of several mutually incompatible characters condemned to live together forever would make for gripping drama if I am not mistaken, he said that this should be "the perfect drama." This is exactly the situation which Nemo, Arronax, and Land face in the _Nautilus_; and it is remarkable how tightly the dialogue concentrates on the ramifications of this predicament. Hardly a word escapes their lips which does not allude to it."Children's" films have seldom gone deeper than this, in any sense.
Disney`s version of 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA is rightly remembered for the classic scene featuring the giant squid , but it should be remembered for more than that . Captain Nemo is a wonderfully written anti-hero who`s what would be described nowadays as an environmentalist , but don`t dare confuse him with being some sort of yogurt knitting tree hugger because this is a man waging a violent crusade against warmongers and anyone else he sees fit to exterminate . It`s a really intriguing character study and Nemo is played superbly by James Mason . Compare Mason`s performance as Nemo to <more>
that of Steven Seagal`s role as ecowarrior Forrest Taft in ON DEADLY GROUND . Done so ? A laughable contrast isn`t it . Kirk Douglas may disappoint as Ned Land but his real function is to act as a physical square jawed hero alongside the academic and somewhat ambigious Professor Arronnax.I also appreciated the fact that Disney resisted the temptation to invent a child character in order to make the film appeal to children more by way of audience identification , nor is there any sort of mawkish sentiment or frivolity that`s spoiled many a Disney film . In fact this is such an exciting thoughtful adventure if it wasn`t for the presence of a seal I wouldn`t have believed it was a Disney film .Did I mention there`s a great battle with a giant squid ?
Douglas' song neatly sums up the whole Disney venture... (by Nazi_Fighter_David)
The film begins in 1868 as news of a mysterious and puzzling phenomenon sweeps the nautical world... Tales of vessels being swiftly destroyed by this apparition reach the public mind... American government and an armed frigate is sent to destroy the mysterious 'thing', most of the time phosphorescent, and infinitely larger and more rapid in its movements than a whale...But the monster sinks the frigate and only three survivors find themselves aboard 'a floating island' which inflamed their minds... The three survivors were: a roguish sailor Kirk Douglas , an oceanic professor <more>
Paul Lukas , and his assistant, Conseil Peter Lorre . The three men also find that their host, the enigmatic Captain Nemo James Mason , is a cultured, hospitable gentleman whose big ambition is to destroy the world, which he despises... His splendid ship, the futuristic Nautilus, is a technological, self-sustaining wonder, enabling its crew to investigate worlds hundreds of fathoms beneath the surface...In their involuntary roles as prisoner-guests, the trio is invited to tour the wonders of the deep... and the walk freely on the bottom of the sea... Although the professor and Conseil are content to remain aboard to take advantage of the knowledge gained, the 'prince of harpooners' was eager to escape and get back to his own way of life... Douglas makes his great escape when the Nautilus stops at a lonely island but savage cannibals chase him back to the safety of Nemo's ship...Seizing every opportunity to get away, Douglas inserts notes containing the location of Nemo's secret island, in bottles and tosses them hopefully into the sea... One of the notes finds its way to the Navy...'20,000 Leagues Under the Sea' deserves acclaim for its futuristic insight... It is the finest visualization so far of a Jules Verne fantasy...According to Verne, the Nautilus gathered all the treasures of nature and art, with the artistic confusion which distinguishes a painter's studio... Kirk Douglas is at his best as the extravagant harpooner, occasionally violent and very passionate when contradicted...With his uniquely expressive voice, James Mason is brilliant as the dark genius, who put himself beyond the pale of human laws, defying all attempts made against him...Paul Lukas looks like a very curious intruder, absolutely astounded to pass his time in this mystic garden of the deep, on board the land of marvels... Peter Lorre is quite funny as the true, devoted servant, who despite his name, never giving advice, even when asked for it...At one point in the picture Douglas sings "Whale of a Tale," which neatly sums up the whole Disney venture..
Exciting and thrilling submarine movie dealing with the Nautilus captained by Nemo masterfully played by James Mason (by ma-cortes)
Magnificent adaptation based on Jules Verne's fantasy-adventure novel with good cast and extraordinary scenarios . New take on for cinema , filmed in Cinemascope widescreen with agreeable casting and an awesome James Mason as Nemo. The film talks about the known story from Jules Verne novel and previously rendered in a silent film . 1868 ,the oceans are no longer safe , many ships have been lost, the sailors have returned to New England's fishing port with tales of vicious giant whale with long horn . The naturist and biologist expert named professor Pierre Aronnax Paul Lukas and <more>
assistant Conseil Peter Lorre undertake a dangerous mission . Aronnax and his helper , along with a professional whaler named Ned Land Kirk Douglas join forces in an expedition commanded by captain Farragut Ted De Corsia that attempts to unravel the mysterious sinking ships by an unknown creature . Aboard the ship called USS Abrahan Lincoln , they go out to investigate . At sea, Professor Aronnax was aboard the ship when Nautilus rammed it and threw the Professor, his helper and Ned Land into the water .Their ship is sunk and are captured and get thoroughly involved with power-hungry captain Nemo James Mason and take an extraordinary adventure underseas in an advanced submarine called Nautilus. Prisoners at first, they are now treated as guests to view the underwater world and to hunt under the waves. Nemo will also tells them about the riveting submarine of the future and the revenge that has driven him for all these years .This fantastic movie displays sensational adventures, drama, intrigue, marvelous scenarios and is pretty enjoyable. Fascinating submarine movie blends action, , disaster spectacle, hokey fun ,suspense and emotional happenings . Our heroes incarnated by a throughly believable casting of the first-rate character players get stuck in the ship before the island explodes , undergoing numerous adventures and suffering innumerable perils . Surprise-filled entertainment and with plenty of action on grand scale with breathtaking special effects and some ships and submarine by maquette or scale model . The underwater scenes , explosions , pyrotechnics, flood , flamboyant FX to make large-size Octopus seem like horrible monster , all of them are spectacular and the film is another exceptional Hollywood product . However, overlong runtime is not boring but is entertaining and amusing . Memorable and great cast as James Mason plays a serious revenger captain Nemo ; Paul Lukas plays perfectly Annorax as intelligent scientific ; and Ned Land played by Kirk Douglas as an obstinate , stubborn sailor who spends most of their time devising intelligent ways for escape , in addition singing a catching song titled ¨A whale for a tale ¨ . Atmospheric and vivid score by Paul Smith . Colorful cinematography by Franz Planer in Cinemascope and Technicolor reflecting wonderfully underwater scenes . Filmed on location in Jamaica and Caribbe and interior scenes in Burbank studios. This splendid picture is lavishly produced by Walt Disney Productions. Won deservedly Academy Award for Special Effects by Hench and Meador and extraordinary participation from Peter Ellenshaw and Ub Iwerks ; besides achieved Oscar for Art Direction by Meehan and Goff.This classic movie is marvelously directed by Richard Fleischer. Other versions from the vintage story are an old mute 1916 by Stuart Paton , and for TV directed by Rod Hardy with Michael Caine , Mia Sara and Patrick Dempsey ; and directed by Michael Anderson with Ben Cross and Richard Crenna ; furthermore a cartoon movie directed by Arthur Rankin. The motion picture will appeal to fantasy-adventure buffs and it's a wonderful popcorn story . Rating : Above average , the mightiest motion picture of them all, it's a real winner .